3.1 Definition of a Group

According to Marvin Shaw, “a group comprises, of two or more persons who interact with one another in such a manner that each person influences and is influenced by each other person’.

Group Behaviour

“Group behavior” refers to the ways people behave in large- or small-group situations.

3.2 Functions of groups in organizations 

i. Distribution and control  of work  

This is  bringing  together  and  controlling  teams  of peoples  with  certain  talents and  abilities.

ii. Delegation  of work  

Organization authority needs to be delegated to leaders of work groups.

iii. Spread  of information  Groups disseminate information better   than individuals.

iv.  Uniting   the organization in  pursuit  of its goals  Organization can use work groups as a means of gaining   the support   of workers for organizations   goals.

v.  Analyzing  and solving  problems  In order to solve problems    and make  policy,  the  organization  can use  high level work groups  made up  of people  with a wide  range   of  talents.

vi.  Conflict  and   resolution  The organization  cannot  resolve  conflicts   of its  employees at an individual  level, because   in large   organizations    there      may be   too many   conflicts    hence   its better done  in groups.

3.3 Types of Groups

In an organization, there are three types of groups, which are as follows:

Functional or formal groups

Functional groups are the groups formed by the organization to accomplish different organizational purposes. According to A L Stencombe, “a formal group is said to be any social arrangement in which the activities of some persons are planned by others to achieve a common purpose”. These groups are permanent in nature. They have to follow rules, regulations and policy of the organization. A formal organizational group includes departments such as the personnel department, the advertising department, the quality control department and the public relations department.

Task group

Tasks groups are the groups formed by an organization to accomplish a narrow range of purposes within a specified time. These groups are temporary in nature. They also develop a solution to a problem or complete its purpose. Informal committees, task forces and work teams are included in task groups. The organization after specifying a group membership, assigns a narrow set of purposes such as developing a new product, evaluating a proposed grievance procedure, etc.

Informal group

Informal groups are the groups formed for the purposes other than the organizational goals. Informal groups form when individuals are drawn together by friendship, by mutual interests or both. These groups are spontaneous. According to Keith David, “the network of persons and social relations which is not established or required form an informal organization”. These are the groups formed by the employees themselves at the workplace while working together. The organization does not take any active interest in their formation. Informal groups are of following types:

  • Interest group: Interest groups are the groups formed to attain a common purpose. Employees coming together for payment of bonus, increase in salary, medical benefit and other facilities are the examples of interest groups
  • Membership group: Membership groups are the groups of individuals’ belonging to the same profession and knowing each other. For example, teachers of the same faculty in a university.
  • Friendship group: Friendship groups are the groups of individuals belonging to same age group, having similar views, tastes and opinions. These groups can also be formed outside the plant or office and can be in the form of clubs and associations.
  • Reference group: Reference groups are the group where individuals shape their ideas, beliefs, values etc. They want support from the group.

3.4 Stages of Group Formation

New     groups   are  constantly  being  formed  in  all  walks  of life .These  may be  formal units,  committees    working    parties,  project         teams       e.t.c. To  deal    with  the  new development    or innovations or arising from   a reorganization  of existing    work  patterns. They may also be informal   group based around   new friendships and interest.

Stage 1 Forming  

The first   stage   of   group   development   is concerned   with    finding   out the   nature   of situation   with which   the group   is faced  and what   forms   of behavior   and  interaction are  appropriate.  Members  will      test  out  attitude      and  behavior      to  establish      their acceptability as ground     rules for accomplishing    the   task and   getting along with   other members.  Competing    powerful    personalities      can    lend    to      problems    in    early development  explorations  of  what  is  acceptable  within  the group.

Stage 2 Storming  

Leading    on from  the forming stage  in which   certain   ground rules   are explored  , it is likely  that  there will  be a stage   of  conflict  and disagreement   as   methods  of  operations and patterns of behavior start to be   firmed  up .This   where  different   opinions    and styles emerge with competing  sub-groups,  challenges   for leadership  , rebellions  against control and resistance  to the  demands  of meeting  task  requirements. A degree of compromise is necessary here in order to allow consensus to emerge.

Stage 3 Norming  

As  resistance   is overcome   and conflicts    patched   up, groups   move    into the norming stage   whereby   they   establish   norms of    attitudes   and behavior   which   the   mutually accepted  for the task performance  and  interaction .Individual members  begin  the  process of internalizing  those   norms  and  identifying  with  group  ,building  group  cohesion.

Members   roles   start   to be   clarified and   accepted    at this   stage   .The role    of leader should  be clearly  established. the  establishment   of  consensus  brings recognition   of the value  and different  potential  contributions   of individuals    and this results to cooperation and mutual  support from group  work.

Stage 4 Performing  

This is  the final  stage  in development   and it  represents   the  position  where  the group energy   is now  available  for  effective  work, completing   task  and maintaining the group. The   established  norms     now   support     the goals   of the   group   and roles   becomes functional ,thus  allowing  constructive  work  in  relation  to tasks .

3.5 Factors that determine the  behavior  of groups  and how successful  they  are  

  1. Size

The sizes of the group   will affect how the group works   together and tasks completed.

  1. Leadership /management style  

It  can affect  the performance  of the  group  -It involves  the organization  and directions’  of the group  to  achieve its goals .

iii.  Cohesiveness  

If the group is   not cohesive it will tend to be ineffective.

  1. Motivation of group  members  

The commitment  of members to the goals and tasks  of the group are  a key determinant of successful   performance.

  1. Norms of groups

This   includes belief   systems, attitudes and values of the group, that influence   behavior.

  1. Group /team roles  

Effective  groups  need  members  to carry  out  a variety  of   roles  in order  that goals   and tasks  of  group   many  be  achieved .

vii .The environment  

The   work environment   will have a direct bearing on the group and its performance.

viii. The group task

This  includes  the  task  that  groups  are  asked  to  complete  , how  important  they  are and  how  urgent  and  how the  results  help the  company  achieve  its objectives.

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