Organizational Psychology (PSYC 3080) Chapter Summaries [7-9, 13, 16]
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Chapter 7 Groups and Teamwork
WHAT IS A GROUP?
Group: two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal
-Interaction most basic aspect of a group
-Does not need to be face-to-face or verbal
-Independence: members rely to some degree on each other to accomplish goals
-Group memberships are important because they act as social mechanisms and provide 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 organization goals.
Designed to channel individual effort. Most common formal group consists of managers and employees who report to
the manager. This also includes task forces and project teams and committees
Informal work groups: groups that emerge naturally in response to the common interests of organization members
Typical stages of group development
Forming: orient themselves, “test the waters”, find out what others are like
Storming: Conflict emerges, confrontation
Norming: resolve storming, develop social consensus, cohesion
Performing: energies devoted towards task accomplishment
Adjourning: groups disperse, emotional support is exhibited
Punctuated Equilibrium: a model of group development that describes how groups with deadlines are affected by their
first meetings and crucial midpoint transitions
Phase 1: first meeting-midpoint. Precedents established in first meeting. Little visible progress towards goal
Midpoint Transition: halfway through group deadline. Marks critical change in groups approach
Phase 2: decisions adopted at midpoint get played out. Concludes with final meeting
GROUP STRUCTURE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
Usually between 3-20 members
Larger groups report less satisfaction in-group satisfaction
Additive tasks: tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum of the performance of individual
group members. For additive tasks, the more the merrier. i.e. building a house
Disjunctive tasks: tasks in which group performance is dependent on the performance of the best group
Process losses: group performance difficulties stemming from the problems of motivating and
coordinating larger groups. They increase with group size for additive and disjunctive tasks. Average performance
decreases as size gets bigger.
Conjunctive tasks: tasks in which group performance is limited by the performance of the poorest group
Diversity of Group Membership
-More diverse groups have a harder time communicating effectively and establishing cohesion
Group Norms : collective expectations that members of social units have regarding the behavior of each other
-Why do norms develop? Provide regularity and predictability to behavior. They save time and prevent social
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-Typical norms are dress norms, reward allocation norms (equity, equality, reciprocity, social responsibility),
and performance norms (ability, motivation, technology)
Roles: positions in a group that have a set of expected behavior attached to them. Like “packages” of norms.
Two types: assigned roles and emergent roles
Role ambiguity: exists when the goals of ones job or the methods of performing it are unclear
Organizational factors: ambiguous
The role sender: might have unclear expectations of focal person
The focal person: ambiguity decreases as length of time in job role increases
Role Conflict: a condition being faces with incompatible role expectations
Intrasender role conflict: a single role sender provides incompatible role expectations to a role occupant
Intersender role conflict: two or more role senders provide a role occupant with incompatible expectations
Interrole conflict: several roles held by a role occupant involve incompatible expectations
Person-role conflict: role demands call for behavior that is incompatible with the personality or skills of a role
Status: the rank, social position, or prestige accorded to group members. The group’s evaluation of a member.
Formal status system: represents managers attempt to publicly identify those people who have higher status
than others. Implemented by application of status systems that are tangible indicators of status (i.e. titles, working
relationships, pay packages, etc.)
Informal status systems: detecting information status systems in organizations
Consequences of status differences: people like to communicate with people of their own status, people
respect status, higher status members have more influence.
The degree to which a group is attractive to its members. It is relative rather than cohesive.
Factors Influences Cohesiveness
Threat and Competition: external threat to group increases group cohesion because they feel the need to
improve communication, but under extreme threat the cohesiveness serves little purpose
Success: group becomes more attractive when members have successfully accomplished an important goal
but cohesiveness will decrease after failure
Size: bigger groups have more difficulty with cohesion
Toughness of Initiation: groups that are tough
Consequences of Cohesiveness: more participation in group activities, more conformity, more success
In highly cohesive groups, individual productivity tends to be similar to other members, and highly cohesive
groups tend to be more or less productive than less cohesive groups, depending on norms, etc.
The tendency to withhold physical or intellectual effort when performing a group task (doing less work in a group
because you know other people will pick up your slack)
Ways to counteract social loafing: make individual performance more visible (keep the group small), make
sure that the work is interesting, increase feelings of indispensability (each member has unique inputs), increase
performance feedback, reward group performance
Collective efficacy: shared beliefs that a team can successfully perform a given task
DESIGNING EFFECTIVE WORK TEAMS
-Hackman: a group is effective when its physical or intellectual output is acceptable to management and to the other
parts of the organization that use this output, group member needs are satisfied rather than frustrated by the group and
the group experience enables members to continue to work together.
-Group effectiveness occurs when high effort is directed toward the group’s task, when great knowledge and skill are
directed toward the task, and when the group adopts sensible strategies for accomplishing its goals
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Self-Managed Work Teams
Work groups that have the opportunity to do challenging work under reduced supervision. Tasks for these teams
include complex challenges and if not results in social loafing.
Composition of these groups involve:
Stability (considerable interaction, high cohesiveness, understanding, trust, same members the entire time
Size: small size is better to reduce coordination and social loafing problems
Expertise: the whole group should be knowledgeable
Diversity: similar but bring variety of skills
-Letting group choose their members maintains cohesion, and “fit” is also important
Supporting Self Managed Teams: training (technical training, social skills, language skills, business training), rewards
(tied to team accomplishment rather than individual), management (observe, evaluate, and reinforce their own task
Cross Functional Teams
Work groups that bring people with different functional specialties together to better invent, design, or deliver a
product or service. These types of teams require formal leadership when a task becomes too complex, best known for
product development success
Effectiveness determined by: composition (incorporating all relevant specialties), superordinate goals (attractive
outcomes that can only be achieved by collaboration), physical proximity, autonomy, rules and procedures, leadership
-These principles ensure that team members share the same mental models: when team members share identical
information about how they should interact and what their task is
Work groups that use technology to communicate and collaborate across time, space, and organizational boundaries.
They are often cross functional but occur across many different countries.
Advantages: around the clock work, reduced travel time and cost, larger talent pool
Challenges: trust, miscommunication, isolation (no social life with each other), high costs (technology), management
issues (measuring performance)
Lessons concerning virtual teams: recruitment (must be able to handle the independence, high interpersonal skill),
training, personalization (encourage team to get to know each other), goals and ground rules (clearly defined rules)
Chapter 8: Organizational Behaviour
Social Influence in Organizations
Information dependence: the reliance on others for information about how to think, feel, and act
-Social information processing theory (explains ID): members in a group rely on each other to shape their own
expectations and attitudes in a situation or on a subject. The individual behaviour is thus shaped and
influenced by the group’s beliefs.
Effect dependence: reliance on others due to their capacity to provide rewards and punishment
1. Group has a vested interest in the actions and beliefs of its members because they can impede the group’s
ability to obtain their goals
2. Members desire the approval of the group
Multitude of formal and informal rewards and punishments to ensure the compliancy of the individuals.
Social conformity: why social norms are supported (Motives below)
1. Compliance: simplest and most direct form of compliance. The member wishes to gain approval from the
group and deny punishment – effect dependence – member DOES NOT subscribe to the values and beliefs
that underlie the norm being followed
2. Identification: new members model themselves after existing members in order to begin to think and feel like
them – both effect and information dependence, heavier focus on information dependence though
3. Internalization: the complete acceptance of the underlying justifications for a given norm
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