Group Structure, Process and Behaviour
Group Structure refers to the pattern of interrelationship that exists among the group members, and makes the group functioning orderly and predictable. Four important aspects of group’s structure are:
R ole or the typical part played by an individual group member in accordance with the expectations of other members from him. Role expectations refer to the behaviors that are expected from the person playing the role. The person holding the role is known as the role incumbent. Role ambiguity takes place when the person would also miss out on rounds of drinks in the Friday pub session.
Status or the relative prestige or social position given to groups or individuals by others. People often join the core group or a renowned club because of the prestige associated with these groups.
Group cohesiveness referring to the strength of group members’ desires to remain a part of the group. This also refers to the degree of attraction of the group members for each other and the ‘we-feeling’ among the members. The degree of cohesiveness has been found to depend on external threats, the difficulty in getting included in the group, the amount of time spent by the group members with each other and the success of the group. Factors, which affect the development of group cohesiveness, are:
Similarity of work;
Physical proximity in the work place;
The work flow system and whether or not it gives continuing contact;
The structure of tasks – whether individualized or group;
Group size – smaller groups are more cohesive;
Threats from outside – where a group sees other groups as the enemy;
Prospects of rewards;
Leadership style of the manager;
Common social factors, such as race, social status and cultural origins.
Individual’s Performance in Groups
Groups are formed with individuals, but the output of the groups is not just the sum-total of individual’s contribution towards the group. The term group synergy refers to the fact the action of two or more group members result in an effect that is different from the individual summation of their contribu-tions. This occurs because of the socia l fa cilita tion effect, which refers to the tendency for performance of an individual group member to improve in response to the presence of other members. However, the group performance is not always guaranteed to improve as often group members are found to exert less individual effort. This is known as social loafing when members are found to enjoy a ‘free ride’, which tends to increase with group’s size. For a group to be effective, we need to heed to the group processes as well in addition to its structure. The significant processes are – the communication patterns used by the members for information exchanges, group decision processes, leader behavior, power dynamics, conflict interactions, etc,. This we have already dealt in unit3 and unit5, so neednt study them here. But we do need to know that these processes have significant impact on the group effective-ness.
Minimizing social loafing
By understanding the causes of social loafing, we can identify ways to minimize this problem. Some of the strategies listed below reduce social loafing by making each member’s performance more visi-ble. Others increase each member’s motivation to perform his or her tasks within the group.
Form smaller teams- Splitting the team into several smaller groups re-duces social loafing because each person’s performance becomes more notice-able and important for team performance. A smaller group also potentially increases cohesiveness so that would-be shirkers feel a greater obligation to perform fully for their team.
Specialize tasks- It is easier to see everyone’s contribution when each team member performs a different work activity. For example, rather than pooling their effort for all incoming customer inquiries, each customer service representative might be assigned a particular type of client.
Measure individual performance- Social loafing is minimized when each member’s contribution is measured. Unfortunately, individual performance is difficult to measure in some team activities, such as problem-solving projects in which the team’s performance depends on one person discovering the best answer.
Increase job enrichment-Social loafing is minimized when team members are assigned more motivating jobs, such as requiring more skill variety or hav-ing direct contact with clients. However, this minimizes social loafing only if members have a strong growth need strength. More gener-ally, however, social loafing is less common among employees with high job satisfaction.
Select motivated employees- Social loafing can be minimized by carefully selecting job applicants who are motivated by the task and have a collectivist value o1ientation. Those with a collectivist value are motivated to work harder for the team because they value their membership in the group.
Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity
Role conflict also exists when an individual belongs to or identifies with two or more groups whose goals or values are in conflict. This is more typical in a matrix or project form of organization where an individual may belong to several work groups and report to several bosses, where directives are vague of incompatible, inter group conflict may result.
Role ambiguity exists when an individual or the members of group are not clear about their functions, purposes and goals within the organization. Staff groups such as personnel or accounting often encounter vague or unclear situation where their function tend to interfere or conflict with line operations. Personnel, for example may want to control all hiring and promotion decision, an individual or the members of a group may face a situation in which their and multifaceted nature of what is good for the organization, this may result in noncom-pliance of conflict
In the real workday world, employees are faced with role conflict and ambiguity in some very traumatic ways. Many managers and line workers have been enrolled in work improvement programs that become so effective that were laid off, business week reports on change, but some role their eyes at the slogans and endless meetings and training sessions, blue collar workers and union members are especially leery, being aims to empower them to suggest ways to do their jobs more efficient they the more efficiently they make things run, the more likely they are to render their own jobs unnecessary.