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Chapter 7

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COMM 151
Christopher Miners

COMM 151 – Chapter 7 Notes - Groups and 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  Group membership is important  1) Groups exert a tremendous influence on us i.e. social mechanisms by which we acquire many beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviours  2) Important because 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 – ex. A manager & employees who report to that manager  Designed to channel individual effort in an appropriate direction  Tasks Force are temporary groups that meet to achieve particular goals or to solve particular problems such as suggesting productivity improvements  Committees are permanent groups that handle recurrent assignments outside the usual work group structure  Informal Work Groups: Groups that naturally emerge in response to the common interests of organizational members Group Development  Typical Stages of Group Development  Forming: Group members orient themselves by testing the waters  Storming: Conflict emerges and confrontation and criticism occur as members determine whether they will go along with the way the group is developing  Norming: Members resolve issues that provoked the storming & develop social consensus  Compromise is necessary, interdependence is recognized, and norms are agreed to and groups become more cohesive  Performing: Devotes energy towards task accomplishment  Achievement creativity and mutual assistance are prominent themes  Adjourning: Some groups disperse after achieve goals or disperse after corporate layoffs  Members exhibit emotional support for each other may celebrate achievements  Punctuated Equilibrium: A model of group development that describes how groups with deadlines are affected by their first meetings and crucial midpoints transitions  Phase 1  First meeting and continues until the midpoint of the group’s existence  Critical in setting the agenda for what will happen in the remainder of the phase  Groups makes little progress towards the goal  Midpoint Transition  Hallway point in time toward the groups deadline  Transition marks a change in the groups approach & how the group manages the change is critical for the group to show progress May also seek outside advice  Transition may consolidate previously acquired info or may use a new approach  Group activities are crystallized for phase two (just like how it did for phase one) 1 COMM 151 – Chapter 7 Notes - Groups and Teamwork  Phase 2  Reveals a burst of activity and concern of how outsiders will evaluate the project  Advice that this model offers for managing teams and groups  Prepare carefully for first meeting and stress motivation & excitement about the project  As long as people are working, do not look for radical progress during phase one  Manage the midpoint effectively by evaluating strengths and weaknesses of ideas generated in phase 1, Clarifying any questions, recognize that change in necessary  Focus on the strategy to be used in phase 2  Resist deadline changes  make deadlines for tasks, and stick to them!  Be sure that adequate resources are available to execute phase 2 plan Group Structure and its Consequences  Group Structure: The characteristics of the stable social org group  way group is put together  Group Size  Size and Satisfaction  Larger groups report less satisfaction, the reasons for this are  Opportunities for friendship increase, however  Different viewpoints, more conflict and dissension  Time available for verbal participation decreases  everyone can’t talk  Individuals identify less easily with the success and accomplishments of the group  can’s easily identify your contributions  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 increase with group size  Disjunctive Tasks: Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the performance of the best group member  Performance of group doing disjunctive tasks increases with group size since the probability that the group has a superior performer is greater  Process Losses: Group performance difficulties stemming from the problems of motivating and coordinating larger groups  As groups get bigger they tend to suffer from group process loss  Problems of communication and decision making increases with size   Conjunctive Tasks: Tasks in which group performance is limited by the performance of the poorest group member  Assembly line is limited by its weakest link  Potential & actual performance of conjunctive tasks decrease as group size increases as the probability of a weak link in the group increases  Additive and disjunctive tasks larger groups perform better but at increases costs to the efficiency of individual members  Diversity of Group Membership  Diverse groups have a difficult time communicating effectively & becoming cohesive  Takes longer to do their forming, storming and norming 2 COMM 151 – Chapter 7 Notes - Groups and Teamwork  Perform better when tasks require cognitive creativity-demanding tasks and problem solving rather than more routine work  broader array of ideas  “Deep diversity” in attitudes toward work or how to accomplish a goal can badly damage the team’s cohesiveness  Group Norms  Norms: Collective expectations that members of social units