3. Group Structure and Its Consequences
Group structure: the characteristics of the stable social organization of a group (the way a group is
Size and satisfaction: larger groups report less satisfaction with group membership.
Size and performance: depend on the exact task that the group needs to accomplish and on how we
define good performance.
Additive tasks: group performance is dependent on the sum of the performance of individual
group members. Hence, the potential performance of the group increases with group size.
Disjunctive tasks: group performance is dependent on the performance of the best group
member. The potential performance of the group increases with group size.
----Potential performance and process losses increase with group size
----Actual performance increases with size up to a point and then falls off
----The average performance of group members decreases as size gets bigger.
Process losses: performance difficulties that stem from the problems of motivating and
coordinating larger groups. Thus, actual performance = potential performance – process losses.
Conjunctive tasks: the performance of the group is limited by its poorest performer. Both the
potential and actual performance would decrease as group size increases. (The probability of
including a weak link in the group goes up)
Diversity of Group Membership:
Group diversity has a strong impact on interaction patterns – more diverse groups have a more
difficult time communicating effectively and becoming cohesive.
----longer time in forming, storming and norming
----once they do develop, more and less diverse groups are equally cohesive and productive
Norms: Collective expectations that members of social units have regarding the behavior of each
----Norm development: the consistency of behavior provides important psychological security and
permits us to carry out our daily business with minimal disruption.
----Shared elated beliefs and values form the basis for norms. (Norms and collectively held
----Some typical norms: dress norms, reward allocation norms (equity, equality, reciprocity, social
responsibility), performance norms.
Roles: Positions in a group that have a set of expected behaviors attached to them.
----Role represent “packages” of norms apply to all group members, they engage in similar
behaviors. (Designated, assigned roles, emergent roles)
Role ambiguity: Lack of clarity of job goals or methods.
Elements that lead to ambiguity:
----Organizational factors: some roles seem inherently ambiguous because of their function in the
----The role sender: Role sender might have unclear expectations of a focal person.
----The focal person: might not be fully digested by the focal person.
The consequence of role ambiguity: job stress, dissatisfaction, reduced organizational