B. Diversity of Group Membership
Research suggests that heterogeneous or diverse groups have a more difficult time communicating and becoming cohesive, so
group development takes longer. Once developed, diversity has little impact on performance and sometimes performance is
better on tasks that require creativity and problem solving.
C. Group Norms
Social norms are collective expectations that members of social units have regarding the behaviour of each other. They are
codes of conduct that specify what individuals should do and not do and standards against which we evaluate the
appropriateness of behaviour. All of us are influenced by norms which regulate many of our daily activities.
Norm Development. Norms develop to provide regularity and predictability to behaviour. They develop to regulate
behaviours that are considered at least marginally important. Individuals comply with these norms because the norms often
correspond to privately held attitudes.
Some Typical Norms. There are different types of norms in organizations which affect the behaviour of members. Norms that
seem to crop up in most organizations and affect the behaviour of members include the following:
Dress norms. Social norms frequently dictate the kind of clothing people wear to work.
Reward allocation norms. There are at least four norms that might dictate how rewards, such as pay, promotions, and informal
favours, could be allocated in organizations: equity, equality, reciprocity, and social responsibility.
Performance norms. The performance of organizational members might be as much a function of social expectations as it is of
inherent ability, personal motivation, or technology.
Roles are positions in a group that have a set of expected behaviours attached to them. Roles represent “packages” of norms
that apply to particular group members. In organizations, there are two basic kinds of roles. First, there are designated or
assigned roles that are formally prescribed by an organization to facilitate task achievement. Assigned roles indicate "who
does what." and "who can tell others what to do." In addition, there are also emergent roles which are roles that develop
naturally to meet the social-emotional needs of group members or to assist in formal job accomplishment.
Role Ambiguity. Role ambiguity exists when the goals of one's job or the methods of performing it are unclear. Ambiguity
might be characterized by confusion about how performance is evaluated, how good performance can be achieved, or what the
limits of one’s authority and responsibility are. A variety of elements can lead to ambiguity.
Organizational factors. Some roles seem inherently ambiguous because of their function in the organization.
The role sender. Role senders might have unclear expectations of a focal person.
The focal person. Even role expectations that are clearly developed and sent might not be fully digested by the focal person.
The practical consequences of role ambiguity include job stress, dissatisfaction, reduced organizational commitment, and
intentions to quit. Managers can reduce role ambiguity by providing clear performance expectations and performance
Role Conflict. Role conflict exists when an individual is faced with incompatible role expectations. There are several different
types of role conflict.
Intrasender role conflict occurs when a single role sender provides incompatible role expectations to a role occupant.
Intersender role conflict occurs when two or more role senders provide a role occupant with incompatible expectations.
Interrole conflict occurs when several roles held by a role occupant involve incompatible expectations.
Person-role conflict occurs when role demands call for behaviour that is incompatible with the personality or skills of the
The most consistent consequences of role conflict are job dissatisfaction, stress reactions, lowered organizational
commitment, and turnover intentions. Managers can help prevent role conflict by avoiding self-contradictory messages,
conferring with other role senders, being sensitive to multiple role demands, and fitting the right person to the right role.
Status is the rank, social position, or prestige accorded to group members. It represents the group’s evaluation of a member.
Organizations have both formal and informal status systems.
Formal Status Systems. The formal status system represents management’s attempt to publicly identify those people who have
higher status than others. This is accomplished by the application of status symbols. Status symbols are tangible indicators of
status. Status symbols might include titles, particular working relationships, the pay package, the work schedule, and the
physical working environment. The criteria for achieving formal organizational status includes seniority in one’s work group
and one’s assigned role in the organization.
Informal Status Systems. Informal status symbols also exist in organizations and can operate just as effectively. Sometimes,
job performance is a basis for the acquisition of informal status. So a good hitter or a good performer will be accorded status,
although status symbols might be lacking.