have regarding the behaviour of each other  Much normative influence is unconscious –aware of it when see children trying to master adult norms, when norms conflict, or when entering new social situations  Norm Development  Important function of norms is providing regularity & predictability of behaviour  Provides important psychological security and permits us to carry out our business with minimum disruption  Norms develop to regulate behaviours that are considered marginally important to their supporters  ex. Norms about performance and daily attendance  They develop through a shared beliefs, attitudes, and values and are collectively held expectations  this is why people comply with norms  Social Typical Norms  Dress Norms: Dictate the kind of clothing people wear to work ex. Military organizations invoke formal norms supporting polished buttons & sharp creases  Reward Allocation – norms that dictate how rewards should be allocated  Equity: Reward according to inputs i.e. effort, performance, or seniority  Equality: Reward everyone equally  Reciprocity: Reward people the way they reward you  Social Responsibility: Reward those who truly need the reward  Performance Norms – high performance, when to take breaks, productivity  Might be as much of a function of social expectations as it is of inherent ability, personal motivation or technology  Roles: Positions in a group that have set expected behaviours attached to them  The development of roles means that group members may be required to act differently from one another  we find two different kinds of roles  Assigned roles formally prescribed by the org – “who does what”, “who is boss”  Emergent roles are ones that develop naturally to meet the social-emotional needs of group member or to assist in formal job accomplishment – informal  Role Ambiguity: Lack of clarity of job goals or methods Variety of  Organizational Factors: Roles that seem ambiguous due to their function in org elements  The Role Sender: Might have unclear expectation of a focal person  even when that can sender has specific role expectations, might be ineffectively sent to focal person lead to  The Focal Person: Even when role expectations are clearly developed and sent ambiguity might not be fully digested by the focal person  especially if they’re new  Role Conflict: A condition of being faced with incompatible role expectations  Intrasender Role Conflict: A role sender provides incompatible role expectations a to role occupant  saying don’t work so hard, then giving them another task  Intersender Role Conflict: Two+ role senders provide a role occupant with incompatible expectations  from above, make them work; below, be considerate 3 COMM 151 – Chapter 7 Notes - Groups and Teamwork  Interrole Conflict: Several roles held by a role occupant involve incompatible expectations  can’t do everything that they are assigned to do, they conflict  Person-role conflict: Role demand calls for behaviour that is incompatible with the personality or skills of a role occupant  Status: the rank, social position, or prestige accorded to group members  To put is another way, it is the group’s evaluation of a member  Formal Status Systems  This system represents mgmt.’s attempt to publicly identify those who have higher status than others through application of status symbols Ex. Seniority  Serve as powerful magnets to induce members to aspire to obtain higher organizational positions  Status differentiation reinforces the authority hierarchy since people pay attention to high-status individuals  Informal Status Systems  Sometimes, job performance is a basis for the acquisition of informal status  “fast-tracker” ppl perform well early in career, “power hitter” in baseball  Evaluated by their ability to assist in task accomplishment  Linked to gender/race ex. Man who takes day off to take care of sick child is praised vs. if a woman does it she is questioned about her work commitment  Consequence of Status Differences  People like to communicate with people at their own status or higher rather than people who are below them  kind of a paradox & communication is stalled  Higher status do more talking and have more influence but no guarantee that the highest-status is the most knowledgeable about the current issue  Reducing Status Barriers  Although status differentiators can be powerful motivators, their tendency to inhibit the free flow of communication has lead orgs to downplay status symbols  Goal is to foster culture of teamwork and cooperation across the ranks  Email encourages lower status people to talk directly to higher status people Group Cohesiveness  Group Cohesiveness: The degree to which a group is especially attractive to its members  Members are desirous to staying in the group and describe them in favourable terms  Factors Influencing Cohesiveness  Threat and Competition  External threat increase cohesiveness in a variety of situations  Honest competition with another group can also promote cohesiveness  Feel a need to improve communication and coordination so that they can better cope with the situation at hand but under extreme threat or unbalanced competition, increased cohesiveness serves little purpose  Success  Group more attractive when members successfully accomplish a goal
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