INDIVIDUAL VS. GROUP BEHAVIOR
After studying this chapter, you should be able to understand the concepts about…
In this lecture, we will look at individuals, groups, and teams in organizations.
We will explore the role and
functioning of groups within organizations and factor affecting the behavior.
We will starts by defining a
team, discussing its key characteristics, examining its fit in the organization,
and exploring the effect of
national culture and diversity on teams. Next, we will look at various types
of teams in organizations
including simple work teams, administrative teams, cross-departmental teams,
and process teams.
Organizations that use teams are facing with the critical challenge of making
their teams effective through
team building, a process that is examined in detail in this chapter, followed
by an in-depth look at teams in
context. The manager needs to understand why employees engage in some behaviors
rather than others and
to predict how employees will respond to various actions by the manager. The
emphasis will be on
employee productivity, reduce absenteeism and turnover, and increase job satisfaction.
Why to Focus on Individuals:
Individuals are important units of any organization. If we understand the behavior
of individuals, we can
predict the outcomes; it will become easy to manage the behaviors of individuals
in desirable directions.
We have to look at three individual variables—
biographical characteristics, ability, and learning.
Biographical characteristics are readily available to
managers. Generally, they include data that are contained
in an employee’s personal file. The most important
conclusions are that, age seems to have no relationship to
productivity; older workers and those with longer tenure
are less likely to resign; and married employees have fewer
absences, less turnover, and report higher job satisfaction
than do unmarried employees. But what value can this
information have for managers? The obvious answer is
that it can help in making choices among job applicants.
Ability directly influences an employee’s level of
performance and satisfaction through the ability-job fit.
Given management’s desire to get a compatible fit, what
can be done? First, an effective selection process will
improve the fit. A job analysis will provide information
about jobs currently being done and the abilities that
individuals need to perform the jobs adequately.
Applicants can then be tested, interviewed, and evaluated on the degree to which
they possess the necessary
abilities. Second, promotion and transfer decisions affecting individuals already
in the organization’s employ
should reflect the abilities of candidates. With new employees, care should be
taken to assess critical abilities
that incumbents will need in the job and to match these requirements with the
resources. Third, the fit can be improved by fine-tuning the job to better match
an incumbent’s abilities.
Often modifications can be made in the job that while not having a significant
impact on the job’s basic
activities, better adapts it to the specific talents of a given employee. Examples
would be to change some of
the equipment used or to reorganize tasks within a group of employees. A final
alternative is to provide
training for employees. This is applicable to both new workers and present job
incumbents. Training can
keep the abilities of incumbents current or provide new skills as times and conditions
Any observable change in behavior is prima facie evidence that learning has taken
place. What we want to
do, of course, is ascertain if learning concepts provide us with any insights
that would allow us to explain
and predict behavior. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for modifying
behavior. By identifying and
rewarding performance-enhancing behaviors, management increases the likelihood
that they will be
repeated. Our knowledge about learning further suggests that reinforcement is
a more effective tool than
punishment. Although punishment eliminates undesired behavior more quickly than
does, but punished behavior tends to be only temporarily suppressed rather than
Punishment may produce unpleasant side effects such as lower morale and higher
absenteeism or turnover.
In addition, the recipients of punishment tend to become resentful of the punisher.
Managers, therefore, are
advised to use reinforcement rather than punishment.
Finally, managers should expect that employees would look to them as models.
Managers who are
constantly late to work, or take two hours for lunch, or help themselves to company
office supplies for
personal use should expect employees to read the message they are sending and
model their behavior
Individual differences do not dictate people’s behavior. Instead, they limit
a person’s behavioral range,
making some behavior easier than others.
A group is defined as two or more interacting and interdependent individuals
who come together to achieve
Types of Groups
a. Formal groups are work groups established by the organization
and have designated work
assignments and established tasks. The behaviors in which one should engage are
stipulated by and
directed toward organizational goals.
b. Informal groups are of a social nature and are natural
formations. They tend to form around
friendships and common interests.
