Working in diverse teams
Working in diverse teams

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5 ‘Two heads are better than one’ or ‘Too many chefs spoil the broth’?

In the last section you considered the difference between groups and teams and started to identify some of the teams that you have been part of in your life to date. Don’t worry if you struggled to find examples of teams that you are or have been part of in your work or personal life, as the last section of this week will help you consider things you could do to increase your experience of this.

You may not have always had positive experiences of working in a team and some teams can certainly be described as dysfunctional, for example, David Brent and his team in the sitcom The Office (Figure 6). You may be able to think of other examples from either the media or your own experience.

Photograph of Ricky Gervais in the character of David Brent from the TV programme 'The Office'
Figure 6 David Brent from The Office

Activity 5 Disadvantages of working in teams

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Think back to your own experience of working in teams and examples of teams you have seen in the media and on TV or film. What are some of the things that concern you about working in teams? What for you are the possible disadvantages of this kind of work? See how many you can think of.

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What you came up with is relevant to your personal experience, but you may have come up with something along these lines:

  • can slow a task down as have to take into account so many different ideas
  • easy to concentrate when working on your own
  • increased opportunity for conflict which may prevent task being completed
  • some team members may not pull their weight and free-ride on the efforts of others
  • domineering personalities may take over
  • group reward may seem less motivating to some members of the team
  • ‘group think’ can prevent creative thinking
  • some people are not good at teamwork, e.g. those far out on the autistic spectrum
  • lack of commitment to the team goal
  • poor communication.

How did you do? There are no right or wrong answers to this question and some of the things you have recorded may be very personal to your own situation, so may not be listed here. Are there any you agree with and would like to add to your list at this point?

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