Team Building definition

On a strategic level, team building is a part of organisational development and is concerned with the organisation of job roles around clusters, underlined by a belief that the sum effort of a group working together is greater than each individual’s contributions.

On a practical level, team building is concerned with understanding the ways to maximise team performance (through knowledge of group sociology, for example) and using this understanding to improve the output, productivity and happiness of teams and departments.

Tuckman’s theory of group development is a commonly-applied framework for the path to effective collaboration. Tuckman points to four stages all teams must go through before they become effective: forming, storming, norming and performing.

Team building often refers to explicit activities designed to promote interaction and collaboration to solve a common goal. These activities range from simple bonding exercises, such as going out for an evening meal, to more complex problem-solving problems designed to test and develop the capacity of individuals to work together. One of the risks of explicit team-building is lack of buy-in from employees and cynicism over the ‘forced’ nature of the activity.

Also see group dynamics.