Management and Organizational Studies 2181A/B Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Social Loafing, Group Cohesiveness, Role Conflict

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Group Development
Group: Two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal.
Two reasons group memberships are important:
1. Groups exert a tremendous influence on us
2. Groups provide a context in which we are able to exert influence on others
Formal work groups: Groups that organizations establish to facilitate the achievement of
organizational goals.
Informal groups: Groups that emerge naturally in response to the common interests of
organizational members.
Stages of group development:
1. Forming
2. Storming (conflict often emerges)
3. Norming (members resolve issues that provoked the storming)
4. Performing (task accomplishment)
5. Adjourning
Punctuated equilibrium model: A model of group development that describes how groups
are affected by their first meetings and crucial midpoint transitions.
Upper limit of # of group members = 300-400, most groups have between 3-20.
People are usually more satisfied in small groups vs. large groups.
Group Structure and its Consequences
Additive tasks: Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum of the
performance of individual group members. Performance of group increases with group
Disjunctive tasks: Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the performance on
the best group member. Performance of group increases with group size.
Process losses: Group performance difficulties stemming from the problems of
motivating and coordinating larger groups.
Actual performance = potential performance – process losses.
Conjunctive tasks: Tasks in which group performance is limited by the performance of
the poorest group member. Performance of group decreases with group size.
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Norms: Collective expectations that members of social units have regarding the behavior
of each other.
Why do norms develop? They serve to provide regularity and predictability to
behavior. This consistency provides us with psychological security.
Some typical norms:
oDress norms
oReward allocation norms
Social responsibility
oPerformance norms
Roles: Positions in a group that have a set of expected behaviors attached to them, like
packages of norms that apply to specific people.
Role conflict: A condition of being faced with incompatible role expectations.
oIntrasender role conflict: A single role sender provides incompatible role
expectations to a role occupant.
oIntersender role conflict: Two or more role senders provide a role occupant
with incompatible expectations.
oInterrole conflict: Several roles held by a role occupant involve incompatible
oPerson-role conflict: Role demands call for behavior that is incompatible with
the personality of skills of a role occupant.
Status: The rank, social position, or prestige accorded to group members.
Group Cohesiveness
Group cohesiveness: The degree to which a group is especially attractive to its members.
Factors influencing cohesiveness:
oThreats and competition
oMember diversity
oToughness of initiation
In highly cohesive groups, the productivity of individual group members tends to
be fairly similar to that of other members. In less cohesive groups there is more variation
in productivity.
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Highly cohesive groups tend to be more or less productive that less cohesive
groups, depending on a number of variables.
Social Loafing
Social loafing: The tendency to withhold physical or intellectual effort when performing
a group task. Implication: you would work harder alone instead of in a group.
oFree rider effect: Lowering your effort to get a free ride off others.
oSucker effect: Lowering your effort because you feel like others are free
How to counteract social loafing:
oMake individual performance more visible
oMake sure that the work is interesting
oIncrease feelings of indispensability
oIncrease performance feedback
oReward group performance
Designing Effective Work Teams
Self-managed work teams: Work groups that have the opportunity to do challenging work
under reduced supervision.
Composition of self-managed teams:
oSize (smaller is better)
All members need social skills
Good teams = high cohesiveness, group norms.
Supporting self-managed teams:
Technical training
Social skills
Language skills
Business training
Cross-functional teams: Work groups that bring people with different functional
specialties together to better invent, design, or deliver a product or service.
oPrinciples for effectiveness
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