It is clear that defining roles provides a foundation for successful team performance (Levi, p. 64). In sports like football roles are more clearly defined due to specific positions. But roles must be defined in other contexts such as research teams. If every member of a research team reads the same articles and writes the same notes, then it is not a team and is not utilizing the team properly. In order for team roles to be accepted, two natural human motivations must be discussed and reconciled.
Our culture emphasizes the fact that a person should be successful in as many areas as possible. It goes against our natural tendencies to realize that the best way to win as a team is to fulfill our own role the best we can. It is also hard to understand that by differentiating teammates through the assigning of roles we are giving ourselves a better chance of succeeding, and fostering group solidarity through that success. Due to the dynamics of role assignment as perceived by the individual, an individual understanding of the importance and benefit of roles in teams is primary. A serious injury to a teammate should not be needed to bring solidarity between teammates to the forefront. Unity between teammates should be continuously recognized during the process of team development.
Levi, D. (2011). Group Dynamics for Teams. SAGE Publications Inc.: Thousand Oaks, CA.