Why Do People Join Groups?
There is no single reason why individuals join groups.
1. Security reflects a strength in numbers.
• The group helps the individual
to feel stronger, have fewer self-doubts, and be more resistant to threats.
2. Status indicates a prestige that comes from belonging to a particular group.
• Inclusion in a group viewed
as important provides recognition and status.
3. Self-esteem conveys people's feelings of self-worth.
• Membership can raise feelings
of self-esteem--being accepted into a highly valued group.
4. Affiliation with groups can fulfill one's social needs.
• Work groups significantly contribute
to fulfilling the need for friendships and social relations.
5. One of the appealing aspects of groups is that they represent power.
• What often cannot be achieved
individually becomes possible through group action.
• Power might be desired to protect
themselves from unreasonable demands.
• Informal groups additionally
provide opportunities for individuals to exercise power.
6. Finally, people may join a group for goal achievement.
• There are times when it takes
more than one person to accomplish a particular task.
• There is a need to pool talents,
knowledge, or power in order to get a job completed.
What Are Roles?
1. The concept of roles applies to all employees in organizations and to their
life outside the
organization as well.
2. A role refers to a set of expected behavior patterns attributed to someone
who occupies a given
position in a social unit.
3. Individuals play multiple roles.
4. Employees attempt to determine what behaviors are expected of them.
5. An individual who is confronted by divergent role expectations experiences
6. Employees in organizations often face such role conflicts.
Following are the different types of group roles:
1. Task-oriented roles
2. Relationship-oriented roles
3. Individual roles
• Information seekers/providers
Characteristics of a well-functioning, effective group
A group is considered effective if it is having following characteristics.
• Relaxed, comfortable, informal atmosphere
• Task to be performed are well understood & accepted
• Members listen well & participate in given assignments
• Clear assignments made & accepted
• Group aware of its operation & function
• People express feelings & ideas
• Consensus decision making
• Conflict & disagreement center around ideas or method
A team is a mature group with highly independent members who are completely committed
to a common
goal. All teams start out as groups, but not all groups become teams. The elements
that distinguish teams
from groups are …
• full commitment by members to a common
goal and mission
• mutual accountability
• shared leadership
• trust and a collaborative culture, and
• achievement of synergy
Differentiating Groups and Teams:
Groups and teams are different. All teams are groups, but a group is not always
a team. A team is always
distinguished by the fact that its members are committed to a common purpose,
a set of performance goals,
and an approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. A group
is defined as two or more
persons who are interacting with one another in such a manner that each person
influences and is
influenced by each other person.
Types of Teams
Organizations use four types of teams, which differ according to the complexity
of their task and the
fluidity of their membership.
1. Self managed Teams
2. Cross Departmental Team
3. Quality Circles
4. Virtual Teams
Self-Directed /managed Work Teams:
A self-managed work team is a formal group of employees who operate without a
manager and are
responsible for a complete work process or segment that delivers a product or
service to an external or
internal customer. This kind of team has control over its work pace, determination
of work assignments,
etc. Fully self-managed work teams even select their own members and evaluate
As a result, supervisory positions take on decreased importance and may even
Cross Departmental Team
Cross-departmental teams work on simpler tasks, and their membership fluidity
is high, which means that
members come and go over time. Process teams, which address complex tasks, have
Problem solving Team
Problem solving also known as Quality circles, which are simple work teams, consist
of eight to ten
volunteers from a common work area who meet to find solutions to specific problems
about the quality of
work processes, products, or services. Quality circles have a clear and specific
focus on quality improvement
within a single work unit. They meet regularly and have limited power to implement
Organizations can establish quality circles without making major organizational
changes, because they
operate in parallel to the rest of the structure.
Are Virtual Teams a Reality Today?
A virtual team is an extension of the electronic meetings; virtual team allows
groups to meet without
concern for space or time and enables organizations to link workers together
that in the past couldn't have
been done. Team members use technology advances to solve problems-even though
they may be
geographically dispersed or a dozen time zones away.
