Organizational Behaviour - Chapter 7.docx

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Management (MGH)
Pascal Riendeau

Organizational Behaviour – Chapter 7 Groups and Teamwork What is a Group? • Group – Two or more people interacting independently to achieve a common goal • Interaction suggests who’s in the group and who’s not • Group memberships are important for two reasons: they exert a tremendous amount of influence on us and 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 • The most common formal group consists of a manager and the employees • Other types include: task forces, project teams, and committees • Task forces and projects teams are temporary groups that meet to achieve particular goals or solve particular problems • Committees are usually permanent groups that handle recurrent assignments outside the usual work group structures Eg. Committee on work-family balance • Informal Groups – Groups that emerge naturally in response to the common interests of organizational members; can either help or hurt the organization Group Development Stages of Group Development • Typical stages of group development: Forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning • Forming – Group members try to orient themselves by “testing the waters”. What are we doing here and what is our purpose? • Storming – Conflict often emerges. Confrontation and criticism occur as members determine whether they will go along with the way the group is developing. Sorting out roles and responsibilities is often at issue here. • Norming – Resolving the issues that provoked the storming and members develop consensus. Compromise is often necessary and interdependence is recognized. • Performing – With the social structure sorted out, the group devotes its energies toward task accomplishment. Achievement, creativity, and mutual assistance are the main themes of this stage. • Adjourning – Some groups have a definite lifespan and disperse after achieving their goals. Some also disperse when corporate layoffs and downsizing occur. Ceremonies and parties that affirm the group’s previous successful development are common. • The stages model is a good tool for monitoring and troubleshooting how groups are developing • Some organizational settings are so structure that storming and norming are unnecessary for even strangers to coalesce into a team Punctuated Equilibrium • Punctuated Equilibrium Model – A model of group development that describes how groups with deadlines are affected by their first meetings and crucial midpoint transitions. There’s a critical first meeting, a midpoint change in group activity, and a rush to task completion. • Phase 1: Begins with the first meeting and continues until the midpoint in the group’s existence. Sets the agenda for what will happen in the remainder of this phase. The group makes little visible progress towards the goal. • Midpoint Transition: Occurs at 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 this phase. It concludes with a final meeting that reveals a burst of activity and a concern for how outsiders will evaluate the product. • Advice for completing this model: do not look for radical progress in Phase 1, be sure adequate resources are available to actually execute the Phase 2 plan and resist deadline changes, which could damage the midpoint transition Group Structure and its Consequences • The most basic characteristics along which groups vary are size and member diversity • Other characteristics include the expectations that members have about each other’s behaviours (norms), roles, status, and cohesiveness • Most work groups have a size between 3-20 members • Size and satisfaction: Members of larger groups report less satisfaction with group membership than those who find themselves in smaller groups • Larger groups means more friendships but less time for them, more viewpoints which may mean more conflict, lower participation, and identifying less easily with the success and accomplishments of the group • Size and performance: Additive, Disjunctive, and Conjunctive • Additive Tasks – Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum of the performance of individual group members Eg. Building a house • Disjunctive Tasks – Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the performance of the best group member Eg. Research team looking for a single error in a program • As groups performing tasks get bigger, they tend to suffer from process losses • Process Losses – Performance difficulties that stem 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 Eg. Assembly line operation • Group diversity has a strong impact on interaction patterns – more diverse groups have a more difficult time communicating effectively and becoming cohesive • They may take longer to do their forming, storming and norming, but diverse groups sometimes perform better on certain tasks • Any negative effects of “surface diversity” in age, gender, or race wear off over time • However “deep diversity” in attitudes toward work or how to accomplish a goal can badly damage cohesiveness Group Norms • Norms – Collective expectations that members of social units have regarding the behaviour of each other • Codes of conduct that specify what individuals ought and ought not to do • The most important function that norms serve is to provide regularity and predictability to behaviour, which provides us with security • Norms develop to regulate behaviours that are considered at least marginally important to their supporters Eg. Punctuality • When members of a group share related beliefs and values, we can expect them to share consequent attitudes, which then form the basis for norms • Norms are collectively held expectations depending on 2 or more people for existence • Typical norms: Dress norms, reward allocation norms, performance norms • Dress norms include: military organizations or casual dress policies for the office • Reward allocation norms include: equity (reward according to inputs), equality, reciprocity (reward people the way they reward you), and social responsibility (reward those who truly need it) • Performance norms might be a function of social expectations (high performance) Roles • Roles – Positions in a group that have a set of expected behaviours attached to them • The development of roles indicates that group members may be required to act differently from one another • There are two basic kinds of roles: Assigned roles and emergent roles • Designated/Assigned roles are formally prescribed by an organization as a means of dividing labour and responsibility to facilitate task achievement • Emergent roles develop naturally to meet the social-emotional needs of group members or to assist in formal job accomplishment Eg. Class clown, Old pro • Role Ambiguity – Lack of clarity of job goals/methods • Certain organizational factors lead role senders (such as managers) to develop role expectations and “send” roles to focal people (such as employees); The focal person “receives” the role and then tries to engage in behaviour to fulfill the role • Organizational factors: Eg. Middle management fail to provide the “big picture” that upper management conveys • Role sender: May have unclear expectations of a focal person, vague performance reviews, or inconsistent feedback and discipline • Focal person: Role expectations may not be fully digested by the focal person • Consequences of role ambiguity include: job stress, dissatisfaction, reduced original commitment, lowered performance, and intentions to quit • 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 Eg. Manager telling an employee to take it easy on something that requires immediate attention • Intersender Role Conflict – Two or more role
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