Mos 2181 Chapter 7 - Groups & Team Work .docx

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Management and Organizational Studies
Management and Organizational Studies 2181A/B
Terry Biggs

Chapter 7 – Groups and Teamwork What Is a Group?  Group – two or more people interacting interdependently to achieve common goal  Interaction is the most basic aspect of a group – it suggests who is in the group and who is not  Interaction doesn’t need to be face to face or verbal  Interdependence simply means that group member rely to some degree on each other to accomplish goals  Group memberships are important for 2 reasons 1) Groups exert a tremendous influence on us a. They are the social mechanism by which we acquire many beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviours 2) Groups provide a context in which we are bale to exert influence on others  Formal work Groups – groups that organizations establish to facilitate the achievement of organizational goals o Intentionally designed to channel individual effort in an appropriate direction o Most common formal group consists of a manager and the employees who report to that manager o The hierarchy of most organizations is a series of formal, interlocked work groups o Other types of formal work groups include task forces and committees o Task forces are temporary groups that meet to achieve particular goals or to solve particular problems, such as suggesting productivity improvements o 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 – occurs in all organizations o They are seldom sanctioned by the organization an their membership often cuts across formal groups o They can either help or hurt an organization depending on their norms for behaviour Group Development Typical Stages of Group Development  Many groups develop through a series of stages overtime, each stage presents the members with a series of challenges they must master to achieve the next stage  These stages are: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning  Forming – group members try to orient themselves by “testing the waters” o What are we doing here? What are the others like? What is our purpose o The situation is often ambiguous, and members are aware of their dependency on each other  Storming – conflict often emerges, confrontation and criticism occur as members determine whether they will go along with the way the group is developing o Sorting out roles and responsibilities is often at issue here, problems are more likely to happen earlier, rather than later, in group development  Norming – members resolve the issues that provoked the storming, and they develop social consensus o Compromise is often necessary. o Interdependence is recognized, norms are agreed to, and the group becomes more cohesive o Information and opinions flow freely  Performing – with its social structure sorted out, the group devotes its energies toward task accomplishment o Achievement, creativity, and mutual assistance are prominent themes of this stage Chapter 7 – Groups and Teamwork  Adjourning – some groups, such as task forces and design project teams, have a definite life span and disperse after achieving their goals o Some groups disperse when corporate layoffs and downsizing occur o At this stage, rites and rituals that affirm the group’s previous successful development are common o Often exhibit emotional support for each other o Good tool for monitoring and troubleshooting how groups are developing o Not all groups go through these stages of development o The process applies mainly to new groups that have never met before o Well-acquainted task forces and committees can short-circuit these stages when they have a new problem to work out o Some organizational settings are so structured that storming and norming are unnecessary for even strangers to coalesce into a team Punctuated Equilibrium  Punctuated equilibrium model – A model of group development that describes how groups with deadlines are affected by their first meetings and crucial midpoint transitions  Equilibrium means stability and the research revealed apparent stretches of group stability punctuated by a critical first meeting, a midpoint change in group activity, and a rush to task completion  Gersick studied students groups doing class projects  Phase 1 o Begins with the first meeting and continues until the midpoint in the group’s existence o First meeting is critical in setting the agenda for what will happen in the remainder of this phase o Assumptions, approaches, and precedents that members develop in the first meeting end up dominating the first half of the group’s life o Although it gathers information and holds meetings, the group makes little visible progress toward the goal  Midpoint Transition o Occurs at almost exactly the halfway point in time toward the group’s deadline o The transition marks a change in the group’s approach, and how the group manages the change is critical for the group to show progress o The need to move forward is apparent, and the group may seek outside advice o This 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 o Decisions (good or bad) and approaches adopted at the midpoint get played out in Phase 2 o It concludes with a final meeting that reveals a burst of activity and a concern for how outsiders will evaluate the product  Pepare carefully for the first meting. What is decided here will strongly determine what happens in the rest of Phase 1. If you are the coach or advisor of the group, stress motivation and excitement about the project  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 generate in phase 1 o Clarify