Group Dynamics :Types, Development & Structure

In this article we will talk about how group dynamics work in an organisational setup so as to understand the effects and deal with them accordingly.A group consists of two or more members who come together and work together to achieve a common goal. Groups can be of many types. They can be classified into formal groups and informal groups.
  1. Formal groups are the groups that are deliberately decided by the management. Formal groups can be categorised into command group, task groups and functional groups.
    • Command groups are designed by the organisation according to the man-power requirement in each segment of the organisation. Each group member have assigned roles and established working relationships.
    • Task groups are formed to accomplish a particular task or project. Task groups have a limited range of goals to be achieved which doesn’t extend after the duration period of the task or the project.
    • Functional groups are created by the organisation to achieve goals. These type of groups exist throughout the life of the organisation. The finance department, marketing department, legal department, production and logistics department are a few examples of functional groups.
  2. Informal groups are groups that arise out of the social needs of people. Informal groups consist of interest groups, friendship groups, and reference groups.
    • Interest groups are groups that come together due to a common interest like working professionals from various fields coming together to adopt ecological friendly practices in their field or simply they are a group of tree-hugging enthusiasts. Interest groups usually last longer than any other informal groups because they are bound together by a common interest.
    • People with similar social activities, political or religious beliefs, people belonging to the same community in the society form friendship groups.
    • Reference groups are a type of group that people socially compare themselves with or try to associate with them. People often alter their attitudes and behaviour to that of the reference group. Common examples are family, friends and religious groups.

Group Development

Forming a group is the first stage of group development. This stage is characterised by a lot of confusion among group members about the objective of the group and their individual roles. Neither the leader nor any major objective of the group has been decided.

Storming: This stage is marked with conflict. Group members tend to disagree on matters relating to the group objective, leadership and power roles. Members often criticise and raise their concerns.

Norming: This stage is characterised by mutual understanding and co-operation after getting into discussions or even arguments and effectively making sense of what the common goal and task is.

Performing occurs after all group norms have been laid down and the goals to be achieved by the group is put down on the table. In this stage group members focus on work performance of members and make rational decisions.

Adjourning is the last stage of group development. The members of the group disband when the group has performed all its tasks and achieved all goals. This stage is mainly occurs in temporarily formed groups such as task groups. Most groups do not arrive at this stage.

Group Structure

Group structure is the relational structure of group members that binds them together and helps them achieve group goals as well as organisational goals.

Group Size is the number of members in a group. Some believe that the ideal size of the group is in between five to seven;although this varies according to necessities of the group. In a smaller group of five people, members interact more and there is a stronger sense of belonging amongst the members. Also, the smaller the group the more the individual participates. It is a fact that group participation increases job satisfaction.

Group Roles are associated with duties and responsibilities of every member of the group. Roles are predetermined in case of formal groups. But some roles arise as soon as one takes a particular position and responsibility in a group. Roles can be work roles that are roles to be performed related to work, maintenance roles like gatekeepers or blocking roles. Gatekeepers try to keep communication going and encourage participation.

Group Norms are standards of behaviour that are deemed acceptable by a group. Group norms are formed on mutual agreement with the group’s members. Norms are made to strengthen the group and avoid unpredictable behaviour. A lot of emphasis is given on conformity to norms as it shows the level of motivation and commitment of the group.

Group Cohesiveness refers to the bonding of group members and the level of co-operation among them. Cohesion is a positive attribute of a group as so are its effects.

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