Chapter 7 Groups and Teamwork
1. What is a Group?
Group: Two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal.
----The interaction need not be face to face, and it need not be verbal.
----Interdependence: group members rely to each other to accomplish goals.
----All groups have one or more goals.
Group memberships: group exerts influence on us (social mechanism); 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 formal group: a manager and the employees who report to the manager.
----Task forces: temporary groups that meet to achieve particular goals
----Committees: permanent groups that handle recurrent assignments outside the usual work
Informal groups: Groups that emerge naturally in response to the common interests of
2. Group Development:
Typical stages of group development:
----Forming: The situation is ambiguous, members are aware of their dependency on each other.
----Storming: Problems happen earlier, then sorting out roles and responsibilities.
----Norming: Develop social consensus, compromising. Interdependence and norms are
----Performing: The group devotes its energies toward task accomplishment.
----Adjourning: Members exhibit emotional support for each other.
Punctuated equilibrium model: A model of group development that describes how groups
with deadlines are affected by their first meetings and crucial midpoint transitions.
Phase1: begins with the first meeting and continue until the midpoint in the group’s existence.
----The first meeting is critical in setting the agenda. Assumptions, approaches, and precedents
that members develop in the first meeting end up dominating the first half of the group’s life.
Midpoint Transition: it occurs exactly the halfway point in time toward the group’s deadline.
The transition marks a change in the group’s approach, and how the group manages it is
critical for the group to show progress. The group may seek outside advice.
Phase2: decisions and approaches adopted at the midpoint get played out in Phase 2. It
concludes with a final meeting that reveals a burst of activity and a concern for how outsiders
will evaluate the product.
----Prepare carefully for the first meeting. Stress motivation and excitement.
----As long as people are working, do not look for radical progress during Phase 1.
----Manage the midpoint transition carefully. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the ideas
that people generated in Phase 1. Recognize a strategy to be used in Phase 2.
----Ensure adequate resources are available to execute the Phase 2 plan.
----Resist deadline changes. These could damage the midpoint transition.
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
group: two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal. ---the interaction need not be face to face, and it need not be verbal. ---interdependence: group members rely to each other to accomplish goals. Group memberships: group exerts influence on us (social mechanism); 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 formal group: a manager and the employees who report to the manager. (hierarchy) ---task forces: temporary groups that meet to achieve particular goals. ---committees: permanent groups that handle recurrent assignments outside the usual work group structure. informal groups: groups that emerge naturally in response to the common interests of organizational members: group development: ---forming: the situation is ambiguous, members are aware of their dependency on each other. ---storming: problems happen earlier, then sorting out roles and responsibilities. ---performing: the group devotes its energies toward task accomplishment.