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Most Working Adults Find Team-Based Work Difficult

October 28, 2013
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Phoenix — Oct. 15

A recent University of Phoenix survey found that 84 percent of working adults think that working on teams in the workplace is difficult. Of working adults who think teams often fail in the workplace, 61 percent say there is not enough training.

The survey looked at why working adults found working on teams to be difficult, the reasons behind why working teams fail as well as why individuals are or aren’t personally successful in working in teams. The online survey of 1,072 employed U.S. adults was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of University of Phoenix in August.

When questioned about specifics, 45 percent feel there is an “in-it-for-oneself” mentality in the workplace. Workload is also an issue, with 40 percent of working adults saying fewer employees are doing more work, which means less time for team efforts, the survey said.

Electronic communication is also a barrier, as 35 percent of working adults say that email, instant messaging and other electronic communications have reduced the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with co-workers, according to the survey.

When asked specifically about why team efforts in the workplace fail, the focus on the individual versus the team was even stronger. Fifty-nine percent of working adults who think teams often fail in the workplace say that part of the problem is people are more motivated to be individually successful. Just more than half of these working adults also felt that a lack of clearly defined roles contributed to team failures.

Lack of proper training, however, was the most often-cited reason for why teams often fail in the workplace; more than three-in-five of those working adults who think teams often fail in the workplace (61 percent) say there is not enough training, the survey said. Further, only 26 percent of working adults who are college graduates — those holding a bachelor’s degree or higher — said teamwork was a focus during their college education.

Source: University of Phoenix

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