Chapter 7: Groups and Teamwork
! Group: Two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal.
! Group memberships are very important because they exert tremendous influence on us and
they 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. Managers and his/her subordinate are the most common
work group. Other types include task forces and committees. Task forces 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 usual work group
! Informal groups: Groups that emerge naturally in response to the common interests of
! Typical Stages of Group Development
! Forming: Group members try to orient themselves by “testing the waters”. Purpose,
members personality, why/what are we doing here? The situation is often ambiguous, and
members are aware of their dependency on each other.
! 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 the issue here. Problems are more likely to
happen earlier, rather than later, in group development.
! 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. Information and
opinions flow freely.
! Performing: With its social structure sorted out, the group devotes its energies toward
task accomplishment. Achievement, creativity, and mutual assistance are prominent themes of
! Adjourning: Groups disperse during this stage. Some has a specific life span and some
disband due to corporate layoffs. Rites and rituals that affirm the group’s successful
development are common. Members often exhibit emotional support for each other.
! Not all groups go through these stages of development. Well-acquainted task forces and
committees can bypass these stages when they have a new problem to work out. Also, some
organizational settings are so structured that storming and norming are unnecessary for even
strangers to join together in a team. Eg. Airline cabin crews.
! Punctuated Equilibrium Model: A model of group development that describes how groups
with deadlines are affected by their first meetings and crucial midpoint transitions and a rush
to task completion.
! Phase 1: Begins with first meeting and continues until midpoint of group existence.
Crucial for setting the agenda for what will happen in the remainder of the phase.
Assumptions, approaches, and precedents that members develop in the first meeting end up
dominating the first half of the group’s life. Although it gathers information and holds
meetings, the group makes little visible progress toward the goal.
! Midpoint Transition: Occurs at the halfway point towards the deadline. Marks a
change in the group’s approach, and how the group manages it is critical for the group to
show progress. The group must move forward and may seek outside advice. The transition
may consolidate previously acquired information or even mark a completely new
approach, but it crystallizes the group’s activities for Phase 2 just like the first meeting did
for Phase 1.
! Phase 2: Decisions and approaches adopted at the midpoint get played out in Phase 2. It
concludes with a final meeting that reveals a burst of activity and a concern for how
outsiders will evaluate the product.
! Advice Given By Punctuated Equilibrium Model: Prepare carefully for first meeting, do
not look for radical progress during Phase 1, Manage the midpoint transition carefully,
Ensure adequate resources for Phase 2, Resist deadline changes.
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”. They vary by size and member diversity, norms, roles,
status, and cohesiveness.
! Group Size: Smallest consists of at least two people but most work groups usually have
between 3 and 20 people.
! Size and satisfaction: Members of larger groups consistently report less satisfaction
with group members than smaller groups. Large amounts of time and energy is needed to
develop friendships with team members, teams have to incorporate more viewpoints,
experience conflict and dissension. Time available for Individual participation also decreases,
and people become inhibited and can less identify with successes of a larger group.
! Size and performance: It depends on the task
! Additive Tasks: Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum of the
performance of individual group members. Increases with group size. Eg. House
! Disjunctive tasks: Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the
performance of the best group member. Increases with group size.
! Process losses: Group performance difficulties stemming from the problems of
motivating and coordinating larger groups.
! Conjunctive tasks: Tasks in which group performance is limited by the performance
of the poorest group member.
! Potential performance and process losses increase with group size for additive and
disjunctive tasks. Net effect: Actual performance increases up to a certain point and then
falls off. Average performance of group members decreases as size gets bigger. Up to a
point, larger groups might perform better as groups, but their individual members tend
to be less efficient.
! Diversity of Group Membership: Group diversity has a strong impact on interaction patterns
– more diverse groups have a more difficult time communicating effectively and becoming
cohesive. They tend to take longer to form, storm, and norm. Diverse groups sometimes
perform better when the task requires cognitive, creativity-demanding tasks and problem
solving rather than more routine work. Deep diversity in attitudes toward work or goal
accomplishment can badly damage cohesiveness.
! Norms: Collective expectations that members of social units have regarding the behaviour of
! Norm Development: The most important function of norms is to provide regularity and
predictability to behaviour. Norms develop to regulate behaviours that are considered
marginally important to their supporters. Shared attitudes among group members help form
! Some typical Norms:
! Dress norms: Social norms frequently dictate the kind of clothing people wear to work.
! Reward allocation norms: There are at least four norms that might dictate how rewards,
such as pay, promotions, informal favours, could be allocated in organizations.
! Reciprocity: reward people the way they reward you
! Social responsibility: reward those who truly need the reward
! Performance Norms: Work groups provide their members with potent cues about what an
appropriate level of performance is.
! Roles: Positions in a group that have a set of expected behaviours attached to them.
! Designated (Assigned) roles: are formally prescribed 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: Lack of clarity of job goals or methods.
! Certain organizational factors lead role senders (eg. Managers) to develop role
expectations and “send” roles to focal people (employees). The focal person
“receives” the role and then tries to engage in behaviour to fulfill the role. Elements
that lead to ambiguity:
! Organizational factors: some roles seem ambiguous because of their function
in the organization.
! The Role Sender: Role senders might have unclear expectations of a focal
! The focal person: Even role expectations that are clearly developed and sent
might not be fully digested by the focal person.
! Role Conflict: A condition of being faced with incompatible role expectations.