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Working Collaboratively
by Kimberley Kuhn

Group work may be a large componentthroughout oneÕs academic and professional careers. The characteristics of each group vary depending on the groupÕs purpose. The purpose of the project determines the individuals chosen for the group and the approach taken to accomplish the tasks necessary for the successful completion of the project.

Timelines, individual abilities, and knowledge levels play important roles in establishing the criteria for the project. When the timeline of the project is short, its members may be chosen quickly according to availability. On the contrary, if the time allotted for the development and completion of the project is large, the team members may be chosen for their individual abilities and knowledge levels.

Working as a group member has its advantages. Exercising brainstorming techniques with team members may lead to ideas that might have otherwise remained unexplored. By working with team members with different levels of knowledge and abilities, other members of the team may learn new skills or enhance old skills. Team members provide quick feedback of the projectÕs development resulting in a better final product.

There are disadvantages to working in a group. Because different people have different ideas, there may not be a consensus on the purpose of the project or the methods to accomplish each task. What may be the most challenging disadvantage is personality conflicts. Working with an individual whose personality conflicts with one or more other individuals in the group may result in group conflict.

Group work is often associated with the academic and business worlds. Timelines, individual abilities, and knowledge levels are a few of the components used when determining the members of a team. Group work has its advantages and its disadvantages, but these are determined by the experience itself.

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