A team comprises any group of people or animals linked in a common purpose. A group in itself does not necessarily constitute a team.
Thus teams of sports players can form (and re-form) to practise their craft. Transport logistics executives can select teams of horses, dogs or oxen for the purpose of conveying goods.
Theorists in business in the late 20th century popularized the concept of constructing teams. Differing opinions exist on the efficacy of this new management fad. Some see "team" as a four-letter word: overused and under-useful. Others see it as a panacea that finally realizes the Human Relations movement's desire to integrate what that movement perceives as best for workers and as best for managers. Still others believe in the effectiveness of teams, but also see them as dangerous because of the potential for exploiting workers — in that team "effectivemess" can rely on peer pressure and peer surveillance.
Compare the more structured/skilled concept of a crew, and the advantages of formal and informal partnerships.
Managers use teams for grouping people based on a common function. Members of a team usually belong to different groups, but receive assignment to activities for the same project, thereby allowing outsiders to view them as a single unit. In this way, setting up a team allegedly facilitates the creation, tracking and assignment of a group of people based on the project in hand.
Teams can sub-divide into sub-teams according to need. A team used only for a defined period of time often becomes known as a project team.
Many teams go through a life-cycle of stages, identified by Bruce Tuckman as: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.
Last updated: 05-06-2005 14:18:27