any questions with whoever is commissioning your work o Recognize that a fundamental change in approach must occur here for progress to occur o Essential issues are not likely to “work themselves out” during Phase 2 Chapter 7 – Groups and Teamwork o At this point, a group coach should focus on the strategy to be used in Phase 2 o Be sure that adequate resources are available to actually execute the Phase 2 plan o Resist deadline changes. These could damage the midpoint transition  The concept of punctuated equilibrium applies to groups with deadlines o Such groups might also exhibit some of the stages of development noted earlier, with a new cycle of storming, and norming following the midpoint transition 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”  Other structural characteristics are the expectations that members have about each other’s behaviours (norms), agreements about “who does what” in the group (roles), the rewards and prestige allocated to various group members (status), and how attractive the group is to its members (cohesiveness) Group Size  In practice, most work groups, including task forces and committees, usually have between 3 and 20 members  Size and Satisfaction o In theory, more the merrier makes sense o Members of larger groups rather consistently report less satisfaction with group membership than those who find themselves in smaller groups o For one thing, as opportunities for friendship increase, the chance to work on and develop these opportunities might decrease owing to the sheer time and energy required o In incorporating more members wit different viewpoints, larger groups might prompt conflict and dissension, which work against member satisfaction o As group sizes increase, the time available for verbal participation by each member decreases o Many people are inhibited about participating in the larger groups o In larger groups, individual members identify less easily with the success and accomplishments of the group  Size and Performance o The size depend on the exact task that the group needs to accomplish and on how we define good performance o Some tasks are additive tasks – tasks in which group performance is dependent on the sum of the performance of individual group members  For additive tasks, the potential performance of the group increases with group size o Some tasks are Disjunctive tasks – Tasks in which group performance is dependent on the performance of the best group member  The performance of the team might hinge on its containing at least one bright, attentive, logical-minded individual  The potential performance of groups doing disjunctive tasks also increase with group size because the probability that the group includes a superior performer is greater o The term “potential performance” consistently in the preceding two paragraphs for the following reason:  Process losses are performance difficulties that stem from the problems of motivating and coordinating larger groups  Actual performance = potential performance – process losses o See exhibit 7.3  A) Both potential performance and process losses increase with group size for additive and disjunctive Chapter 7 – Groups and Teamwork  B) Which demonstrates that actual performance increases with size up to a point and then falls off  C) The average performance of group members decreases as size gets bigger o Up to a point, larger groups might perform better as groups, but their individual members tend to be less efficient o Conjunctive tasks are those in which the performance of the group is limited by its poorest performer  Both the potential and actual performance of conjunctive tasks would decrease as group size increases because the probability of including a weak link in the group goes up o For additive and disjunctive tasks, larger groups might perform better up to a point but at increasing costs to the efficiency of individual members o By any standard, performance on purely conjunctive tasks should decrease as group size increase 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  Diverse groups might tend to take longer to do their forming, storming, and norming  Once they do develop, more and less diverse groups are equally cohesive and productive  Diverse groups sometimes perform better when the task requires cognitive, creativity-demanding tasks and problem solving rather than more routine work because members consider a broader array of ideas  Any negative effects of “surface diversity” in age, gender, or race seem to wear off over time  “Deep diversity” in attitudes toward work or how to accomplish a goal can badly damage cohesiveness 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 ought and ought not to do and standards against which we evaluate the appropriateness of behaviour  Much normative influence is unconscious  We become conscious of norms when we encounter ones that seem to conflict with each other or when we enter new social situations  Norm Development o The most important function that norms serve is to provide regularity and predictability to behaviour o This consistency provides important psychological security and permits us to carry out our daily business with minimal disruption o Norms develop to regulate behaviours that are considered least marginally important to their supporters o In general, less deviation is accepted from norms that concern more important behaviours o Individuals develop attitudes as a function of a related belief and value o Their attitude affect their behaviour o When the members of a group share related beliefs and values, we can expect them to share consequent attitudes. These