Social variables influence the manner perception and judgement, particularly in a group setting. Focus should be on the individual. But the group itself should be studied as a whole because the product of group interaction cannot be indicative of the performance of the individual outside the group. Both the composition and the history of a group behavior are determinants of its stimuli for the individual members. The group also determines the nature and patterns of reinforcement, the members receive in the course of their interaction with an another. The group influences the Group behavior of individuals in many ways such as in the form of conformity to group norms, group cohesiveness, group participation, group competition, and group problem solving. These characteristics are found in both formal and informal groups.
Conformity to Group Norms
There are certain norms of the group which the group members are to follow: they are expected to behave in the same manner. This normative behaviour of the members helps the managers of the organisation to understand how and why an individual will behave in accordance with the group norms. Group norms perform two main functions. First, norms help the group to achieve its goals: they bring uniformity of action towards the goals. Second, norms help the group maintain itself as a group; these ensure that divisive forces in the group may be put under pressure against their Group behavior. People conform to group norms also for their own benefit. But the degree of conformity differs from member to member. Researchers on this aspect of group dynamics present the following conclusions:
1. The degree of conformity to group norms depends upon the status of the group and its members. Within a group, it has been observed that the higher the rank of a person, the more nearly his activities conform to group norms.
2. Seniority also influences the degree of conformity. A new person may be expected to adhere more closely to norms than a senior person.
3. The pressure of conformity increases with the increase in the number of persons agreeing to the norms.
4. On applying rigid standards to evaluate the norms, non-conformity is likely to increase.
Group cohesiveness is a situation in which all members of the group work together for a common goal, or where everyone is ready to take responsibility for group chores. The greater the group cohesiveness, the greater will be its influence on the behaviour of members. Group cohesion brings low absenteeism and high personal adjustments. Many factors bring cohesion
in the group such as the degree of dependency on the group, the size of the group, homogeneity and stable membership, competition, and outside pressure.
The effectiveness of the group behavior is determined by the degree of participation of its members in its functioning. The more the participation, the more effective is its functioning. Better participation results in high morale and better labour-management relationships, in addition to increased productivity.