Working in groups or Individually, which works best?

The question ‘Is it better to work in groups or on one’s own?’ is a much debated topic and often times there are many mixed feelings that are tied to either or both stances. However, working in groups is inevitable since at least some point in your life you will encounter having to work with one or more individuals in any institution whether it is academic or in the world of work. Both hold their merits and drawbacks as either working in groups or on one’s own has different and similar advantages and disadvantages where performance and efficiency or effectiveness are concerned.

corking in groups

Photo courtesy of theinspiredclassroom.com

Working in groups can be very effective, especially if any member of the group can call on other members in times of difficulty, thus eradicating the problem. A solution can then be found to a problem or disaster as a result of teamwork, which boosts efficiency and productivity since more work can be completed in less time; this is most effective for large tasks or workload (Liang, Moreland & Argote,1995). Students are able to learn quality skills and insights from one another, especially from the variation of work experience and relevant fields of studies; they are able to brainstorm and bounce ideas off each other (this is a very effective mode of studying) (Jung & Avolio, 1999).

working individually

Photo courtesy of mwincedwvu.org

Individuals working in groups can also learn effective project team skills and as well as achieve socialization and professional networking; this helps them especially in landing jobs (Heller, Keith, & Anderson, 1997). However, where there is an inability to work effectively as a group and increase cohesiveness, this can lead to the detriment of individuals within a group and the group as a collective body.

quote marksTeamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it.” Brian Tracy

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” – Henry Ford

On the other end of the spectrum, working individually has its benefits, for example, artists who work best alone are able to showcase their talent independently of others. Who better to envision what you truly want than yourself? Sometimes the load of work can nevertheless take a toll on an individual. Not to mention the inability to handle and cope with the stressors of working individually can lead to one’s detriment whether temporarily or later on.

Ultimately, the decision on whether to work in a group or individually leads to the question of whether one wants to cope with the drawbacks while reaping the benefits of either stance. Both working in a group and individually can be effective or “better” when the given situation requires that either stance optimizes productivity, quality, and accuracy among other variables.

By Alexandra Daley

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