I read an article in Wired recently (March 2013) that I keep coming back in my professional life. It's a short one-page interview with the authors of the book Nurture Shock (2009) who have written a new book called Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing. In the article -- and in the book -- they discuss competition, stress and performance, teamwork and competition.
The points that stood out in the article, that come to mind frequently as I try to be a corporate "team player" (when did everyone start including "team player" on their CVs...?), are thus:
"...coordinating teamwork -- organizing meetings and such -- causes about a 40% loss in productivity. [...] And there's another problem. There's this concept that teams need to have good relationships between members in order to be high-performing... Teams are going to be challenged, and they have to perform... Discord can be more associated with performance than harmony is."
Team work has it's place, of course, and it is very important to many aspects of business - both long term and day to day. But the above ideas have value, too, because sometimes we get very caught up in being inclusive. Yet, I think we are often afraid to say that there are some tasks/projects that require teamwork and others where it would be a benefit to work individually.