A new study, reported by the University of Phoenix, indicates that seven in ten people would rather not work on a team.
The study concurs with past articles, including Teacher argues against traditional classroom rule making activities, How to use first day of class seating assignment to get to know your students and Moving furniture makes one program more effective all suggested that teamwork is a helpful learning tool. This article cautions against an overuse of the team approach during learning activities.
Kelton is a market research and strategy consulting firm who conducts customized quantitative and qualitative research for companies.
The results of Kelton’s survey indicated the following:
- 95% indicate that teams sever an important workplace function
- 75% state they prefer not to work on teams
- 68% have worked on dysfunctional teams
- 45% have witnessed verbal confrontations
- 40% reported they witnessed team members blaming other team members
- 36% of workers aged 18-24 would rather work alone
- 32% saw team members starting rumors
- 15% reported seeing a confrontation turn physical
In spite of their negative feelings about teamwork, the respondents recognized that they needed the following teamwork skills to succeed:
- 65% collaboration
- 64% conflict resolution
- 61% team management
These last numbers appear to be a positive, and the University of Phoenix press release champions them as such. The numbers may, however, only reflect a reaction to the reality students face when placed in teams by college professors who overuse teams when teaching. See The downside of student teamwork for a thoughtful and insightful indictment of this methodology.
The bottom line information trainers, teachers and speakers can draw from this survey is a caution against the overuse of teams. While it is true that workplace professionals need to learn teambuilding skills, the larger truth is that our job is to teach what the program is designed to deliver. Unless the subject area is teamwork, we would be wise not to allow ourselves to be sidetracked. A large majority of our learners don’t like team activities anyway.