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Group Understanding: Personal Practice in Groups

An entrepreneurial mindset refers to aspiring and devising the organizational setup by introducing a ground-breaking business approach as a trademark in the market. In the philosophical business sense existentialism, axiology, pragmatism, and ethics are the key magnets that influence the nurture of an entity’s persona and establish the organizational behavior and management structure. The adoption of efficient strategies in group management in the running of businesses has become more ubiquitous over the last decade as business settings become increasingly transformed. The advances in better group management skills and their subsequent incorporation in these firms are grounded on the framework of transforming the business into world-class companies that are in tandem with the fast-changing business world. The reasons for this are not particularly hard to comprehend given the myriad of benefits that have been associated with the adoption of such better strategies of group management. This term paper seeks to review questions that are directly related to the benefits organizations stand to gain by taking keen cognizance in group management.

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Group dynamics is defined as “the interaction and interpersonal relationships between members of a group and how groups form, function, and dissolve” (Johnson, Johnson & Holubec, 1998). It forms a critical aspect of the development of successful teamwork that is directly connected to the products generated from any activity undertaken by a group. In business, the understanding of group dynamics is important to the success of the business because issues of personal conflicts influence and powerful impact on the outcome of group activities that are measured by levels of performance. It has been suggested that taking keen cognizance in the examination of group diversity among employees is something that organizations should engage in. This is based on the widely supported belief that groups; unlike individuals; make use of peer pressure, teamwork, collective responsibility, discussions, and arguments to guide individuals towards a specific goal or objective. This forms the reason behind the composition of the jury in the American legal system that acts as a perfect example of a dynamic group in action. This is because, to reach a fair verdict in court cases, a jury must make use of group dynamics and cooperation.

Understanding group dynamics in businesses have other demonstrated benefits to an organization. According to Moshe and Tsipora (1998), “a team shares a common purpose and recognizes each individual as belonging to the same unit, the strength of a team is reliant on the interconnectivity between individual members and a fully functioning team is capable of reaching agreements on norms and values that regulate behavior.” It can therefore be confidently stated the success of a business organization rests on the ability to develop a dynamic team capable of delivering the objectives of the organization. In addition to the above, the understanding of team dynamics assists managers and supervisors in selecting teams that complement each other for the reduction in inter-personal conflicts.

Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec (1998) defines positive interdependence as “linking students together so one cannot succeed unless all group members succeed in that group members have to know that they sink or swim together.” The theory of social interdependence is a composition of three theoretical perspectives that have played pivotal roles in enhancing research in cooperation. These include “cognitive-developmental, behavioral, and social interdependence” (Moshe &Tsipora, 1998). “Positive forms of interdependence, therefore, occur when individuals share common goals and each individual’s outcomes are affected by the actions of the others” (Moshe &Tsipora, 1998). The role of positive interdependence has however been demonstrated to help achieve mutual goals, especially among students. How positive interdependence assist in the achievement of mutual goals is however illustrated by Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec (1998) in stating that “positive goal interdependence ensures that the group is united around a common goal, a concrete reason for being, such as learning the assigned material and making sure that all other members of your group learn the assigned material.” The validity of research about groups has not always been valid and relevant because of the dynamicity of every group. Research on groups, therefore, focuses on the specific group under investigation and thus cannot be replicated on other groups.

The level of effectiveness of groups or individuals in work environments has always been a hot topic in management circles. While it has been demonstrated that individuals work best in the delivery of a specific goal, working in groups in today’s environment is unavoidable. This is because almost all types of work environments require the input of different types of departments that calls for the role of different people. To achieve the best outcomes in groups, strategies must be put in place to ensure that there is group cohesion and managers fully understand the specific psychology of each group.

The study of group cohesion has been a topic of interest to many psychologists because of its demonstrated benefits to organizations and group outcomes. According to Vecchio (2006), “group cohesion is a phenomenon which determines how well a group holds together.” The importance of group cohesion in group psychology and the relationships of individuals cannot be underestimated. This is because all types of organizations involve groups in the attainment of their aims and objectives. The capacity to strengthen this phenomenon is important because group cohesion means a group will remain strong and stable. On the other hand, weak group cohesion means the probability of the group disintegrating is high. “Understanding group cohesion can be key to pulling together a team, a workplace, or a similar group of people” (Vecchio, 2006). In addition to the above, Vecchio (2006) found cohesiveness leads to “increased self-esteem, more willingness to listen to others, freer expression of feeling, better reality testing, greater self-confidence, and members’ effective use of other members’ evaluations in enhancing their development”

