Sarah Thomas

What is the difference between a group and a team? People often use these terms interchangeably. However, they mean very different things both in a general sense and within a business. Let’s delve into how a team is different from a group.


In a group, multiple people may be working on a project, but they don’t depend on each other. Each person within the group is independent and works on their own task, according to SessionLab. A group may be joined together for a variety of reasons, from their shared environment to a shared timeframe. Still, each individual within that group does not depend on another person within the group, and their tasks aren’t intertwined. A group may include everyone inside of a coffee shop at lunch hour on a Tuesday.

Within a team, each individual is dependent on the other members of the team in some way. Perhaps their tasks are intertwined, and they depend on one another to accomplish different parts of a task, or they may all share a similar goal. In a coffee shop, the cashier, servers, baristas, managers, and owner work as a team with shared tasks and goals.


There are differences in accountability between a group and a team. Within a team, each member holds the other members accountable for their actions. The linked dependency on a team creates this accountability because the members are all working together on tasks and towards the same goals.

Within a group, there is no accountability because the members do not depend on each other. They work on their tasks individually and only rely on themselves to get their own tasks accomplished. Because of the lack of dependency, there is no accountability between members. Each individual has to hold themselves accountable for their own actions in a group.

Collaboration Vs. Coordination

A group has individuals working on their own tasks. Since each person is working individually and is responsible for their accountability, they merely coordinate with others in the group to accomplish any mutual goal or task. Small Business Chron lists an example of a group in a business setting as a client services group. In this example, each employee is independently working to service their own clients and may coordinate on reporting with their peers.

Within a team, members must not only coordinate with each other, but they must go beyond to collaborate. Because their tasks and goals are interdependent and shared, they have to rely on each other for opinions, feedback, and support. Teams must utilize the strengths of each individual to accomplish their goals.

Group Vs. Team

So when do you need a group vs. a team? Each has its place in a business setting. Teams are best utilized when you need to accomplish a specific goal, project, or task and need multiple opinions and ideas to get it done. Successful teams work collaboratively to achieve a goal. A team may include numerous people from many different departments to get a new product launched, to solve a problem, or to generate new ideas. In some small businesses and startups, your entire company is a team because you all rely on each other to run the business together.

If you have individuals that are all working on similar projects but complete that work independently, then you have a group. A group of people can still collaborate and work well together. To encourage your group to grow, work on building trust within the group members.

If you’re trying to transform your group into a team, try these tips:

  • Build trust between members because they will rely on each other
  • Encourage your team to engage in team cognition
  • Use our Team Room to discover the strengths and biases within your team

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