shared attitudes then form the basis for norms o It really does not make sense to talk about “my personal norm” o Norms are collectively held expectations, depending on two or more people for their existence o Much compliance occurs simply because the norm corresponds to privately held attitudes o Even when norms support trivial social niceties they often save time and prevent social confusion Chapter 7 – Groups and Teamwork o Interesting cases are individuals who comply with norms that go against their privately held attitudes and opinions o Groups have an extraordinary range of rewards and punishments available to induce conformity to norms  Some Typical Norms o Dress norms – social norms frequently dictate the kind of clothing people wear to work o Reward allocation Norms – four norms that might dictate how rewards, such as pay, promotions, and informal favours, could be allocated in organizations a. Equity – reward according to inputs, such as effort, performance, or seniority b. Equality – reward everyone equally c. Reciprocity – reward people the way they reward you d. Social responsibility – reward those who truly need the reward  Most Western organizations tend to stress allocation according to some combination of equity and equality norms- give employees what they deserve and no favouritism o Performance norms the performance of organizational members might be as much function of social expectations as it is of inherent ability, personal motivation, or technology  Work groups provide their members with potent cues about what an appropriate level of performance is  The official organization norms that managers sent to employees usually favour high performance  Work groups often establish their own informal performance norms, such as those that restrict productivity under a piece-rate pay system Roles  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  Many norms apply to all group members to be sure that they engage in similar behaviours  The development of roles is indicative of the fact that group members might also be required to act differently from one another  In organizations, there are two basic roles: Designated or assigned roles are formally prescribed by an organization as a means of dividing labour and responsibility to facilitate task achievement  Assigned roles indicate “who does what” and “who can tell others what to do”  Assigned roles, we invariably see the development of emergent roles  Emergent roles are roles that develop naturally to meet the social-emotional needs of group members or to assist in formal job accomplishment  Other emergent roles might be assumed by informal leaders or by scapegoats ho are the target of group hostility  Role Ambiguity o Role Ambiguity exists when the goals of one’s job or the methods of performing it are unclear o 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 o Exhibit 7.4 o Certain organizational factors lead role senders to develop role expectations and “send” roles to focal people o The focal person “receives” the role and then tries to engage in behaviour to fulfill the role  Organizational factors – some roles seem inherently ambiguous because of their function in the organization  ex. Middle management  The Role Sender – role senders might have unclear expectations of a focal person. Even when the sender has specific role expectations, they might ineffectively sent to the focal Chapter 7 – Groups and Teamwork person. A weak orientation session, vague performance reviews, or inconsistent feedback and discipline may send ambiguous role messages to employees  The Focal Person – Even role expectations that are clearly developed and sent might not fully digest by the focal person. Especially true when they is new to the role. Ambiguity tends to decrease as length of time in the job role increase o The most frequent outcomes appear to the job stress, dissatisfaction, reduced organizational commitment, lowered performance, and intentions to quit. o Managers can do much to reduce unnecessary role ambiguity by providing clear performance expectations and performance feedback, especially for new employees and those in more intrinsically ambiguous jobs  Role Conflict o Role conflict exists when an individual is faced is faced with incompatible role expectations o Conflict can be distinguished from ambiguity in that role expectations might be clear, but incompatible because they are mutually exclusive, cannot be fulfilled simultaneously, or do not suit the role occupant  Intrasender role conflict occurs when a single role sender provides incompatible role expectations to the role occupant. This form of role conflict seems especially likely to also provoke ambiguity  If two or more role senders differ in their expectations for a role occupant, intersender role conflict can develop. Employees who straddle he boundary between the organization and its clients or customers are especially likely to encounter this form of conflict. Intersender conflict can also stem exclusively from within the organization not  Can stem exclusively from within the organization  Ex. A manager might be told to get the work done and keep troops inline, but from below they might be told to be considerate and friendly  Organizational members necessarily play several roles at one time, especially if we include roles eternal to the organization. Often, the expectations inherent in these several roles are incompatible, and interrole conflict results (Several roles held by a role occupant involve incompatible expectations)  Even when role demands are clear and otherwise congruent, they might be incompatible with the personality