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Chapter 7

BUS 2090 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Social Dilemma, The Sucker, General Idea

Course Code
BUS 2090
Hassan Wafai

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Chapter 7 Individuals, Groups & Organizations
Groups & Teamwork
What is a Group?
Group: 2 or more people interacting independently to achieve a common goal
Interaction is the most basic aspect of group
All groups have goals which can range from having fun to marketing a new product to achieving world
Groups serve as social mechanisms by which we acquire many beliefs, values & attitudes & behaviours
Group membership is also important b/c 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
Most common consists of a manager and the employees who report to that manager
Also include task forces & committees (task forces = temporary & committees = permanent)
Informal Groups: Groups that emerge naturally in response to the common interests of organizational members
They are seldom sanctioned by the organization & membership often cuts across formal groups
Group Development
Typical Stages of Group Development
Leaders & trainers observe that groups develop through a series of stages over time:
Forming: Group members try to orient themselves by “testing the waters”
Storming: Conflict often emerges as members determine whether they will go along w/ the way the group is
Norming: Members resolve issues and develop social consensus
Performing: The group devotes its energies toward task accomplishment
Adjourning: Some groups, have a definite life span and disperse after achieving their goals. Some groups
disperse when corporate layoffs & downsizing occurs
Punctuated Equilibrium
A model of group development that describes how groups w/ deadlines are affected by their first meetings and
crucial midpoint transitions
Phase 1
Phase 1 begins w/ the 1st meeting & continues until the midpoint in the group’s exercise
1st meeting is critical in setting the agenda for what will happen in the remainder of this phase
Midpoint Transition: Occurs exactly halfway point in time towards the group’s deadline
Transition marks a change in the groups approach
Phase 2: Decisions & approaches adopted at the midpoint get played out in Phase 2. It concludes w/ a final
meeting that reveals a burst of activity and a concern for how outsiders evaluate the product
Take-Away from Model
Prepare carefully for the 1st meeting
As long as people are working, don't look for radical progress during phase 1
Manage midpoint transition carefully
Be sure adequate resources are available to actually execute the Phase 2 Plan
Resist deadline changes
Group Structure & Its Consequences
Group Size
The smallest possible group has 2 people
Most work groups, including task forces and committees usually have 3 -20 members
Size & Satisfaction
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Members of larger groups rather consistently report less satisfaction w/ group members than those in
smaller groups
More members = more viewpoints which increases chances of disagreement & conflict
Many people are inhibited about participating in larger groups
Size & Performance
Depends on the exact task the group needs to achieve
Additive tasks: Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum of performance of individual group
Eg. Building a house depends on speed of individual carpenters
For additive task potential performance of the group increases w/ group size
Disjunctive Tasks: Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the performance of the best group
Potential performance of groups also increased w/ group size b/c probability that the group includes a
superior performer increases
Process Losses: Performance differences that stem from the problems of motivating and coordinating larger
Problems of communication & decision making increased w/ size
Conjunctive Tasks: Tasks in which group performance is limited by the performance of the poorest group
E.g Assembly line worker
Diversity of Group Members
Group diversity has a strong impact on interaction patterns more diverse groups have harder time
communicating effectively & becoming cohesive
May take longer to do their forming, storming & norming
Diverse groups sometimes perform better when task requires cognitive, creativity-demanding tasks and
problem solving rather than more routine work b/c broader array of ideas
Group Norms
Norms: Collective expectations that members of social units have regarding the behaviour of eachother
Codes of conduct
Much normative influence is unconscious & we are often aware of such influence only in special
We also become aware of norms when we encounter ones that seem to conflict with eachother or when we
go into new social situations
Norm Development
Norms serve to provide regularity and predictability to behaviour
This consistency gives us important psychological security and allows us to carry out daily business
w/ minimal disruption
Norms develop to regulate behaviours that are considered at least marginally important to their supporters
People develop attitudes as a function of a related belief and value
In many cases attitudes affect behaviours
Norms are not individual… they are COLLECTIVELY held expectations
Most people comply w/ normal b/c the norm corresponds to privately held attitudes
Some Typical Norms
Some classes of norms that seem to crop up the most in organizations & affect the behaviour of members:
Dress Norms: Social norms frequently dictate the kind of clothing people wear to work
Military orgs. Tend to invoke formal norms
Ties to work
Reward Allocation Norms: There are at least 4 norms that might dictate how rewards, such as pay, promos and
informal favors, could be allocated in organizations
a. Equity: Reward according to inputs, such as effort, performance, & seniority
b. Equality: Reward everyone equally
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