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Part I: Introduction > Different Ways to Work Together

Chapter 2. Different Ways to Work Together

People work together inside, and outside, a formal organization in many different ways. Virtual teams differ primarily in the degree of interdependence they share toward common goals. Although we all work with others, we are interdependent when one person cannot succeed without the contribution of the other. Teams that exhibit a high degree of interdependence demonstrate great dedication and investment in the team’s success. The final result, or work product, of these teams greatly affects their organization. For example, a team at NASA preparing for the launch of a spaceship is a high-performing, highly interdependent team. A team within an accounting organization, however, probably has little need for interdependence, because roles are more loosely affiliated and tend to involve the work of individual contributors.

Basketball, football, and hockey teams are examples of highly interdependent forms of teaming. Although members play different roles, the team can succeed only when all players do well. Players must pass the ball back, and winning requires all athletes to follow established strategy. Swim, track, or bowling teams, on the other hand, are much more dependent on individual achievement than teamwork. Although some events require teamwork and strategy, the overall success of the team requires significantly less interdependence.


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