In your college experience, one of your professors will most likely assign you to work on a group project. Sometimes, your professor will allow you to pick the other members of your group and sometimes you are not allowed to pick your group members. Unless you are very fortunate, you probably did not have a very good experience working on the group project. This is because most people do not know how to work in groups. To be more specific, most people do not know how to interact or communicate in groups and teams. Often times, there might be what Andy Hargreaves and Ruth Dawe identify as “contrived collegiality”, in which everyone works on similar jobs as quickly as possible, they don’t discuss anything, make poor judgment decisions, and are more concern with completion than quality.Hargreaves, A. & Dawe, R. (1990). Paths of professional development: Contrived collegiality, collaborative culture, and the case of peer coaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 6(3), 227–241.
Many people work together in teams in organizations. Think about all the teams and groups that you belong, such as family, friends, work, church, etc. We are involved with a variety of groups for different reasons. You are probably involved with certain groups and teams based on your abilities, experiences, and/or talents. Your participation and the degree to which you contribute will often depend on the communication interactions in that group. In this chapter, we will discuss the importance of teams. We will discuss the characteristics of teams, types of teams and downside to teams.