BU288 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Group Cohesiveness, Social Loafing, Role Conflict

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20 Nov 2012
Groups & 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 it suggests who is in the group and who is not
-Interdependence simply means that group members rely to some degree on each other to accomplish
-Formal work groups groups that are established by organizations to facilitate the achievement of
organizational goals Ex task forces and committees
-Task forces are temporary groups that meet to achieve a particular goals or to solve particular problems
-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
Punctuated Equilibrium Model
-When groups have a specific deadline by which to complete some problem-solving task, we can often
observe a very different development sequence from the described above
-Punctuated equilibrium model a model of group development that describes how groups with
deadline are affected by their first meetings and crucial midpoint transitions
Phase 1
-Begins with the first meeting and continues until the midpoint in the group’s existence
-The group makes little visible progress toward the goal
Midpoint Transition
-Occurs almost exactly the halfway point in time toward the group’s deadline
-Marks a change in the group’s approach, and how the group manages the change is critical for
the group to show progress
-The need to move forward is apparent, and the group may seek outside advice
Phase 2
-Decisions and approaches adopted at the midpoint get played out in Phase 2
-In concludes with a final meeting that reveals a burst of activity and a concern for how
outsiders will evaluate the product
-Prepare carefully for the first meeting. What is decided here will strongly determine
what happens in the rest of Phase 1
-Be sure that adequate resources are available to actually execute the Phase 2 plan
-Resist deadline changes. These could damage the midpoint transition
Group Structure and its Consequences
-The most basic structural characteristics along which groups vary are size and member diversity
-Actual performance = potential performance process losses
Group Norms
-Norms collective expectations that members of social units have regarding the behaviour of each
other - Codes of conduct of what individuals ought and ought not to do
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Norm Development
-Norms develop to regulate behaviours that are considered at least marginally important to their
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, and informal favours, could be allocated in organizations a) Equity reward according to
inputs, such as effort, performance, or seniority; b) Equality reward everyone equally; c) Reciprocity
reward people the way they reward you; d) Social responsibility reward those who truly need the
-Performance norms work groups provide their members with potent cues about what an appropriate
level of performance is; work groups often establish their own informal performance norms
-Roles positions in a group that have a set of expected behaviours attached to them
-In organizations, there are two basic kinds of roles: designated or assigned roles
-In addition to assigned roles, there are emergent roles roles that develop naturally to meet the social-
emotional needs of group members or to assist in formal job accomplishment
Role Ambiguity
-Role ambiguity lack of clarity of jobs goals or methods
-Certain organizational factors lead role senders to develop role expectations and send roles to focal
-The focal person receives the role and then tries to engage in behaviour to fulfill the role
-Organizational factors Some roles seem inherently ambiguous because of their function in the
-The role sender role senders might have unclear expectations of a focal person
-The focal person even role expectations that are clearly developed and sent might not be fully
digested by the focal person
-The practical consequences of role ambiguity has outcomes such as job stress, dissatisfaction, reduced
organizational commitment, lowered performance, and intentions to quit
Role Conflict
-Role conflict a condition of being faced with incompatible role expectations
-Intrasender role conflict a single role sender provides incompatible role expectations to a role
occupant Ex. A manager might tell an employee to take it easy and not work so hard, while
delivering yet another batch of report that require immediate attention
- Intersender role conflict two or more role senders provide a role occupant with incompatible
expectations. Ex. A first level manager from above has to be pressured to get the work out and
keep employees in line, but from below he or she might be encouraged to behave in a
considerate and friendly manner
-Organizational members necessarily play several roles at one time, especially if we include roles
external to the organization. Interrole conflict several roles held by a role occupant involve
incompatible expectations
-Even when role demands are clear and otherwise congruent, they might be incompatible with
the personality or kills of the role occupant. Person-role conflict role demands call for
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behaviour that is incompatible with the personality or skills of a role occupant
-Status the rank, social position, or prestige accorded to group members
Formal Status Systems
-Status and the symbols attached to it serve as powerful magnets to induce members to aspire to higher
organizational positions
Informal Status Systems
-Such systems are not well advertised, and they might lack the conspicuous symbols and systematic
support that people usually accord the formal system
-Informal status is lined to factors other than job performance, such as gender or race
Reducing Status Barriers
-Status differences can be powerful motivators, their tendency to inhibit the free flow of communication
has led many organizations to downplay status differentiation by doing away with questionable status
-Some organizations employ misguided attempts to bridge the status barrier Ex. Casual Friday
-E-mail has levelled status barriers
Group Cohesiveness
-Group cohesiveness the degree to which a group is especially attractive to its members
-Members are especially desirous of staying in the group and tend to describe the group in favourable
-While some groups are more cohesive than others, there is no objective line between cohesive and
non-cohesive groups
Factors Influencing Cohesiveness
Threat and Competition
-Honest competition with another group can also promote cohesiveness
-Groups feel they need to improve communication and coordination so that they can better cope with
the situation at hand
-Cohesiveness will decrease after failure there could be “misery loves company” exceptions however
Member Diversity
-If the group is in agreement about how to accomplish some particular task, its success in performing
the task will often outweigh surface dissimilarity in determining cohesiveness
-Bigger groups should have a more difficult time becoming and staying cohesive
Toughness of Initiation
-Groups that are tough to get into should be more attractive than those that are easy to join
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