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Compare and Contrast of Small Groups and Team Work

Updated on June 5, 2018

The definition of a small group and a team are discussed in this article as well as the major and minor difference between the two. Some of the advantages or disadvantages of working in groups in teams are also noted. I give reasons of what I like and dislike about working in groups and specifically what I am interested in learning from group and team work.

Definition of a Small Group and a Team

A small group is at least three people interacting with one another, and also described as a group of people meeting with a common purpose, feeling a sense of belonging and exerting influence on one another (Allyn and Bacon).

Goals of Groups and Teams

A team’s goals are clear and the elevation of those goals is the sole driving aspect of team accomplishment. However, a small group’s goals are discussed in general. The roles and responsibilities of the members are not necessarily discussed or explicitly defined like those of a team.


Differences Between Small Groups and Teams

The major difference between a small group and a team is that a team is a coordinated group organized to work together to achieve a specific, common goal. Some other minor differences between a small group and a team is that teams clearly discuss and develop rules.

Expectations to help the team work better are clear cut but rules and expectations in a small group may not be formally developed. Small groups interact and might divide work among their members. While teams work together and depend on one another.

Advantages of Working in Groups and Teams

I think some of the advantages of working in groups and in teams is having more information than just people who work individually. Groups and teams also stimulate creativity and help members to remember what they discuss. They also are more likely to be satisfied with making decisions and better understanding each member.

Disadvantages of Working in Groups and Teams

On the other hand, some of the disadvantages of working in groups and in teams are the pressure to conform to group thinking or opinion just to avoid conflict. Some members might rely too much on other members and will not carry out their own work.

In addition, group work takes much longer than working individually. One member of the group or team may dominate the discussion causing other members to feel alienated.


Personal Experience

I like working in groups because I get new information from my group members. Group work also helps me to improve on my communication and listening skills. I also like working in groups because a group can cover different perspectives of a discussion than if I were working by myself.

Domination vs Effective Participation

Unfortunately, some of the things I don’t like about working in a group is when one team member takes over and dominates a project or discussion. I, myself, have done this in the past and I know from experience that the end results are not good. I also don’t like being pressured to conform to group opinion when a better alternative is available.

I would specially like to learn how to effectively participate in a team and in a group without becoming alienated or too dominating. I would also like to learn how to have a proper group discussion where each member’s opinion can be heard and then effectively applied to achieve the group’s goal.


  • Allyn and Bacon, Introducing Group and Team Principles and Practices. 2008.


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