Chapter 7 – Groups and Teamwork
What is a Group?
Group – Two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal
- Interaction is the most basic aspect of a group
Formal work groups – Groups that are established by organizations to facilitate the achievement of
- designed to channel individual effort in an appropriate direction
- Task forces – temporary groups that meet to achieve particular goals or to solve particular
- Committees – are usually permanent groups that handle recurrent assignments outside the usual
work group structures.
Informal groups – Groups that emerge naturally in response to the common interests of organizational
Typical Stages of Group Development
Forming – at this early stage, group members try to orient themselves by „testing the waters‟.
Storming – at this second stage, conflict often emerges. Confrontation and criticism occur as
members determine whether they will go along with the way the group is developing. Sorting out
roles and responsibilities is often an issue.
Norming – at this stage, members resolve the issues that provoked the storming, and they develop
social consensus. Compromise is often necessary. Interdependence is recognized, norms are agreed
to, and the group becomes more cohesive.
Performing – the group devotes its energies toward task accomplishment. Achievement, creativity
and mutual assistance are themes here.
Adjourning – some groups have a definite life span and disperse after achieving their goals. Rites and
rituals that affirm group‟s successful development are common.
Punctuated Equilibrium – A model of group development that describes how groups with deadlines are
affected by their first meetings and crucial midpoint transitions.
Phase 1 – begins with first meeting and continues until the midpoint in the group‟s existence. Agenda
is set. Group makes visible progress towards goal.
Midpoint Transition – occurs almost exactly at halfway point in time toward the deadline. Marks a
change in the group;s approach and how group manages the change is critical to show progress. Need
to move is apparent, group may seek outside advice. May consolidate previously acquired info or
even mark a new approach, but crystallizes the group‟s activities for Phase 2 like Phase 1.
Phase 2 – for better or for worse, decisions and approaches adopted at the midpoint get played out in
here. Concludes with a final meeting that reveals a burst of activity and concern for how outsiders
will evaluate the project.
Group Structure and Its Consequences
Group Size Size and Satisfaction – more members = lesser satisfaction. Chance to work decreases. Time for work
Size and Performance
Additive Tasks – group performance is dependent on the sum of the performance of
individual group members.
Disjunctive Tasks – group performance is dependent on the performance of the best group
Process losses – group performance difficulties stemming from the problems of motivating
and coordinating larger groups. Actual performance = potential performance – process losses
Conjunctive Tasks – group performance is limited by the performance of the poorest group
Diversity of Group Membership – group diversity has strong impact on the interaction patterns – more
diverse groups have more difficulty communicating effectively and becoming cohesive
Group Norms – norms are collective expectations that members of social units have regarding the behavior
of each other
Why do norms develop – provides important psychological security and permits us to carry out our daily
business with minimal disruption
What do norms develop about – develop to regulate behaviors that are considered at least marginally
important to their supporters
How do norms develop – shared attitudes. Norms are collectively held expectations
Why do people comply – simply because the norm corresponds to privately held attitudes. Save time
from social confusion
Dress norms – clothing worn to work
Reward Allocation norms – equity, according to inputs; equality – reward everyone equally;
reciprocity – reward people the way they reward you; social responsibility – reward those
who truly need the reward
Performance norms – performance of organizational members might be as much a function
of social expectations as it is of inherent ability, personal motivation, or technology
Roles – positions in a group that have a set of expected behaviors attached to them. “Packages” of norms that
apply to particular group members.
Assigned roles - formally prescribe by an organization as a means of dividing labour and
responsibility to facilitate task achievement
Emergent Roles – roles that develop naturally to meet the social-emotional needs of group members
or to assist in formal job accomplishment
Role Ambiguity – exists when the goals of one‟s job or the methods of performing it are unclear.
Organizational factors – some roles are inherently ambiguous bec of their function in the
The role sender – they might have unclear expectations of a focal person
Focal person – person new to the role who has not fully understood role their role
Role Conflict – exists when an individual is faced with incompatible role expectations.
Intrasender role conflict – single role sender provides incompatible role expectations to the
Intersender role conflict – two or more role senders provide a role occupant with
Interrole conflict – several roles held by a role occupant involve incompatible expectations Person – role conflict – role demands call for behavior that is incompatible with the
personality or skills of a role occupant
Status – the rank, social position or prestige accorded to group members. Group evaluations of a
Formal Status Systems – mgmt‟s attempt to publicly identify those people who have higher
status than others. Status symbols – tangible indicat