Work Group Inputs
A. Work group inputs are those that are
necessary for the group to operate.
B. The composition of a work group has a strong bearing on the group’s
ultimate success, so
careful consideration should be made in making group assignments.
1. Characteristics of members that influence group effectiveness include
expertise, interpersonal skills, and diversity in the makeup of the
group to include
sufficient individual skills and interest.
2. Individuals may be attracted to a group because of friendships,
interest in the
activities of the group, shared values, the need for affiliation, and
the need to fulfill
objectives outside those of the group.
C. An input into the group is the members’ assumption of
roles, set of
of individuals who occupy particular positions in a group.
1. Group task roles
are roles that help a group develop and accomplish
a. The initiator-contributor proposes goals, suggests way of approaching
tasks, and recommends procedures for approaching a problem or task.
b. The information seeker asks for information, view points, and
about the problem or task.
c. The information giver offers information, viewpoints, and suggestions
about the problem or task.
d. The coordinator clarifies and synthesizes various ideas in an effort
together the work of the members.
e. The orienter summarizes, points to departures from goals, and raises
questions about discussion direction.
f. The energizer stimulates the group to higher levels of work and
2. Group leaders often assume task roles.
3. An informal leader
is an individual, other than the formal leader, who
from a group, has major influence, and is perceived by group members as
D. Group Size
is an important input into the functioning of groups.
1. The number of individuals in a group influences how the members
a. Very small groups have a number of disadvantages.
1) In two-person groups, or dyads, members are either at odds
frequently or are extremely polite to avoid differences.
2) Three-person groups frequently lead to two-against-one
3) Even-numbered groups often lead to deadlocks
b. Groups of five to seven are ideal because of enough input and the
c. Large groups beyond seven, and more so beyond eleven, pose
1) Interactions tend to become centralized to a few members.
2) Overall group satisfaction declines.
3) Interactions become too lengthy when complex issues are
2. Group performance stops rising and even possibly declines as group
a. Social loafing is the tendency of individuals to expend less effort
working in groups than when working alone.
b. Free riders are individuals who engage in social loafing in a group
a condition where by personal interests are stronger
the needs of the group, often leads to social loafing.
d. On the other hand,
tend to put the good of the group before
e. To reduce the likelihood of social loafing, managers, may
1) Assign just enough people to do the work
2) Have each group member of different tasks
3) Make each individual’s work visible in some way
4) Provide for individual feedback
5) Having individuals work with people they respect
6) Provide standards against which to measure how the group is
7) Make rewards contingent on individual, as well as group
8) Design interesting, challenging tasks, or select members
committed to particular tasks.
Work Group Processes
A. Group processes are the dynamic, inner
workings of groups as they operate over a period
1. Process loss is the energy diverted from the task to develop and
operate the group
2. Positive synergy
is the force that results when the combined gains
interaction (as opposed to individuals operating alone) are greater than
3. Negative synergy
is the force that results when group process losses
than any gains achieved from combining the forces of group members.
are expected behaviors sanctioned by a group that
regulate and foster uniformity
in member behaviors.
1. Work groups tend to develop and enforce norms related to certain
a. Groups develop norms regarding production processes.
b. Groups develop norms regarding informal social relationships, e.g.,
to have lunch.
c. Groups develop norms regarding allocation of resources, e.g.,
2. Norms typically develop through one of four mechanisms.
a. Explicit statements made by supervisors and coworkers can provide
information about expectations.
b. Critical events set precedents for the future.
c. Primacy is the phenomenon that the first behavior pattern that
a group tends to establish group expectations.
d. Carryover behaviors are those that arise among individuals who have
worked together in other groups.
C. Group cohesiveness
is the degree to which members are attracted to a
motivated to remain in the group, and are mutually influenced by one
1. A high degree of cohesiveness in a group can have consequences on
a. Members tend to communicate more frequently and be more sensitive to
one another, leading to greater job satisfaction.
b. Cohesiveness can also lead to giving more aid to other group member,
form of organizational citizenship.
c. Aggression among groups may arise.
1) Within the same organization, competition may be helpful or
2) Competition with other organizations may have positive effects.
d. Performance levels may be either very high
or very low, depending upon
the group’s norms and cohesiveness.
e. The group’s openness to innovation may be very high or very low.
2. A number of factors have a positive effect on group cohesiveness;
a. Similar attitudes and values.
b. External threats
c. Outstanding successes
d. Difficulties encountered in joining a group
e. Small group size
Stages of Groups Development
1. It has been proposed that groups progress
through a series of five stages, but may
regress with changes in membership.
a. Stage 1: Forming
occurs as group members attempt to assess the ground
rules that will apply to a task and to group interaction.
b. Stage 2: Storming
occurs as group members experience conflict with one
another as they locate and attempt to resolve differences of opinion
regarding key issues.
c. Stage 3: Norming
occurs as group members begin to build group
cohesion, as well as develop a consensus about norms for performing a
task and relating to one another.
d. Stage 4: Performing
occurs as energy is channeled toward a task and as
norms support teamwork.
e. Stage 5: Adjourning
occurs as group members prepare for disengagement
as the group nears successful completion of its goals.
2. Research indicates that these five stages apply primarily to newly
Many organizational decisions are made by groups
1. Group decisions have certain advantages
over individual decisions.
a. Provide more complete information.
b. Generate more alternatives.
c. Increase acceptance of a solution.
d. Increase legitimacy.
