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Chapter 7

MGHB02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Punctuated Equilibrium, Role Conflict, Group Cohesiveness

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Brian Connelly

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MGHB02 – Week 9: Groups & Teams:
Chapter 7: Groups and Teamwork (p. 228-254):
-Group – two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal
oInteraction  suggests who is in the group and who is not; does not need to be face-to-face or verbal
oInterdependence  group members rely to some degree on each other to accomplish goals
- Group membership importance:
oGroups exert a tremendous influence on us  social mechanisms for acquiring beliefs, values, attitudes,
and behaviours
oGroups provide a context in which we are able to exert influence on others
-Formal work groups – groups that are established by orgs to facilitate the achievement of org goals
oDesigned to channel individual effort in an appropriate direction
oTask forces and project teams  temporary groups that meet to achieve particular goals or to solve
particular problems
oCommittees  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 org members
Group Development:
- Typical stages of group development:
oForming  group members try to orient themselves by “testing the waters”
Ambiguous and aware of their dependency on each other
oStorming  conflict often emerges  confrontation & criticism occur as determining direction of group
ISSUE: sorting out roles and responsibilities
oNorming  members resolve the issues provoked during storming  develop social consensus
Compromise is necessary, interdependence is recognized, norms are agreed to  group
oPerforming  devote energies toward task accomplishment
Achievement, creativity, and mutual assistance
oAdjourning  rites and rituals that affirm the group’s previous successful development are common
Members often exhibit emotional support for each other
oStages is a good tool for monitoring and troubleshooting how groups are developing
oNot all groups go through these stages
oProcess applies mainly to new groups that have never met before
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-Punctuated equilibrium model – a model of group development that describes how groups with deadlines are
affected by their first meetings and crucial midpoint transitions
oPhase 1  1st meeting and continues until the midpoint in the group’s existence
Critical in setting the agenda for remainder of this phase
Assumptions, approaches, and precedents that members develop in the 1st meeting dominates
the first half of the group’s life
Makes visible progress toward the goal
oMidpoint transition  almost exactly the halfway point in time toward the group’s deadline
Marks a change in the group’s approach and how the group manages the change is critical for
the group to show progress
May seek outside advice
May consolidate previously acquired info or mark a completely new approach
oPhase 2  decisions and approaches adopted at the midpoint get played out in this phase
Concludes with a final meeting with a burst of activity and a concern for how outsides will
evaluate the product
oAdvice from the punctuated equilibrium model:
1st meeting  prepare carefully, stress motivation and excitement about the project
As long as people are working, do not look for radical progress during Phase 1
Midpoint transition
Evaluate strengths and weaknesses of the ideas generated in Phase 1
Clarify any questions with whoever is commissioning your work
Recognize that a fundamental change in approach must occur here for progress to occur
Group coach should focus on the strategy to be used in Phase 2
Be sure that adequate resources are available to actually execute the Phase 2 plan
Resist deadline changes  could damage midpoint transition
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Group Structure and its Consequences:
-Group structure  characteristics of the stable social org of a group  the way a group is “put together”
oCharacteristics: norms, roles, status, and cohesiveness
- Group size:
oSize and satisfaction
Larger groups report less satisfaction with group membership than those in smaller groups
As opportunities for friendship increase, the chance to work on an develop these opportunities
might decrease
More different viewpoints  prompt conflict & dissension  work against member satisfaction
As group size increases, time available for verbal participation by each member decreases
Individual members identify less easily with success/accomplishments of larger groups
oSize and performance
Depend on the exact task that the group needs to accomplish and on how we define good
Additive tasks – tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum of the performance
of individual group members
Potential performance of the group increases with group size
Disjunctive tasks – tasks in which group performance is dependent on the performance of the
best group member
Potential performance of groups also increases with group size b/c the probability that
the group includes a superior performer is greater
Process losses – group performance difficulties stemming from the problems of motivation and
coordinating larger groups
As groups performing tasks get bigger, they tend to suffer from process losses
Problems of communication and decision making increase with size
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find more resources at oneclass.com
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