Chapter 7- Groups and Teamwork
WHAT IS A GROUP?
Group: 2 or more ppl interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal.
Group membership is important for 2 reasons:
- Exerts tremendous influence on us; social mechanisms by which we acquire many
beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviours.
- 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 form consists of a manager and the employees who report to that manager
- Other types include task forces and committees.
- Task forces: temporary groups that meet to achieve particular goals or to solve particular
- Committees: 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
- Can either help or hurt an organization, depending on their norms for behaviour.
Typical Stages of Group Development
Forming- group members orient themselves (what are we doing here? Purpose? What are
Storming-conflict often emerges. Confrontation and criticism. Sorting out roles and
responsibilities becomes issue. Problems are more likely to happen earlier, rather than later in
Norming- Resolve issues that caused storming, develop social consensus. Compromise is
necessary. Interdependence is recognized, norms are agreed to, and group becomes more
cohesive. Info and opinions flow freely.
Performing-task accomplishment. Achievement, creativity and mutual assistance are
Adjourning-some groups disperse after achieving goal, or when layoffs and downsizing occur.
Rites and rituals such as ceremonies and parties occur. Emotional support for each other.
* This process applies mainly to new groups that never met before. Well- acquainted task
forces and committees can short-circuit these stages when they have a new problem to work
Punctuated Equilibrium: a model of group development that describes how groups with
deadlines are stfected by their 1 meetings and crucial midpoint transitions. (Connie Gersick)
- stresses a 1 meeting, a period of little apparent progress, a critical midpoint transition, and
a phase of goal-directed activity. st
Phase 1: begins with 1 meeting until midpoint in group’s existence. Crucial in setting
Midpoint Transition: occurs halfway between deadline. Marks a change in group’s approach.
Need to move forward is apparent, may seek outside advice. May consolidate previously
Phase 2: decisions and approaches at midpt get played out here. Concludes with a final
meeting that reveals a burst of activity and a concern for how outsides will evaluate the
*advice offered: do not look for radical progress in phase 1. Stress motivation and
excitement. Resist deadline changes. Make resources available.
GROUP STRUCTURE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
Group structure refers to characteristics of stable social org. of a group. (way a group is put
Size and Satisfaction- larger groups report less satisfaction. As group size increases, time
available for verbal participation by each member decreases. Less easily to identify with
Size and Performance- depends on task and how we define good performance.
- Additive tasks: tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum of the
performance of inidivudal group members. Potential performance and process losses of
the group increases with group size. (ex. Building house)
- Disjunctive tasks: tasks in which group performance is dependent on the performance
of the best group member. Potential performance and process losses increases with
group size because prob that the group includes a superior performer is greater.
- Process losses: group performance difficulties stemming from the problems of
motivating and coordinating larger groups. [actual performance= potential
performance- process losses]
- Conjuctive tasks: tasks in which group performance is limited by the performance of the
poorest group member. Performance decreases a group size increases. (ex. Assembly
Diversity of Group Membership
- Diverse groups will generally develop at a slower pace and be less cohesive than
homogeneous groups. While the effects of surface- level