Today's team-based organizations rely mainly on process teams, which do not have
but function independently to undertake broad organizational-level process improvements.
In many cases,
organizations that implement process teams then partially or totally disband
their traditional departments.
Self-managed teams (SMTs) are process teams of employees who have full managerial
control over their
own work. Functioning without outside supervision, they have the power to manage
their own work and to
implement their own decisions.
A team leader within the SMT provides internal facilitation to remove work obstacles
and obtain needed
resources. As a team, members coordinate and cooperate with other teams and individuals
who are affected
by their decisions and activities. Using SMTs requires a total change in organizational
surprisingly, lack of commitment is the common reason for failure.
Making Teams Effective Through Team Building
Team building—activities aimed at improving the internal work and relationship
processes of teams—
requires attention to both task and interpersonal relationships. In team building,
organizations apply the
principles of group dynamics to select complementary members, support more cohesion,
manage stages of
group development, and establish constructive norms that foster high performance.
Membership in teams is
based on expertise in areas that are necessary for task accomplishment. The shamrock
team combines a
core of permanent members with part-time members and outside subcontractors.
Turning Individuals in to teams:
Productive teams require careful selection, training, and management. Guidelines
for building effective
teams include: seek employee input; establish urgent, demanding performance standards;
for skill and skill potential; pay special attention to first meetings and actions;
set clear rules of behavior;
move from “boss” to “coach;” set a few immediate performance-oriented tasks and
goals; challenge the
group regularly with fresh facts and information; use the power of positive feedback;
shoot for the right
team size; choose people who like teamwork; and train, train, train.
Turning Individuals In to Team Players
a. Some individuals prefer to be
recognized for their individual
b. In some organizations, too, work
environments are such that only
the "strong" survive.
c. Creating teams in such an
environment may meet some
d. Teams fit well with countries that
score high on collectivism.
2. What Are the Management Challenges of Creating Team Players?
a. Employees' success, when they are part of teams, is a function of how well
the team as a
b. To perform well as team members, individuals must be able to communicate openly
honestly with one another, to confront differences and resolve conflicts, and
to place lower
priority on personal goals for the good of the team.
c. The challenge of creating team players will be greatest where
i. The national culture is highly individualistic.
ii. The teams are being introduced into an established organization that has
historically valued individual achievement.
iii. This describes, for instance, what faced managers at AT&T, Ford, Motorola,
other large U.S. companies.
d. In contrast, the challenge for management is less demanding when teams are
where employees have strong collectivism values--such as in Japan or Mexico.
e. The challenge of forming teams will also be less in new organizations that
use teams as
their initial form of structuring work.
Saturn Corporation, the ability to be a good team player was a hiring prerequisite.
3. What Roles Do Team Members Play?
a. High-performing work teams properly match people to various roles.
b. There are nine potential roles that work team members often can "play."
c. Creator-innovators are imaginative and good at initiating ideas or concepts.
i. They are typically very independent and prefer to work at their own pace in
own way--and very often on their own time.
d. Explorer-promoters like to take new ideas and champion their cause.
i. They are good at picking up ideas from the creator-innovator and finding the
resources to promote those ideas.
ii. They often lack the patience and control skills to ensure that the ideas
e. Assessor-developers have strong analytical skills.
i. They're at their best when given several different options to evaluate and
before a decision is made.
f. Thruster-organizers like to set up operating procedures to get things done.
i. They set goals, establish plans, organize people, and establish systems to
that deadlines are met.
g. And, somewhat like thruster-organizers, concluder-producers are concerned
i. Their role focuses on insisting that deadlines are kept and commitments fulfilled
ii. Concluder-producers take pride in producing a regular output to a standard.
h. Controller-inspectors have a high concern for establishing and enforcing rules
i. They are good at examining details and making sure that inaccuracies are avoided.