or skills of the role occupant – thus, person-role conflict results. ( Role demands call for behaviour that is incompatible with the personality or skills of a role occupant)  The most consistent consequences of role conflict are job dissatisfaction, stress reactions, lowered organizational commitment, and turnover intentions  Managers can help prevent employee role conflict by voiding self-contradictory messages, conferring with other role senders, being sensitive to multiple role demands and fitting the right person to the right role Status  Status – The rank, social position, or prestige accorded to group members  It represents the group’s evaluation of a member  Just what is evaluated depends on the status system in question  Formal Status Systems: o All organizations have both formal and informal status systems o The formal status system represents management’s attempt to publicly identify those people who have higher status than others o This identification is implemented by the application of status symbols that are tangible indicators of status Chapter 7 – Groups and Teamwork  Status symbols may include titles, particular working relationships, pay packages, work schedules, and the physical working environment o One criterion is seniority in one’s work group  Employees who have been with the group longer might acquire the privilege of choosing favourable conditions o More important then seniority is one’s assigned role in the organization – one’s job o Organizations often go to great pains to tie status symbols to assigned roles o Status and the symbols connected to it serve as powerful magnets to induce members to aspire to higher organizational positions (recall Maslow’s need for self-esteem) o Status differentiation reinforces the authority hierarchy in work groups and in the organization as a whole, since people pay attention to high-status individuals  Informal Status Systems: o One can detect informal status systems in organizations o Such systems are not well advertised, and they might lack the conspicuous symbols and systematic support that people usually accord the formal system o They can operate just as effectively o Sometimes, job performance is a basis for the acquisition of informal status o Some managers who perform well early in their careers are identified as “fast trackers” and given special job assignments that correspond to their elevated status o Informal status is linked to factors other than job performance, such as gender or race  Consequences of Status Differences: o Status differences have a paradoxical effect on communication patterns. o Most people like to communicate with others at their own status or higher rather than with people who are below them o The result should be a tendency for communication to move up the status hierarchy.  If the status differences are large, people can be inhibited from communicating upward (communication gets stalled) o Status also affects the amount of various group members’ communication and their influence in group affairs o Higher-status members do more talking and have more influence o There is no guarantee that the highest-status person is the most knowledgeable about the problem at hand  Reducing Status Barriers: o Although status differences can be powerful motivators, their tendency to inhibit the free flow of communication has led many organizations to downplay status differentiation by doing away with questionable status symbols o Some organizations employ phoney or misguided attempts to bridge the status barrier (ex. Casual Friday) o Many observers note that email has leveled status barriers  High-speed transmission, direct access, and the opportunity to avoid live confrontation often encourage lower-status parties to communicate directly with organizational VIPs Group Cohesiveness Group Cohesiveness - the degrees to which a group is especially attractive to its members o Because of this attractiveness, members are especially desirous of staying in the group and tend to describe the group in favourable terms  Cohesiveness is a relative, rather than absolute, property of groups.  There is no objective line between cohesive and non-cohesive groups Chapter 7 – Groups and Teamwork  (we will use the adjective cohesive to refer to groups that are more attractive than average for their members) Factors Influencing Cohesiveness  Important factors include threat, competition, success, member diversity, group size, and toughness of initiation  Threat and Competition: o External threat to the survival of the group increases cohesiveness in a wide variety of situations o Honest competition with another group can also promote cohesiveness o Why do groups often become more cohesive in response to threat or competition?  Feel a need to improve communication and coordination so they can better cope with the situation at hand.  Members now perceive the group as more attractive because it is seen as capable of doing what has to be done to ward off threat or to win o Under extreme threat or very unbalanced competition, increased cohesiveness will serve little purpose  Success: o A group becomes more attractive to its members when it has successfully accomplished some important goal o Cohesiveness will decrease after failure, although there may be “misery loves company” exceptions  Member Diversity: o Groups that are diverse in terms of gender, age, and race can have a harder time becoming cohesive than more homogeneous groups o If the group is in agreement about how to accomplish some particular task, its success in performing the task will o
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