What is a Group?
“A group is defined as a collection of two or more individuals, interacting and interdependent, which has come together to achieve common objectives.”
How Groups are Formed?
Two models of group development have been offered by the researchers in the field of social sciences to explain how groups are formed. These are:
Five-Stage Model and
Punctuated Equilibrium Model.
According to the Five-Stage Model of group development, groups go through five distinct stages during the process of its development. These are as follows:
Forming is the initial stage of group development when the group members first come in contact with others and get acquainted with each other. This stage is characterized predominantly by a feeling of uncertainty among the group members as they now try to establish ground rules and pattern of relationship among themselves.
Storming is the next stage that is characterized by a high degree of conflict among the members. Members often show hostility towards each other and resist the leader’s control. If these conflicts are not adequately resolved, the group may even be disbanded. But, usually the group eventually comes in terms with each other and accepts the leadership role at the end of this stage.
Norming is the third stage of the group development process during which the group members become closer to each other and the group starts functioning as a cohesive unit. The group members now identify themselves with the group and share responsibility for achieving the desired level of performance of the group. Norming stage is complete when the group members can set a common target and agree on the way of achieving this.
Performing is the fourth stage when the group is finally ready to start working. As the group is now fully formed after resolving their internal conflicts of acceptance and sharing responsibility, they can now devote energy to achieve its objectives.
Adjourning is the final stage when the group, after achieving the objectives for which it was created, starts to gradually dissolve itself.
Reasons for Joining a Group
People may join groups chiefly to achieve their personal objectives and to satisfy their mutual interests. As long as they are getting a chance to get these fulfilled, joining a group would make some sense for them. The following reasons are often found to influence one’s decisions to join a group:
Security. By joining a group and having a we-feeling, people feel more secured and confident to fight potential threats. Forming unions are examples of such case.
Status. Getting entry into an elite group will enhance an individual’s status. Getting the membership of a prestigious club may be considered as an elevated status for the individual.
Self-esteem. Groups can provide people with a feeling of self-worth. For example, an individual’s getting into the core committee will enhance his self-esteem.
Affiliation. Groups often fulfill the social needs of its members.
Power. Sometimes joining an influential group increases an individual’s power. Being a union member or gaining membership of a political party can substantially increase one’s power.
Goal achievement. Sometimes to achieve a desired objective it requires joining hand with like-minded people in order to pool talents, knowledge and power. For example, when fighting a social evil like practice of child labour you need to form a group, as the objective can never be possible to attain single handedly.