Concrete Experience and Reflective Observation
In my practice, I am responsible for a range of tasks to be accomplished by my employees. The goals may include leadership training provided to the crew leaders and team members as a part of process improvement activities. Performance management and safety issues are especially representative of how colleagues interact with each other while shaping formal and informal groups at the workplace. I observed how formal leaders assigned by the organization might have less impact than informal leaders whose authority allows them to better manage people. From my perspective, routine goals such as departmental support (scheduling, engineering, and maintenance) are more likely to be performed by formal groups. As a rule, formal groups are created to achieve a specific task, working with one supervisor (McEvily, Soda, & Tortoriello, 2014). The informal groups tend to be formed unintentionally in the course of communication and personal links.
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My experience also involves working with command, functional, aggregates, tasks, interests, and friendship groups. For example, when employees failed to achieve the task set in the command team, the functional team was designed to accomplish it without the focus on a particular timeframe. This allowed avoiding additional workplace pressure and stress and making sure that employees feel comfortable with their roles. I can also state that the group structure determines the extent of its effectiveness. Norms, roles, size, cohesiveness, group identity, and interaction are the key group characteristics. One of my employees always tried to work independently, which made his efforts unsuccessful, and when he joined the cooperative work, his key performance indicators improved significantly.
Theories and Principles/Abstract Conceptualization
A group can be regarded as several people who are coordinated to achieve a common goal. A range of characteristics of groups can be noted to understand their nature better and manage employees. The evidence shows that the type and structure are the main aspects, which are examined in social theories that concern one or another point of people’s interaction, productivity, and cooperation.
According to the social impact theory, there are three key issues to be considered by leaders. The first is that social forces, the proximity of events, and several sources define the power of social impact (McEvily et al., 2014). The fact that the growing number of resources facilitates the social impact is the second point. Ultimately, social loafing means that the team members would insert fewer efforts if the size of the task extends.
Group dynamics theory offers the perspective on how people interact in teams and form informal and formal connections. There can be various relationships in the team, which is called the functioning of the group and can be discussed on the composition, interaction with others, and the organizational context. The role of acceptable standards, as well as the bonding of the group members, are assigned a top priority in this theory.
Social facilitation theory states that the emotional reaction is aroused by the presence of colleagues or supervisors. In case the responses of the latter are appropriate, the production rates are likely to increase (Bansal et al., 2015). At the same time, the theory of social facilitation assumed that people perform simple tasks faster and more correctly, while difficult tasks are associated with some problems.
The mentioned theories contribute to one’s awareness of how employees design groups, which impacts their effectiveness in the organization. Since people are closely associated with others, the identified social theories shed light on how to manage people in various situations by guiding them in the process of communication. The better the social impact and bonds are, the greater the success of the team is.
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Testing and Application/Active Experimentation
The application of the social impact theory in my practice allowed me to comprehend that society plays an important role in accomplishing goals. I experimented with the number of resources and discovered that employees and supervisors are likely to work better if they are given more of them. It seems that such a tendency is also caused by the increased commitment to the organization that supports its personnel, and people feel that they are valued, thus doing their best to succeed. The social loafing aspect of this theory helped me in managing the size of the tasks – I decided to investigate it and created two groups. They were offered the same task, but the first one received it in the form of divided mini-assignments, and the second was given the task as it is. As a result, I found that the first group completed the task timely, while the second group had to ask me to extend the deadline.
As for the social dynamics theory, I learned that the groups tend to change. For example, when one of my supervisors misused her authority, the informal group members reported about it and made sure that it did not happen. In this case, the mentioned group acted as the additional source of information, thus promoting fairness and transparency in our company. From my point, I try to build closer bonds between the team members, providing benefits from the commitment to the organizational goals. Also, I understood that the standards might also change, depending on the team composition alterations. The use of the social facilitation theory was useful to me to boost productivity by exposing employees to the physical presence of others. Such a decision created moderate emotional tension, and people increased their diligence and attentiveness.
Bansal, A., Phatak, Y., & Sharma, R. K. (2015). Quality management practices for global excellence. New Delhi, India: Allied Publishers.
McEvily, B., Soda, G., & Tortoriello, M. (2014). More formally: Rediscovering the missing link between formal organization and informal social structure. Academy of Management Annals, 8(1), 299-345.