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Team or Group?

We use a clear and simple differentiation between a group and a team. A group can freely choose its goal and the task connected with it and it forms itself exactly for this purpose (“We make flower arrangements.”). Groups without a shared goal, but with the same goal we call a collection (people in a train carriage or in the waiting room). Teams, on the other hand, are not (completely) free in the choice of their goal. Here, an external environment, usually an organisation, (co-)decides as to which goal and task should be followed, in which way and with what resources.

The adapting of this ‘interface’ into the organisation is, for teams, an indispensable task and has consequences for everything else. When groups become teams (such as when a small start-up group becomes a business management team or is taken over), then the dynamic will change enormously. The guiding process ‘goal setting’ is transformed from an orientated happening focused only on the internal motivation to a team procedure which must also take into consideration the satisfaction of the organisation. At the same time, the expectation that a team can process everything in such a way that, at the end, agreement is reached, must be let go. This is, at best, a (happy) borderline case, but not an everyday occurrence.

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