The differences between group-work in a professional and educational based environments

All of these characteristics remain the same for any case of group work, whether it be in the workplace or in an education based environment. Of course more experienced individuals may well be more aware of such characteristics and therefore be able to understand and acknowledge how best to act in group working situations. Having early experiences with group work can help prepare individuals for bigger projects that may have more importance in future situations and will also allow them time to reflect on how they have developed and what they have taken from the experience.

In education based group work often individuals are very new to this system of working and so they are placed in positions where they aren’t mature in the sense of knowing how best to deal with the situation. What entails can be a difficult experience but a lot can often be taken from reflecting on how and why things happen and how they could have been improved. Therefore it can be said that the reflective activity that takes place after bears just as much importance as the group work itself.

Purpose:

A team should have a reason for existing and know why they are working together with a clear and meaningful understanding. This is more than a definition of what the team does, or is striving to achieve but rather a defined justification of the teams vision and objectives. It is also important for team members to understand their purpose and its relevance so they feel more than just obliged to participate but are actually inspired and enthusiastic about their contributions. The team’s purpose should be immediately established and recognised by all of the group members at the initial stages of forming as this will allow the group to move forward in a coherent manner and ensure everyone is clear about what they are aiming towards.

Healthy Conflict:

To a large degree, confliction is inevitable within group work. The severity is of course dependent on variable factors such as the nature of the group’s outcome, the delegation of tasks and also the experience and personality types of each group member. However the handling of such situations is essential as when there’s constructive dialogue and dissent more can be achieved. Of course there are many negative effects if conflicting situations are not dealt with appropriately and the group can veer away from the objectives at hand and be effected by the issues within the group and also there will be a stark effect on how members work together and there. In such situations where conflict arises there should be a level of respect for others opinions but a balance between leniency and appreciation for others’ input.

Leadership:

There should be some form of leadership, whether individual or a rotation of people to ensure the team is progressing in the correct ways and to see them achieve maximum potential. A leader can generally maintain the group’s performance at different stages and oversee each aspect and identify what is succeeding and what is not. A team leader should have effective communication and be respectful and fair towards each member. Effective team leaders are also strong facilitators. As a facilitator they should help workers understand their objectives and help devise an action plan to ensure team members meet their goals. Team leaders should be able to utilize negotiation skills to reach an understanding in the event of a workplace conflict. Leaders who negotiate effectively rationalise the decision-making process and solve problems for the best interest of everyone involved.

There is a difference is this aspect between a professional workplace and group work in an education environment based on the practice that in the former, there is an assigned leader whether that be because of their profession (i.e project manager) or because it is their project. There is (in most cases) a pre-defined hierarchy of leadership where as in group work in education this is rare and in most cases, each group member is level in terms of their authority.

Plan/delegation of tasks:

This should follow on from the purpose of the team and what they are striving to achieve. Whilst the end task, the complete product is important for everyone to understand and visualise, the plan about how to achieve that is arguably just as important. The success of that finished piece will be dependent on how well the team has planned each stage, and will ensure there are less contingency errors along the way. It is also important to delegate tasks equally and the decision should be based on individual’s traits and what it is they can bring to the project. Failure to delegate tasks equally can lead to conflict and a poorer outcome of work so this aspect is very significant to consider.

Identification of personality types and strengths and weaknesses:

Like the purpose of the group, the identification of personality types is a good method of seeing the strengths and weaknesses of the group that is both accessible and efficient. Often the strengths are focused on and from this the group establishes how best to go about the process of delegating and achieving tasks. However the focus on individual’s weaknesses in many instances can be more important to identify what is likely to falter because of these lacking qualities. Therefore it can be redeeming to assess what the group shouldn’t possibly do because of their inadequacy in certain areas. Also, the emphasis on tasks through the weaknesses is more of an extranoematic task and so it is often overlooked, whereas assessing the strengths is more common behaviour within the team and is therefore more likely to naturally arise throughout the process.

Some self Acknowledgement!

These notes are taken from my own experiences and through research I have conducted. As stated above I think these are important aspects of team work and I would like to highlight the significance of these in my finished piece. These will be a basis in some respect for the content of my points and I will also touch upon other things that help develop these points such as the importance to reflect on the skills gained from working within a team within education.

So far I have not provided research and this was intentional as I felt I had quite a developed idea in my head of where I wanted this project to go and so it was helpful to cite this. Now I can develop my ideas through research to see what there is on this idea, to see if there is anything similar and in what format and importantly to find information which can help validify the statements I make – this will come in my next few posts and then I can write up the statement for my idea.

Advertisements