The cohesive forces of a group affect the group process in a number of ways. Available works of literature and research work on the psychological processes in group development point out that these factors are social while others are environmental. According to Schmuck and Schmuck (2002), “some of the factors in group cohesion are social; there are a number of things which can occur within a group and its members which encourage people to stay in the group and to stay focused on group goals while others are environmental, caused by external factors”

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The process of building team cohesiveness demands more from business supervisors and managers in businesses. The first step in enhancing team cohesiveness is taking keen consideration of preliminary perceptions of individuals that make up a team and instituting strategies in empowering the group to shed these preliminary perceptions. This is the first step in enabling true bonding and staying along the correct path to achieving high levels of cohesiveness. Manages can increase cohesion among groups by increasing levels of self-esteem, efficacy, and concept. According to Schmuck and Schmuck (2002), “with increased self-esteem, efficacy, and concept, the long-term effects that an outdoor experience can have on each member of the team can help to increase individual desires to build team cohesion.” This must involve individual buy-in and take into consideration the confidence of individuals because confident individuals can foster team cohesion.

The impact of social interaction and influence in decision-making is an area of interest to social psychologists. This is because of knowledge on the effects of social influence, interpersonal relationships, group behavior, and self and social identity. Active social interactions have been demonstrated to involve “feedback loops that create interdependencies between the choices individuals make” (Schmuck and Schmuck, 2002), This affects how the decision making process takes place in that both passive-active interactions have an impact on policy in the sense that they magnify the effect of urgency on policies. In addition to the above, an individual is affected by the thoughts and ideas of others. This is correlated to the speed, ease, and urgency by which decisions within organizations are made. The effect of social influence on decision-making has thus been noted to give rise to the social multiplier that directly impacts decision-making processes. This is buttressed by Vecchio (2006) in stating that “a social multiplier arises in a dyadic relationship when both agents’ actions (or outcomes) are affected by the actions of the other agent and the agents recognize this and internalize these effects when selecting their actions.”

Groups have been known to produce some of the greatest leaders in history. The understanding of leadership itself demonstrates that best leaders have emerged from groups because leadership involves helping others, organizations, or companies by defining paths that can translate to positive rewards.

According to Vecchio (2006) “whenever a group of people interacts, a leader-follower relationship almost always emerges: the leader is someone who chooses to choose first, while a follower is someone who chooses to wait and see.” This type of interaction and influence results in the creation of leaders who can guide others to a common goal.

The importance of group members’ perception about leadership is fundamental to an organization because it defines whether a group will abide by the rulings of a leader. Instances, where group members have poor perceptions about leadership, are likely to lead to a lack of uniformity and coherence in a group and impact negatively on the groups’ outcomes. The link between the members’ perception and the group’s outcomes cannot be left out in the periphery while dealing with management issues. This is because the success of an organization depends on the capacity of the leaders to effectively influence their followers to a defined path. This must take into consideration the positive perception of group members.

Teams have been demonstrated to work better than groups in certain situations. This is because all teams constitute a group but not all groups make up a team. According to Vecchio (2006)

A real team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are equally committed to a common purpose, goals, and working approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. Real teams are a basic unit of performance. The possible performance impact for the real team is significantly higher than the working group.

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This is because the high performance of a team than a group is a reality in most situations. After all, teams are composed of individuals united together in search of a common goal while groups are loosely combined individuals who still need time to develop into a team. Johnson, Johnson, and Holubec (1998) echoes that “group members interact primarily to share information, best practices, or perspectives and to make decisions to help each individual perform within his or her area of responsibility; there is no call for either a team approach or a mutual accountability requirement.” To effectively achieve a common goal in an organization, managers and supervisors prefer to use a team as opposed to a group.

In addition to the above, a team is more concretely united and may not easily disintegrate because of external pressure as opposed to a group. Examples of areas where teams are more effective than groups include instances where collective responsibility is needed for the attainment of a specific goal. Some of these instances include military activities in the event of war. To win a war, military leaders demand teams and not groups because the assignment demands more serious input from every individual. The second situation in which a team is more effective than a group is in sports and the third involves doctors operating on a patient. To effectively coordinate and achieve maximum benefits, teams are best for these instances.

Reference List

  1. Johnson, D., Johnson, R.& Holubec, E. (1998). Cooperation in the classroom. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
  2. Moshe B. and Tsipora, M. (1998). Aspects of Teamwork: Observed in a Technological Task in Junior High Schools. Journal of Technology Education. Vol 9, no. 11.
  3. Schmuck, R. A., & Schmuck, P. A. (2002). Group Processes in the Classroom. McGraw-Hill Humanities-Social Sciences & Languages.
  4. Vecchio, R.P (2006). Organizational Behavior: Core Concepts. USA: Thomson Soth-Western.

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