2. However, group decisions also have disadvantages.
a. Time consuming.
b. Minority domination.
c. Pressures to conform, which can lead to
d. Ambiguous responsibility.
3. Effectiveness and Efficiency of Group Decision Making.
Are group decisions more effective? It depends on the criteria used for
a. Group decisions tend to be more accurate.
b. Individual decisions are quicker in terms of speed.
c. Group decisions tend to have more acceptance.
d. The effectiveness of group decisions tends to be influenced by the
size of the group. Groups
should not be too large.
e. Groups also are not as efficient as individual decision makers.
4. Techniques for Improving Group Decision Making.
is an idea-generating process that encourages
alternatives while withholding
b. Nominal group technique
is a group decision-making technique in which group
physically present but operate independently.
Electronic meetings are one way that
decision-making groups can interact by way of
TURNING GROUPS INTO EFFECTIVE TEAMS
are formal groups made up of interdependent
individuals, responsible for attaining goals.
Organizations are increasingly designing work around teams rather than
Most of us are probably familiar with the concept of a team. However, we
may not be as familiar with work
teams. All work teams are groups, but only formal groups can be work
There are different types of teams. Four characteristics can be used to
distinguish different types of teams.
1. Teams can vary in their purpose
duration of a team tends to be either
permanent or temporary.
3. Team membership
can be either functional or cross-functional.
4. Finally, teams can either be
supervised or self-managed.
5. Given these four characteristics, some
of the most popular types of teams used today include the
a. A functional team
is a type of work team that is composed of a manager
and his or her
subordinates from a particular functional area.
b. A self-directed or self-managed
team is one that operates without a
manager and is responsible
for a complete work process or segment that delivers a product or
service to an external or internal
c. A virtual team
is one that uses computer technology to link
physically dispersed members in order
to achieve a common goal.
d. Finally, a cross-functional team
is one in which individuals who are
experts in various specialties
(or functions) work together on various organizational tasks.
DEVELOPING AND MANAGING EFFECTIVE TEAMS
Teams aren’t automatically going to magically
perform at high levels. We need to look more closely at how
managers can develop and manage effective teams.
There are eight characteristics associated with effective teams.
1. Clear goals
2. Relevant skills
3. Mutual trust
4. Unified commitment
5. Good communication
6. Negotiating skills
7. Appropriate leadership
8. Internal and external support
What’s involved with managing teams?
1. In planning, it’s important that teams have
clear goals and that these goals be clear to and accepted
by every member of the team.
2. Organizing tasks associated with managing a team include
clarification of authority and structural
3. Leading issues include such things as determining what role the
leader will play, how conflict will be
handled, and what the best communication process is.
4. Two important controlling issues include how to evaluate the team’s
performance and how to
reward team members.
One popular approach to group incentive plans
which is a program that shares the gains
of the efforts of group members with those group members.
In conclusion, a TEAM
is a temporary or ongoing task group whose members
are charged with working
together to identify problems, form a consensus about what should be
done, and implement necessary
actions in relation to a particular task or organizational area.
1. Teams differ from task forces in two ways.
a. Teams identify problems rather than merely reacting to problems
identified by others.
b. Teams decide on a course of action and implement it, rather than
the implementation to others.
2. Teams are widely used today and are often, but not always, task
across command groups.
3. An entrepreneurial team
is a group of individuals with diverse expertise and
backgrounds who are brought together to develop and implement innovative
aimed at creating new products or services or significantly improving
4. Self-managed teams,
or autonomous work groups, are work groups given
responsibility for a task area without day-to-day supervision and with
influence and control both group membership and behavior.
1) Assessment of the situation is critical in that self-managing teams
are not successful in all situations.
2) Group makeup and proper allocation of needed resources is
3) Team training and guidance in cultivating appropriate norms are
4) Managers need to remove performance obstacles and assistance
to help the group continue to learn.
Managing Conflict in Groups
is a process in which one party perceives
that its interests are being opposed or
adversely affected by one or more other parties.
B. Conflict can have constructive as well as destructive consequence.
1. Conflict can delay projects, drive up costs, and cause valued
employees to leave.
2. Conflict can highlight areas for improvement, promote constructive
enhance morale and cohesiveness, and encourage new ideas.
C. There are a number of causes of conflict.
1. Two types of task interdependence can lead to conflict.
a. Sequential interdependence occurs when one individual or work unit is
heavily dependent on another.
b. Reciprocal interdependence occurs when individuals or work units are
2. Scarcity of resources can lead to conflict.
3. Goals of different organizational members may be incompatible.
4. Communication may fail due to distortions or lack of communication.
5. Differences in personality, experience, and values may breed
6. Poorly designed reward systems may foster competitions when
behavior is necessary for organizational success.
D. Managers may use a number of approaches to reduce and resolve
1. Conflict-producing factors in a situation can be changed.
2. One of five interpersonal modes may be adopted to resolve conflicts.
involves ignoring or suppressing a conflict in the
hope that it
will either go away or not become too disruptive.
Accommodation focuses on solving conflicts
by allowing the desires of
the other party to prevail.
involves attempting to win a conflict at the other
aims to solve conflict issues by having each party
some desired outcomes in order to get other desired outcomes.
involves devising solutions that allow both parties
achieve their desired outcomes.