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Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Notes

Management (MGH)
Course Code
Julie Mc Carthy

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Chapter 7 Groups and Teamwork Notes
What is a Group?
x group Æ two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal
x interaction is the most basic aspect of a group—it suggests who is in the group and who is not
x the interaction of group members need not be face to face, and it need not be verbal
x group memberships are vital for 2 reasons—(1) groups exert tremendous influence and are social mechanisms by which people
acquire many beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviours; and (2) groups provide context for 1 person to exert influence on others
x formal work groups Æ groups that are established by organizations to facilitate the achievement of organizational goals
x the most common formal group consists of a manager and the employees who report to that manager
x other types of formal work groups include task forces and committees
x task forces are temporary groups that need to achieve particular goals or to solve particular problems
x committees are usually permanent groups that handle recurrent assignments outside the usual work group structures
x informal groups Æ groups that emerge naturally in response to the common interests of organizational members
Group Development
Typical Stages of Group Development
x each stage presents the members with a series of challenges they must master to achieve the next stage
x these stages are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning
x at forming, members try to orient themselves; situation is ambiguous; and members are aware of their dependency on each other
x at 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
x at norming, members resolve issues that provoked storming, and they develop social consensus; interdependence is recognized,
norms are agreed to, and the group becomes more cohesive; information and opinions flow freely
x at performing, group devotes energies toward task accomplishment; achievement, creativity, and mutual assistance are prominent
x at adjourning, rites and rituals that affirm the group’s previous successful development are common
Punctuated Equilibrium
x punctuated equilibrium model Æ a model of group development that describes how groups with deadlines are affected by their
first meetings and crucial midpoint transitions; 3 phases: phase 1, midpoint transition, phase 2
x phase 1 begins with the first meeting and continues until the midpoint in the group’s existence
x assumptions, approaches, and precedents that members develop in first meeting end up dominating first half of the group’s life
x the midpoint transition occurs at almost exactly the halfway point in time toward the group’s deadline
x transition marks a change in group’s approach, and how the group manages the change is critical for the group to show progress
x the need to move forward is apparent, and the group may seek outside advice
x this transition may consolidate previously acquired information or even mark a completely new approach, but it crystallizes the
group’s activities for Phase 2 just like the first meeting did for Phase 1
x for better or for worse, decisions and approaches adopted at the midpoint get played out in Phase 2
x it concludes with a final meeting that reveals a burst of activity and a concern for how outsiders will evaluate the product
Group Structure and Its Consequences
x group structure refers to the characteristics of the stable social organization of a group—the way a group is “put together
x the most basic structural characteristics along which groups vary are size and member diversity
x other characteristics are expectations that members have about others’ behaviour (norms), agreements about “who does what” in
group (roles), rewards and prestige allocated to various members (status), how attractive group is to its members (cohesiveness)
Group Size
x in practice, most work groups, including task forces and committees, usually have between 3 and 20 members
x members of larger groups consistently report less satisfaction with group membership than those in smaller groups
x additive tasks Æ tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum of the performance of individual group members
x disjunctive tasks Æ tasks in which group performance is dependent on the performance of the best group member
x process losses Æ group performance difficulties stemming from the problems of motivating and coordinating larger groups
x conjunctive tasks Æ tasks in which group performance is limited by the performance of the poorest group member
x for additive and disjunctive tasks, larger groups might perform better but at increasing costs to efficiency of individual members
x by any standard, performance on purely conjunctive tasks should decrease as group size increases
Diversity of Group Membership
x diversity has a strong impact on interaction patterns—more diverse groups have a more difficult time communicating effectively
and becoming cohesive—this means that diverse groups might tend to take longer to do their forming, storming, and norming
x once they do develop, more and less diverse groups are equally cohesive and productive
x however, diverse groups sometimes perform better when the task requires cognitive, creativity-demanding tasks and problem
solving rather than more routine work because members consider a broader array of ideas
Group Norms
x norms Æ collective expectations that members of social units have regarding the behaviour of each other
x as such, they are codes of conduct that specify what individuals ought and ought not to do and standards for evaluation
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