There have always been different opinions about the advantages of teamwork in comparison to individual work. Sometimes, company managers need to decide whether outsourcing their work to teams is more effective than to individuals. In answering this question, many factors should be taken into account, including the specificity of the task, the professionalism of team members, and the financial aspect. Even though there can be certain risks associated with teamwork, the united efforts of a team of professionals are likely to lead to successful results. This paper aims to analyse positive aspects of teamwork and why it can be more effective than individual work.
One of the major advantages of teamwork is that collaborative actions lead to better problem solving. It is difficult to imagine a situation when a new idea is accepted immediately, without any resistance from management or colleagues. According to Deichmann and Jensen (2017), the collaboration of team members helps to overcome the possible resistance. Moreover, when it comes to problem solving, a team of workers has more access to various sources of information. Employees are able to share their knowledge, discuss ideas, and suggest the best solutions in a group (Deichmann and Jensen, 2017). As a result, a manager outsourcing work to a team of contractors is likely to receive high-quality results because employees will be more motivated and active in generating ideas and achieving team goals.
Encouraging teamwork skills in undergraduate students is another proof of the modern trend of collaboration in various spheres of business. For example, Australian educational institutions preparing young specialists for employment tend to pay special attention to enhancing peer interaction, problem solving, and communication skills. A survey conducted among the students of Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) demonstrates that young people understand the importance of teamwork for their future.
The authors add that teamwork experience of students allowed them to broaden the diversity of their skills, develop interpersonal communication, and learn how to negotiate tasks with each other (Wilson, Ho and Brookes, 2017). Therefore, those who have experience of working in a team appear to be more professional within their specialization.
The advantages of teamwork are not limited to easier ways of generating ideas and solving problems. One of the arguments in favor of a team is that sometimes, even the most talented specialist is not able to perform a complicated task alone. Therefore, in a team, it is possible to divide the duties among members according to their professional skills and specialization. Employee empowerment allows employees to make decisions related to their organizational duties and increases job satisfaction (Baird, Su and Munir, 2018). Therefore, the segregation of duties is an advantage of teamwork, increasing the performance of its members.
The work of an airplane crew or a team of nurses are only some examples underlining the importance of teamwork. The differentiation of duties does not only positively influence the quality of work but also guarantees that the task will be finished in time. In addition, when creating a team and assigning duties to its members, a manager should remember about the effective supervision of employees.
This aspect of teamwork was underlined in a study conducted in acute hospital settings in Victoria, Australia. Walker et al. (2021) emphasize that each nurse in a team is aware of their duties and responsibilities; however, their actions should be guided by a team leader. Moreover, successful communication and delegation between nurses and their supervisors are believed to improve the quality of patient care (Walker et al., 2021). Therefore, with sufficient assistance, a team is more likely to complete complex tasks than a single worker.
It is difficult to find a sphere of business that does not demand continuous learning and growth from its workers. Regardless of the specificity of the job, a professional is a person open to changes and ready to acquire new knowledge. It has been proved that when it comes to learning, teams demonstrate better results than individuals. This idea is based on the theory of social constructivism, which means that learners construct meanings through collaboration (Lohmann et al., 2019).
Besides, several research works demonstrated that the learning outcomes in collaborative courses are generally better compared to individual work (Lohmann et al., 2019). When this theory is applied in practice, it is possible to talk about the ability of team members to understand the instructions of the manager and learn faster than individually. Moreover, if the task requires learning new skills, a team is believed to demonstrate more rapid results.
Disadvantages and Risks
While the major advantages of teamwork are clear, many managers still prefer assigning tasks to individuals. This decision is mostly motivated by risks associated with teamwork. First of all, every team manager needs to understand that a team is based on collaboration and joint efforts. However, with the division of responsibilities, the potential reward is also shared between team members (Deichmann and Jensen, 2017). This factor may lead to a high degree of competition between employees and the disorganized actions of the team.
Managers need to take into account that some members of the team are likely to contribute to the common work less than other participants. Such people may create additional difficulties in managing the assigned task. Another disadvantage of teamwork is that without enough instruction about how to make collaboration effective, a team may fail to manage the assigned task (Walker et al., 2021). Moreover, working in a team includes understanding the responsibilities, strengths, and weaknesses of each other, which is often ignored (Walker et al., 2021). Finally, in terms of the financial side of the issue, managers often face the problem of spending significant resources on forming, educating, and supporting a team.
The specified risks explain why some managers prefer assigning important tasks to individually working professionals rather than teams. However, in order to maximize the efforts of team members, a manager can provide them with sufficient assistance and regularly control the results of their work. It is also important to understand that even though it may require increased expenses, teamwork can bring better results over the long term.
Summarizing the points mentioned above, it is possible to say that outsourcing work to a team rather than individuals may lead to successful results. First of all, ideas generated within a team are more likely to reach the manager and be implemented. Secondly, sharing knowledge and communicating allows a team to create effective solutions to possible challenges. Besides, certain tasks demand varied skills and knowledge and are only possible to be accomplished through the joint efforts of several people. It is fair to admit that there are certain risks connected to teamwork, such as competition within a team and unequal contribution of its members. However, with sufficient supervision and encouragement, teamwork is likely to result in higher employee performance and quality of work.
Baird, K., Su, S. and Munir, R. (2018) ‘The relationship between the enabling use of controls, employee empowerment, and performance,’ Personnel Review, 47(1), pp. 257-274.
Deichmann, D. and Jensen, M. (2017) ‘I can do that alone… or not? How idea generators juggle between the pros and cons of teamwork,’ Strategic Management Journal, pp. 1-18. Web.
Lohmann, G. et al. (2019) ‘Online business simulations: authentic teamwork, learning outcomes, and satisfaction,’ Higher Education, 77, pp. 455–472. Web.
Walker, F.A. et al. (2021) ‘Transparent teamwork: the practice of supervision and delegation within the multi‐tiered nursing team,’ Nursing Inquiry, pp. 1-10.
Wilson, L., Ho, S. and Brookes, R.H. (2017) ‘Student perceptions of teamwork within assessment tasks in undergraduate science degrees,’ Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, pp. 1–14. Web.