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Nongroups, Groups and Teams

Published November 8, 2010 8:52 AM by Brian Garavaglia

Here is a brief quiz that I often give to my classes.  See if you can tell which one is a group and which is not a group. Do this without looking at the answers below. 

  • Four people standing at a bus stop, waiting for a bus.
  • Two individuals on a romantic date
  • All blue-eyed people in the United States
  • People at Comerica Park watching the Tiger's baseball game.
  • A religious congregation listening to a religious service.

Answers: 1. no, 2. yes, 3. no, 4. no, 5. usually not

Most people have difficulty understanding the difference between what a group is and what it is not.  However, in many areas of business, including healthcare, the word team is often used. Quite often it is used without a full understanding of the meaning of what a team is. Before one can understand what a team is, one has to understand what a group is and what it is not.  Many people think that a collection of individuals constitutes a group and even a team.  However, in many health care facilities individuals may not be involved in any team or group even though they may be a member of something that has the word group or team in its title. 

Furthermore, just because a person is part of a group, the group may not be a team. As mentioned, a collection of individuals does not necessarily equal a group or team. Moreover, although you need a group to exist before a team can exist, just because a group does exist does not mean you have a team. Puzzled or Confused? Read the following article to help put this in perspective and possibly gain added insight into team development in your healthcare organization. Also, by reading the article it may provide you with the rationale to those questions you answered incorrectly on the quiz.


posted by Brian Garavaglia


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About this Blog

    Brian Garavaglia, PhD
    Occupation: Long-term care administrator
    Setting: Sterling Heights, Mich.
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