MGHB02H3 Lecture Notes - Role Conflict
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Group – two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal.
This definition is broad enough to include formal work groups (boss and subordinates),
committees, teams (managed and self-managed)
Two Theories of Group Development
A widely accepted theory of the stages of group development is:
Forming – new group orients itself “what are we doing here?”, “what are the others
like?”, “what is our purpose?”. The situation is often ambiguous at this stage.
Storming – conflict often emerges – sorting out roles and responsibilities –
confrontation and criticism are likely
Norming – members resolve the issues that provoked the storming and develop social
consensus. May involve compromise. Interdependence is recognized and norms are
Performing – group devotes energy toward task accomplishment – achievement,
creativity and mutual assistance occur
Adjourning – if a temporary group
Punctuated Equilibrium Theory
Three key points in group formation:
Phase One (First meeting to midpoint) – set agenda, determine approaches and gather
information. Little progress is made toward goal
Midpoint Transition – at halfway to deadline – marks transition in group’s approach.
The need to move forward becomes apparent – may seek outside help or formulate a
new approach. Crystallizes group’s activities for phase two
Phase Two – approaches adopted at midpoint get played out. Final burst of activity
and concern for how product will be evaluated.
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Impact of group size and diversity of group membership
Smallest group is 2 people but what is the upper limit and why?
Impact of Group Size on Satisfaction – members of larger groups report less
•As group size increases, opportunities for friendships increase but chance to
develop these friendships decreases due to time and energy required
•More members means more different viewpoints which prompts conflict and
•Time available for verbal participation by each member decreases as group size
•Many people inhibited by participating in larger groups
•Harder to identify with the success of the group – harder to see your individual
Impact of Group Size on Performance – what is the appropriate size for a group? It
depends upon the task and on how we define good performance
Additive task – group performance is dependent on the sum of the performance of
individual group members. Potential performance increases with group size
Disjunctive task – potential group performance depends upon performance of best
group member. More members increases chance of having an outstanding performer
Processes losses – as groups become larger, then tend to suffer from process losses
(inefficiencies). These losses stem from problems of motivation, coordination,
communication and decision making.
Formula: Actual performance = potential performance – process losses
Conjunctive tasks – performance of the group is limited by the poorest performer. eg.
Assembly line where the speed of the line is dependent upon the speed of each person
on the line. Larger group increases the chance of having a poor performer.
See Exhibit 7.3 – relationship among group size, productivity and process losses. Note
the total productivity curve and the mean individual productivity curve
More diverse groups have a more difficult time communicating effectively and becoming
cohesive – take longer in forming, storming and norming stages
Once they do develop, diverse and non-diverse groups are equally cohesive and
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