12 Disadvantages of Teamwork in the Workplace

Updated on March 17, 2018
PaulGoodman67 profile image

UK born and educated, Paul currently splits his time between freelance writing and managing a junk collection franchise in Florida.

The merits of teamwork have been well discussed, as organizations increasingly adopt a more team-orientated approach. There can be downsides too. Some workers are ill-suited to teamwork, for instance, and conflicts can easily develop.
The merits of teamwork have been well discussed, as organizations increasingly adopt a more team-orientated approach. There can be downsides too. Some workers are ill-suited to teamwork, for instance, and conflicts can easily develop. | Source

In recent years, there has been a shift by many organizations away from individualism towards team-based structures. Teams can be very effective but there are also downsides to this approach. Examples of downsides include: processes taking longer with a team involved, conflicts arising due to personality clashes in some teams, and members blaming each other when something goes wrong.

Listed below in more detail are the twelve main disadvantages of teamwork in the workplace.

I never found a professional environment that made the production of plays efficient. Teamwork is demanded, but there are very few teams.

— David Rabe

1. Many processes can take much longer when there's a team involved. Much more coordination, work distribution, feedback, and general organization is needed in a team. This can end up costing more money, as well as time and resources. Decisions can also be harder to reach in a group situation.

2. In theory, the workload is shared out equally, but in practice, some people have a tendency to sit back and let others do the work in a team situation. As well as being inefficient, this can also breed resentment and lower morale for the whole team.

Infighting can render a team ineffective and negatively affect morale. Great care must be taken when putting together the team. How conflicts that develop within a team are dealt with is also very important.
Infighting can render a team ineffective and negatively affect morale. Great care must be taken when putting together the team. How conflicts that develop within a team are dealt with is also very important. | Source

3. Even if the team is perfectly balanced in regard to skill sets, personality clashes can develop over time. Conflicts can arise due to different styles or approaches, or because members of the team are competing with each other in an unhealthy way.

4. Some workers are much better at working on their own and don't fit well into a team environment. These people are happier and work more efficiently alone. They should be screened out at the interview stage, or given independent roles.

One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain't nothin' can beat teamwork.

— Edward Abbey

5. Some workers focus too much on the well being of the team and don't bring their own creative ideas to the table, resulting in less innovation and a lack of new ideas. Peer pressure can also make some workers suppress their own ideas for fear of "rocking the boat" or undermining a consensus.

6. A new individual worker can often hit the ground running, but a new team takes longer to organize and come together, both practically and socially. Sometimes delays are also caused because certain team members may need additional training to fulfill their role.

Working out who is at fault when something goes wrong can be difficult in a team situation and there is a real danger of members blaming each other. This puts  pressure on the team leader to keep the team together and minimize future errors.
Working out who is at fault when something goes wrong can be difficult in a team situation and there is a real danger of members blaming each other. This puts pressure on the team leader to keep the team together and minimize future errors. | Source

7. When something goes wrong, there can be a tendency for team members to blame each other. With an individual, it is usually quite clear when they have made a mistake, but with a team, it can be hard sometimes to work out where the fault actually occurred.

8. Because a team functions as a group with group responsibility, it can be difficult for managers to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of individual members. If the team is successful, for instance, it may not be straightforward working out who contributed to making it happen.

The work of the individual still remains the spark that moves mankind ahead even more than teamwork.

— Igor Sikorsky

9. Communication skill levels need to be very high for a team to work effectively. In practice, communication breakdowns can be common, however, resulting in inefficiency and a lack of trust between team members.

10. It's difficult to run a team without having regular meetings, but meetings need to be effectively managed and organized. They always need to have a purpose and a goal or they can devolve into social gatherings.

It's difficult for a team to function without meetings. How effectively meetings are organized and conducted is therefore crucial to a team's effectiveness and efficiency. The team leader generally bears most but not  all responsibility.
It's difficult for a team to function without meetings. How effectively meetings are organized and conducted is therefore crucial to a team's effectiveness and efficiency. The team leader generally bears most but not all responsibility. | Source

11. As well as conflicts between individuals, teams can split into factions, where two or more sub-groups each have their own agenda and "poltical" positions. This situation can be difficult to resolve without dissolving the whole team and rebuilding afresh.

12. Team leaders play a disproportionately large role in the success or failure of a team. Overbearing or disorganized leaders can make the experience for members stressful or dysfunctional and render the team ineffective for the organization. Team leaders can also sometimes take sole credit for work that they didn't do, aggravating team members and presenting an inaccurate impression to senior management.

Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.

— John C. Maxwell

Do you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?

See results

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Paul Goodman

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • UnnamedHarald profile image

        David Hunt 

        4 months ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

        These are valid points. Yes, teams CAN be effective, but I doubt they are in the majority. You didn't mention the A or S words-- Agile or Scrum, but these methodologies have been jumped on by management, partly because they generate numbers and allow micromanagement of the process from above without actually managing the project. Yes, I've spent a few years in team environments and on the odd occasion when a team performed exceptionally well, the individuals were "parceled" out to other teams to "infect" those teams with the proper behavior. Like as not, the individuals were dumbed down to their new team's level. You may detect a certain bias in my comment ;)

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://toughnickel.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)