Lack of training and desire to prove individual success cited as barriers to teamwork success

PHOENIX, Oct. 15, 2013— A recent University of Phoenix survey finds that 84 percent (more than four-in-five) of working adults (or employed adults) think that working on teams in the workplace is difficult. Of working adults who think teams often fail in the workplace, more than three-in-five (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 2013.

When questioned about the specific reasons for this, 45 percent feel there is an "in-it-for-one's-self" mentality in the workplace. Workload is also an issue, with 40 percent of working adults citing fewer employees are doing more work which causes for less time for team efforts. Electronic communication is also a barrier, with 35 percent of working adults saying that emails, instant messaging and other electronic communications have reduced the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with co-workers.

"Working in teams can be one of the more challenging dynamics one faces in the workplace," said Dr. Bill Pepicello, president of University of Phoenix. "Developing teamwork skills is a critical factor for success for individuals and the businesses for which they work. At University of Phoenix, we integrate collaborative assignments and learning teams into our curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate level so that students enter their careers with a firm understanding of team dynamics in the workplace."

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 note that part of the problem is that individuals are more motivated to be individually successful. More than half (52 percent) 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 team 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. Further, only 26 percent of working adults who are college graduates (those holding a bachelor's degree or more education) said teamwork was a focus during their college education.

"Teams of diverse workers with a breadth of experience can bring strength to everyone involved when both employers and employees are committed to developing high-functioning teams," said Pepicello. "Today's corporate environment hosts multiple generations of employees with different skills and experiences. University of Phoenix's student base directly reflects this with students from varied generations and professional experience, and our curriculum mirrors today's workplace by requiring our students to carry out projects in learning teams so they can be more effective when working in these environments as they begin or advance in their careers."

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Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of University of Phoenix from August 5-7, 2013 among 1,072 employed adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Christopher Fielder (


University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of  Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit

Media Contact

Christopher Fielder
University of Phoenix