Assigned vs. Chosen Groups

The benefits of choosing whom you work with

A group project is assigned. First, anxiety for the project itself. Then, apprehension. Finally, the largest concern of all: being trapped with a group of people who don’t care about the project, don’t care about their grades or don’t particularly care about you. Anything that could hinder your grade would be detrimental because of group project’s large point value. However, if the teacher allows you to select your own partners, you are less likely to fail. Although you would still make an effort in both settings, the option to choose your group allows for better teamwork, communication and a satisfactory final product.

If exercised responsibly, the freedom to pick the people you work with results in efficiency and a high quality project. I’ve noticed that by choosing capable people, my overall grade ends up higher, and I end up less stressed and more content with my project. Not only that, but when I complete a task with like-minded people, it’s much easier to achieve our common goals. From personal experience, assigned groups disagree more and have less coordinated decision making. The time wasted because of these could easily be used to further develop the project. This is not to say that you will have no disagreements at all. However, I have found that it is much easier to compromise with and understand people I personally select because we work well together.

Assigned groups have a higher potential of proving to be disastrous. There are always disagreements on how to best complete the project, and it is easier to offend a stranger than a friend. It is hard for appointed groups to get along easily, and you become less inclined to invest yourself in the project. It is challenging to motivate people you are unfamiliar with, and arguments are always quick to arise. Moreover, the frustration of attempting to finish a project can often lead to hurt feelings and tense relationships.

Although assigned groups are beneficial because they teach you how to collaborate with people, these positive effects are only evident if your group is dedicated to completing the project. Being assigned a group is not always harmful. If the group you are placed in is willing to work, the project can become the perfect opportunity to meet new people and learn how to cooperate. Through this, you may learn patience and become better at seeing different perspectives.

Despite the advantages of an assigned group, the chosen group would have a higher chance of success. Through the teamwork and cooperation more easily achieved among peers with a common goal, the group is more likely to produce positive results at a faster pace. Also, by knowing your group and their personalities beforehand, you eliminate the chance of being blindsided by one irresponsible individual; there is no need for you to micromanage and stress over the entire project. With a chosen group and therefore a more controlled environment, you increase the chance of success and achieving a desired grade.

By Nicole Chiang, Staff writer
Editorial cartoon by Jessica Huang