Diversity in Group vs Team Dynamics

The core difference between a group and a team is whether they are working toward a common goal.  As Kristin Arnold says, “A group is a bunch of people who have something in common.  A team is a bunch of people who have something in common and who are working toward a common goal” (Arnold, 2012). Add to this that people in a team are “mutually committed” and focused on these goals together (Sisson, 2013), and we find that a group is more independent of each other than a team (Fritz, 2019). 

Diversity, refers to differences is cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, age, race, seniority, and gender, impacts team dynamics.  An inclusive team creates stronger employee relationships.  A diverse team also exhibits increased performance, improved problem-solving ability, enhanced creativity.  In team building, work is easily divided in a diverse team since skillsets vary widely.  Diverse teams also tend not to form groups or cliques due to other common factors, so they stay diverse, and keep their open communication (Todd, n.d.).  Cultural diversity influences five factors of team performance:  communication, conflict, cohesion, satisfaction, and creativity (Ni, 2016). 

Transforming a diverse group to a cohesive team can have several advantages as well as challenges.  Advantages are unity, improved conflict resolution, and sense of belonging between team members (Todd, n.d.).  Diverse teams are engaged, challenged thinkers who innovate and process key information critically in order to make better decisions (Rock & Grant, 2018).  Challenge-wise, diverse groups may see each other as too dissimilar, so they may not trust each other or form cohesion.  In addition, diverse groups have increased potential for conflict (Wong, 2015, p.17).  The lack of trust stems from social distance or lack of emotional connection between team members from different backgrounds (Neeley, 2015).  In addition, structure and location of team members can create a negative dynamic when the team is not diverse enough or is unequally represented.  The group with the most representation may be perceived to be the most powerful (Neeley, 2015).  Conflict due to ineffective communication as well as differences in goals and values can cause poor team performance (Todd, 2015).  These challenges can be mitigated with diversity training and team-building games (Wong, 2015, p.21). 


Arnold, K. (2012, April 11). The difference between a group and a team [Video]. YouTube. 

Fritz, R. (2019, March 8). Difference Between Group Work & Team Work. https://smallbusiness.chron.com/differences-between-group-work-team-work-11004.html 

Neeley, T. (2015, October). Global Teams That Work. https://hbr.org/2015/10/global-teams-that-work 

Ni, C. (2016, March 22). What Is The Impact Of Cultural Diversity On Team Performance? https://medium.com/grow-in-the-learning-process/what-is-the-impact-of-cultural-diversity-on-team-performance-b5ea4a50d1bb 

Rock, D. & Grant, H. (2018, November 4). Why Diverse Teams Are Smarterhttps://hbr.org/2016/11/why-diverse-teams-are-smarter 

Sisson, J. (2013, June 14). The difference between a group and a team. https://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/growth-strategies/2013/06/the-difference-between-a-group-and-a.html 

Todd, S. (n.d.). How Does Workplace Diversity Impact Team Performance? https://opensourcedworkplace.com/news/how-does-workplace-diversity-impact-team-performance 

Wong, D. (2015). Exploring the impact of team building on group cohesion of a multicultural team.  https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1606&context=etd 

by Art Ocain

Published by Art Ocain

I am a DevOps advocate, not because I am a developer (I’m not), but because of the cultural shift it represents and the agility it gains. I am also a fan of the theory of constraints and applying constraint management to all areas of business: sales, finance, planning, billing, and all areas of operations. My speaking: I have done a lot of public speaking in my various roles over the years, including presentations at SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and Central PA Chamber of Commerce events as well as events that I have organized at MePush. My writing: I write a lot. Blog articles on the MePush site, press-releases for upcoming events to media contracts, posts on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/artocain/), presentations on Slideshare (https://www.slideshare.net/ArtOcain), posts on the Microsoft Tech Community, articles on Medium (https://medium.com/@artocain/), and posts on Quora (https://www.quora.com/profile/Art-Ocain-1). I am always looking for new places to write, as well. My certifications: ISACA Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Web Application Security Professional (CWASP), Certified Data Privacy Practitioner (CDPP), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), VMware Certified Professional (VCP-DCV), Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE), Veeam Certified Engineer (VMCE), Microsoft 365 Security Administrator, Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator, Azure Administrator, Azure Security Administrator, Azure Architect, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, ITIL v4 Foundations, Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner, AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner See certification badges on Acclaim here: https://www.youracclaim.com/users/art-ocain/badges My experience: I have a lot of experience from developing a great company with great people and culture to spinning up an impressive DevOps practice and designing impressive solutions. I have been a project manager, a President, a COO, a CTO, and an incident response coordinator. From architecting cloud solutions down to the nitty-gritty of replacing hardware, I have done it all. When it comes to technical leadership, I am the go-to for many companies. I have grown businesses and built brands. I have been a coach and a mentor, developing the skills and careers of those in my company. I have formed and managed teams, and developed strong leaders and replaced myself within the company time and again as I evolved. See my experience on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/artocain/

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