A team is a group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal.
As defined by Professor Leigh Thompson of the Kellogg School of Management, "[a] team is a group of people who are interdependent with respect to information, resources, knowledge and skills and who seek to combine their efforts to achieve a common goal".
A group does not necessarily constitute a team. Teams normally have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort which allows each member to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Naresh Jain (2009) claims:
While academic research on teams and teamwork has grown consistently and has shown a sharp increase over the past recent 40 years, the societal diffusion of teams and teamwork actually followed a volatile trend in the 20th century. The concept was introduced into business in the late 20th century, which was followed by a popularization of the concept of constructing teams. Differing opinions exist on the efficacy of this new management fad. Some see "team" as a four-letter word: overused and under-useful.
Many people believe in the effectiveness of teams, but also see them as dangerous because of the potential for exploiting workers — in that team effectiveness can rely on peer pressure and peer surveillance. However, Hackman sees team effectiveness not only in terms of performance: a truly effective team will contribute to the personal well-being and adaptive growth of its members.
English-speakers commonly use the word "team" in today's society to characterise many types of groups. Peter Guy Northouse's book Leadership: theory and practice discusses teams from a leadership perspective. According to the team approach to leadership, a team is a type of organizational group of people that are members. A team is composed of members who are dependent on each other, work towards interchangeable achievements, and share common attainments. A team works as a whole together to achieve certain things. A team is usually located in the same setting as it is normally connected to a kind of organization, company, or community. Teams can meet in-person (directly face-to-face) or virtually when practicing their values and activities or duties. A team's communication is significantly important to their relationship. Ergo, communication is frequent and persistent, and as well are the meetings. The definition of team as an organizational group is not completely set in stone, as organizations have confronted a myriad[quantify] of new forms of contemporary collaboration. Teams usually have strong organizational structured platforms and respond quickly and efficiently to challenges as they have skills and the capability to do so. An effective organizational team leads to greater productivity, more effective implementation of resources, better decisions and problem-solving, better-quality products/service, and greater innovation and originality.
Alongside the concept of a team, compare the more structured/skilled concept of a crew, the advantages of formal and informal partnerships, or the well-defined – but time-limited – existence of task forces.
A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members.
Thus teams of game players can form (and re-form) to practise their craft/sport. Transport logistics executives can select teams of horses, dogs, or oxen for the purpose of conveying passengers or goods.
Teams must develop the right mix of skills, that is, each of the complementary skills necessary to do the team's job.
Synergy occurs when the team's combined output is greater than the sum of the individual inputs. Synergy creates an excess of resources.
Team members need to learn how to help one another, help other team members realize their true potential, and create an environment that allows everyone to go beyond their limitations.
Managers may believe that the current use of teams is a management fad that will go away in time, and the traditional vertical organizational design will once again hold forth.
Margaret Wheatley (2002) observes that in too many organizations team is a four-letter word.
In this view, teams represent the latest means of controlling the worker, where peer pressure from fellow team members adds to other managerial controls to increase the level of work intensification. [...] For this view, therefore, teamworking has a 'dark side' of surveillance, peer pressure and self-exploitation, which augments broader management controls of work behaviour.
[...] I [...] do not count as effective any team for which the impact of the group experience on members' learning and well-being is more negative than positive.
The failures of teams have also been very dramatic and visible, however, making the need for information about and understanding of team effectiveness and team leadership essential for today's organizations [...].