Working in diverse teams
Working in diverse teams

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

5.1 Advantages of teamwork

Studies have repeatedly shown that the quality of decisions and level of creativity coming from teamwork is substantially better than from your average individual working alone. In the words of Helen Keller:

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.

Keller, cited in Adams (2018)

Listen to Rebecca Fielding from Gradconsult talking about the advantages of working in teams.

Download this video clip.Video player: boc_wdt_video_week1_section5_1_fielding.mp4
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Activity 6 Assessing your personal experience

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Reflecting on your own experience of working in a team and the words of Rebecca Fielding, what do you feel are the main advantages of teamwork both for the individual and for the employer? Look at the eight benefits of teamwork below and think about which benefits stand out most for you.

Eight benefits of teamwork

  1. Shared creativity can come up with better ideas

    When people bounce ideas off each other, then new ideas can be formed. A group working well together will be more creative than any individual working alone.

  1. Can draw on people’s different strengths and perspectives

    Everyone has different skills and also diversity of experience and background. A team working well is able to draw on all of the different skills in the team and explore things from a perspective that may not be their own but may be shared by their customers.

  1. People can learn something from others in the team

    The whole team functions better individually by the shared learning through the teamwork experience. Each time a new way of doing things is shared, then you learn a different way to work. Teamwork fosters learning in an organisation.

  1. More people share in the achievement when the team goal is reached

    Creating work together can be more fulfilling and make individuals feel more connected to the company goals. Individuals can see how their contribution works as part of a bigger picture and feel pride in what they do.

  1. Shared risk in decision making

    Alone individuals may not want to raise their head above the parapet and take a risk on an untried idea but in a group where consensus is reached there may be a willingness to share ‘out of the box’ thinking and try something new. It is here that real innovation can happen.

  1. Others can keep help motivation or provide support in a difficult task or when someone is weak

    If a project needs to be delivered on time then there is more chance of this if responsibility is shared. If one member of the team becomes sick then others can step in to help out. If one bit of the task is particularly difficult then the support of other team members can keep you trying.

  1. Faster speed of getting task completed

    The saying goes ‘many hands make light work’. In a team, people are able to play to their strengths in the task allocation and so do not waste time and energy performing parts of the task at which they do not excel.

  1. Potential of greater acceptance of team decisions

    If the group has come to a consensus regarding the way forward, the chances are that there will be more people who support this idea. This can be particularly helpful for managing change.

Now use this space to note down those most meaningful to you and then add any other benefits which you feel are not reflected here.

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Next you will think about the different types of team you may encounter in the workplace.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371