Week 3: Group Work and Teams

This week’s readings concentrated on group and team work and the benefits and problems associated with both. I found that the text-book gave me the best grounding in both the advantages and pitfalls of working in a group.  The amount of group work that we have been given as a part of this programme was extremely daunting and I am glad that I now have a greater idea of the concepts involved in group work as I feel it will serve me well in my various projects this semester.

I found the concept of groupthink particularly interesting as I had been worried about a situation where everyone would be struggling to be heard and that this would result in conflicts within the various groups. Now that I know that there is an equally dangerous extreme I feel a I have a greater understanding of what we, as a group, need to avoid.

I am glad that all of our readings clarified a difference between teams and groups. I have had to work as part of a team in several of my old jobs where being a part of a team was a means of indoctrinating you into the company mindset. As a result of this I am not hugely fond of the term and everything that goes with it.

Both the text-book and moon focused heavily on the individual within the group. I felt that both had some interesting and worthwhile points to consider. I found myself increasingly preoccupied with what type of group member I am as I progressed in the reading. I think that maybe that means that I may be one of the self obsessed ones. This combined with our VARK test means that I have spent a substantial amount of time contemplating my personality this week. According to the test I fall very firmly into the aural category. I have come to the conclusion that working in a group would be excellent for me if I find myself struggling with my course work as I will have people to discuss it with. I will however need to figure out my strengths so that I can add to the group without feeling the need to be in control.

I have not really touched on the main ideas in the other articles. That is because they deal mainly with teamwork and I am more largely concerned with group work at the moment. I will, however, say that Vandeveer makes some interesting observations which I intend to keep in mind as I work within my various project groups. Although I have zero intention of encouraging us to make t-shirts or the like. I find that far too cheesy and too similar to the company indoctrination which I have already mentioned.

In conclusion, this weeks reading has given me a lot to think about in relation to group and team work, most of which was extremely helpful. In the weeks to come I can imagine myself returning to these articles as I try to figure out where I am going right and wrong within my projects.

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3 comments on “Week 3: Group Work and Teams

  1. Maria, the idea of group think fascinated me too. I worked in a design department and use to find that if you sat beside the same designer for too long your work would end up looking very similar.

  2. cengerson says:

    I most certainly agree with you in that I too found the prospect of groupwork daunting at the beginning of the semester. However, I feel that this course has certainly prepared us by introducing concepts and strategies to help us manage our groups. By reviewing leadership theory and practice, group dynamics, and ways in which to appropriately address team conflict, I would say there is a higher sense of understanding and preparedness among all our colleagues to work in a group setting.

  3. shinyshona says:

    Group think – certainly a worry, but hopefully being aware of it, as with the other aspects of group work, will help in addressing it.
    I’m quite interested in the whole idea of studying how groups interact and theorizing about it. Much of the time these theories are accurate and you can think of examples in practice where they are true – but recently I’ve been wondering if having a knowledge of team dynamics is essential to performing in a team. This is just an open thought really and not really related directly to your post – sorry. Although you mention that the readings might help you in group work and I definitely think they will help us as a class be more positive about working in teams having learnt more about about real benefits.
    I think it will be really interesting to compare our attitudes towards team work now to our attitudes in six, nine or twelve months time!

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