Is there a difference between a group and a team?

Is there a difference between a group and a team?

Avoiding Groupthink

A team is a set of people, random or chosen, who are working together for a common purpose or goal. A team can be a group of people who are working together to accomplish an assigned or general task; the task could be anything from playing sports to making a presentation. Teams can be in a professional setting, informal setting, or even found in a family setting. Teams include examples of sports teams or work groups assigned common tasks.

A group can be defined by people who are together but not working together to complete a task. A group of people could be doing the same thing together, such as watching a movie or a sports event, but they are observers not the doers. A group represents a specific classification of people whom are designated because of a common element. For instance, in an organization the office workers is considered a group, but because of the size of the company the group might not work together and is therefore not a team.

Groupthink, a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis (1972), occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment” (p. 9). Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups. A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making.

Group think often occurs when stronger personalities make suggestions and weaker personalities, rather than argue, simply agree to the will of the other members. Group think is especially bad in work settings because creativity is stifled and change is difficult to instill.


Janis, Irving L. (1972). Victims of Groupthink. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

Janis, Irving L. (1982). Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes. Second Edition. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

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Triola Vincent. Mon, Feb 08, 2021. Is there a difference between a group and a team? Retrieved from

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