Chapter 7: Groups and Teamwork
! Group: Two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal.
! Group memberships are very important because they exert tremendous influence on us
and they 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. Managers and his/her subordinate are the most
common work group. Other types include task forces and committees. Task forces are
temporary groups that meet to achieve particular goals or to solve particular problems.
Committees are 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 organizational members.
! Typical Stages of Group Development
! Forming: Group members try to orient themselves by “testing the waters”.
Purpose, members personality, why/what are we doing here? The situation is often
ambiguous, and members are aware of their dependency on each other.
! Storming: At this second stage, 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 the issue here.
Problems are more likely to happen earlier, rather than later, in group development.
! Norming: At this stage, members resolve the issues that provoked the storming,
and they develop social consensus. Compromise is often necessary. Interdependence is
recognized, norms are agreed to, and the group becomes more cohesive. Information
and opinions flow freely.
! Performing: With its social structure sorted out, the group devotes its energies
toward task accomplishment. Achievement, creativity, and mutual assistance are
prominent themes of this stage.
! Adjourning: Groups disperse during this stage. Some has a specific life span
and some disband due to corporate layoffs. Rites and rituals that affirm the group’s
successful development are common. Members often exhibit emotional support for
each other. Members often exhibit emotional support for each other.
! Not all groups go through these stages of development. Well-acquainted task forces
and committees can bypass these stages when they have a new problem to work out.
Also, some organizational settings are so structured that storming and norming are
unnecessary for even strangers to join together in a team. Eg. Airline cabin crews.
! Punctuated Equilibrium Model: A model of group development that describes how
groups with deadlines are affected by their first meetings and crucial midpoint
transitions and a rush to task completion.
! Phase 1: Begins with first meeting and continues until midpoint of group
existence. Crucial for setting the agenda for what will happen in the remainder of
the phase. Assumptions, approaches, and precedents that members develop in the
first meeting end up dominating the first half of the group’s life. Although it gathers
information and holds meetings, the group makes little visible progress toward the
! Midpoint Transition: Occurs at the halfway point towards the deadline. Marks
a change in the group’s approach, and how the group manages it is critical for the
group to show progress. The group must move forward and may seek outside
advice. The 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.
! Phase 2: 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.
! Advice Given By Punctuated Equilibrium Model: Prepare carefully for first
meeting, do not look for radical progress during Phase 1, Manage the midpoint
transition carefully, Ensure adequate resources for Phase 2, Resist deadline
Group Structure and its Consequences
! Group structure: refers to the characteristics of the stable social organization of a
group – the way a group is “put together”. They vary by size and member diversity,
norms, roles, status, and cohesiveness.
! Group Size: Smallest consists of at least two people but most work groups usually
have between 3 and 20 people.
! Size and satisfaction: Members of larger groups consistently report less
satisfaction with group members than smaller groups. Large amounts of time and
energy is needed to develop friendships with team members, teams have to incorporate
more viewpoints, experience conflict and dissension. Time available for Individual
participation also decreases, and people become inhibited and can less identify with
successes of a larger group.
! Size and performance: It depends on the task
! Additive Tasks: Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum
of the performance of individual group members. Increases with group size.
Eg. House building
! Disjunctive tasks: Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the
performance of the best group member. Increases with group size.
! Process losses: Group performance difficulties stemming from the problems
of motivating and coordinating larger groups.
! Conjunctive tasks: Tasks in which group performance is limited by the
performance of the poorest group member.
group: two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal. group memberships are very important because they exert tremendous influence on us and they 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. Managers and his/her subordinate are the most common work group. Task forces are temporary groups that meet to achieve particular goals or to solve particular problems. Committees are 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 organizational members. forming: group members try to orient themselves by testing the waters . The situation is often ambiguous, and members are aware of their dependency on each other. storming: at this second stage, conflict often emerges.