On “Ask a Manager,” Alison Green responds to someone who’s starting a business graduate program. Administrators say there will be lots of group work “just like the real business world!” He’s dreading it.
. . . at work you have totally different types of accountability. If someone is slacking off and not pulling their weight, you have recourse — you can talk to their boss and there’s the specter of consequences.
. . . In school, everyone working on a project is usually bringing similar skills and background to the project. At work, group projects are often made up of people with very different skill sets, because that’s the point of bringing them together to each handle different parts of the project.
And at work, there’s typically someone in the group who’s charge of the overall project and who has the power to make decisions and hold people accountable — whereas school group work often relies on consensus.
In school, “group projects are often chaotic and imbalanced and frequently disliked,” writes Green. And not without reason.