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Management (MGH)
Course Code
Samantha Montes

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Groups and Teamwork 10/13/2014
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 – it suggests who is in the group and who is not
Interdependence: group members rely to some degree on each other to accomplish goals
Group memberships are important for two reasons
Groups exert a tremendous influence on us – they are social mechanisms by which we acquire many
beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors
Groups provide a context in which we are able to exert influence on others
Formal work groups: groups that are established by organizations to facilitate the achievement of
organizational goals
Intentionally designed to channel individual effort in an appropriate direction
Most common formal group consists of a manager and the employees who report to that manager
Task forces and project teams are temporary groups that meet to achieve particular goals or to solve
particular problems
Committees are usually permanent groups that handle recurrent assignments outside the usually work
group structures
Informal groups: groups that emerge naturally in response to the common interests of organizational
Group Development
Typical Stages of Group Development
Each stage presents the members with a series of challenges they must master to achieve the next stage
1. Forming
Group members orient themselves by testing the waters, members are aware of their dependency on each
2. Storming

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Conflict often emerges, sorting out roles and responsibilities is often at issue here
3. Norming
Members resolve issues that provoked the storming, they develop social consensus, the group becomes
more cohesive
4. Performing
Group devotes its energies toward task accomplishment
Achievement, creativity, and mutual assistance are prominent themes
5. Adjourning
Rites and rituals that affirm the group’s previous successful development are common
Members exhibit emotional support for each other
Punctuated Equilibrium
Punctuated equilibrium model: a model of group development that describes how groups with
deadlines are affected by their first meetings and crucial midpoint transitions
Applies to groups with deadlines
Phase 1
Begins with the first meeting and continues until the midpoint in the groups existence
Assumptions, approaches and precedents that members develop in the first meeting end up dominating the
first half of the group’s life
Midpoint Transition
Occurs at almost exactly the halfway point in time toward the group’s deadline
Phase 2
Decisions and approaches adopted at the midpoint get played out in Phase 2
Concludes with a final meeting that reveals a burst of activity and a concern for how outsides will evaluate
the product

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Group Structure and its Consequences
Group structure: refers to the characteristics of the stable social organization of a group – the way a
group is “put together”
Most basic structural characteristics are size and member diversity
Group size
Usually have between 3 and 20 members
Size and Satisfaction
Members in larger groups report less satisfaction with group membership than those who find themselves
in smaller groups
As opportunities for friendship increase, the chance to work on and develop these opportunities might
Larger groups may prompt conflict and dissension
The time available for verbal participation decreases
Individuals identify less easily with the success and accomplishments of the group
Size and Performance
Additive tasks: tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum of the performance of
individual group members
Potential performance of the group increases with group size
Disjunctive tasks: tasks in which group performance is dependent on the performance of the best
group member
Potential performance increases with group size because the probability that the group includes a superior
performer is greater
Process losses: group performance difficulties stemming from the problems of motivating and
coordinating larger groups
Problems of communication and decision making increase with size
Actual performance = potential performance – process losses
Larger groups might perform better as groups, but their individual members tend to be less efficient
Conjunctive tasks: tasks in which group performance is limited by the performance of the poorest
group member
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