A group consists of two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve a common goal.
Interaction is the most basic aspect of a group, and there’s interdependence between members
Group membership important because 1) groups are the social mechanisms by which we acquire
beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviours, and 2) groups provide a context in which we are able to
exert influence on others.
Formal work groups are groups that organizations establish to facilitate the achievement of organizational
intentionally designed to channel individual effort in an appropriate direction.
Most common formal group consists of a manager and the employees who report to that manager.
Other types of formal work groups include task forces, project teams, and committees.
Task forces and project teams 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 are groups that emerge naturally in response to the common interests of organizational
Typical Stages of Group Development:
Many groups develop through a series of stages over time. Each stage presents the members with a series
of challenges they must master to achieve the next stage.
Forming: group members try to orient themselves by “ testing the waters.” Storming: conflict often emerges. Confrontation and criticism occur. Conflicts tend to happen earlier than
later in group development
Norming: members resolve issues that provoked the storming and develop social consensus. Compromise,
interdependence, norms, and cohesion are developed.
Performing: group devotes its energies toward task accomplishment.
Adjourning: for groups that have a finite lifespan or are forced to downsize/disperse, rites and rituals that
affirm the group’s previous success are celebrated.
*these stages mostly applies to new groups that have never met before
*some organizational settings are so structured that storming and norming are unnecessary for even
strangers to coalesce into a team.
Punctuated Equilibrium Model:
When groups have a specific deadline by which to complete some problem- solving task (Connie Gersick)
begins with the first meeting and continues until the midpoint in the group’s existence.
setting the agenda, develop assumptions, approaches, and precedents that will dominate the first
half of the group’s life.
Although it gathers information and holds meetings, the group makes little visible progress
Occurs at almost exactly the halfway point in time toward the group’s deadline.
Marks changes in group’s approach. How group manages the change is critical for progress.
This transition may consolidate previously acquired info or even mark a completely new approach,
but it crystallizes the group’s activities for Phase 2 Phase 2
Decisions and approaches adopted at the midpoint get played out.
Concludes with a final meeting that reveals a burst of activity and a concern for how outsiders will
evaluate the product.
Advices offered by this Model:
Prepare carefully for first meeting
Don’t look for radical progress in phase I
Manage midpt transitions carefully. Focus on strategy to be used in Phase II
Have adequate resources for Phase II
Resist deadline changes
Group Structure and Its Consequences:
Group structure: the characteristics of the stable social organization of a group.
Most basic structural characteristics along which groups vary are size and member diversity.
Others are norms, roles, status, and cohesiveness
smallest group = 2 ppl. In practice, most work groups: 3-20 ppl
in theory, the more members = more satisfaction. In practice, members of larger groups = more
Additive tasks: can predict potential performance by adding performances of individual member.
Performance increase with group size
Disjunctive tasks: potential performance of group depends on performance of its best member.
Performance also increases with group size
Conjunctive tasks: potential performance is limited by its poorest performer
But, larger groups =more process losses: performance difficulties that stem from problems of
motivating and coordinating larger groups
Actual performance= potential performance – process losses
Diversity of group membership:
More diverse = take longer to do forming, storming, and norming.
Once they do develop, equally cohesive and productive Any negative effects of “surface diversity” (eg. Age, gender, race) will wear off over time.
“deep diversity”, eg. Attitudes toward work, can damage cohesiveness.
Norms: collective expectations regarding behavior
Most normative influence is unconscious
Norm development: provide regularity and predictability to behavior psychological security
How do norms develop: shared attitudes as a function of beliefs and values translates behavior
Types of norms:
Reward allocation norms:
Equity: reward according to inputs (efforts, performance, seniority)
Equality: reward everyone equally
Reciprocity: reward ppl the way they reward you
Social responsibility: reward those who truly need the reward
Performance norms: performance standards, reasons for absence etc
Positions in a group that have a set of expectations attached (packages of norms)
Assigned roles: prescribed by organizations
Emergent roles: developed naturally to meet social emotional needs of group
Role ambiguity exists when goals or method is unclear
Exists when individuals are faced with incompatible role expectations
Intrasender role conflict: a single role sender provides incompatible role expectations to the role
occupant (especially likely to provoke ambiguity)
Intersender role conflict: 2+ senders differ in expectations
Interrole conflict: expectations inherent in several roles are incompatible Person-role conflict: when role is incompatible with personality or skills of role occupant
(Whistle- blowers often signal this)
Rank, social position, or prestige accorded to group members
Formal status system: management attempt to publicly identify people’s status with applications
of status symbols (titles, pay, etc). This motivates members to aspire to higher status and reinforce