ii. They want to check all the facts and figures to make sure they're complete.
i. Upholder-maintainers hold strong convictions about the way things should be
i. They will defend the team and fight its battles strongly supporting fellow
ii. These individuals provide team stability.
j. Reporter-advisers are good listeners and don't tend to press their point of
view on others.
i. They tend to favor getting more information before making decisions.
ii. They perform an important role in encouraging the team to seek additional
information and discouraging the team from making hasty decisions.
k. The linkers overlap the others.
i. This role can be "played" by any of the previous eight roles.
ii. Linkers try to understand all views.
iii. They are coordinators and integrators.
iv. They dislike extremism and try to build cooperation among all team members.
l. If forced to, most individuals can perform in any of these roles.
i. Most have two or three they strongly prefer.
m. Managers need to select team members on the basis of an appropriate mix of
strengths, and allocate work assignments that fit with each member's preferred
4. How Can a Manager Shape Team Behavior?
a. The three most popular ways include proper selection, employee training, and
the appropriate team behaviors.
5. What Role Does Selection Play?
a. When hiring team members, the organization should ensure that applicants can
i. Some job applicants lack team skills.
ii. If team skills are woefully lacking, don't hire that candidate.
iii. A candidate who has some basic team skills but needs more refinement can
hired on a probationary basis and be required to undergo training.
6. Can We Train Individuals to Be Team Players?
a. Performing well in a team involves a set of behaviors, which can be learned.
b. People who were raised on the importance of individual accomplishment can
be trained to
become team players.
c. Training specialists can conduct exercises that allow employees to experience
satisfaction that teamwork can provide.
d. The workshops offered usually cover such topics as team problem solving,
communications, negotiations, conflict resolution, and coaching skills.
e. Outside consultants can provide a learning environment in which workers can
practical skills for working in teams.
7. What Role Do Rewards Play in Shaping Team Players?
a. The organization's reward system needs to encourage cooperative efforts rather
b. Lockheed Martin's Space Launch Systems has organized its 1,000+ employees
i. Rewards are structured to return a percentage increase in the bottom line
team members on the basis of achievement of the team's performance goals.
c. Promotions, pay raises, and other forms of recognition should be given to
how effective they are as a collaborative team member.
i. Individual contribution is balanced with selfless contributions to the team.
d. Managers cannot forget the inherent rewards that employees can receive from
i. Work teams provide camaraderie.
e. There are inherent rewards being on a team-it's exciting and satisfying to
be part of a
8. How Can a Manager Reinvigorate a Mature Team?
a. Effective teams can become stagnant.
i. Initial enthusiasm can give way to apathy.
ii. Time can diminish the positive value from diverse perspectives as cohesiveness
iii. Teams don't automatically stay at the "performing" stage.
iv. Familiarity and team success can lead to contentment and complacency.
b. Mature teams, also, are particularly prone to suffer from groupthink.
i. Mature teams early successes are often due to having taken on easy tasks.
ii. As time passes, the team has to begin to tackle the more difficult issues.
c. What a manager can do to reinvigorate mature teams, four suggestions.
i. Prepare team members to deal with the problems of team maturity.
ii. Remind team members that they are not unique.
iii. Offer refresher training.
iv. Provide them with refresher training in communication, conflict resolution,
processes, and similar skills.
v. Offer advanced training.
vi. Mature teams can benefit from training to develop stronger problem-solving,
interpersonal, and technical skills.
vii. Encourage teams to treat their development as a constant learning experience.
viii. Just as organizations use continuous improvement program, teams should
approach their own development as part of a search for continuous improvement.
Individuals: Individuals are important units of any organization
Group: A group is defined as two or more interacting and interdependent
come together to achieve particular objectives.
Team: A team is a mature group with highly independent members who
committed to a common goal.
Role: A role refers to a set of expected behavior patterns attributed
to someone who
occupies a given position in a social unit.
Self Esteem: Self-esteem conveys people's feelings of self-worth.