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Organisational Behaviour in Teams and Groups


For human beings it is typical to unite in various groups, teams and organisations. For the sake of order and avoiding anarchy certain rules and laws are established in these organisations that regulate the principles of organisational behaviour. Accordingly, organisational behaviour is the basis of the successful performance of any group of people having the same ideas, goals and means of their achieving (Mullins, 2008). This paper will focus on such fundamental phenomena of organisational behaviour as functions and ideas of groups and teams, motivations that people have for this or that type of assignment. Also, the individual differences typical of every team member in attitudes towards his or her co-workers, towards the environment and towards his or her place in it will be examined in this paper. The goal of the paper is to explain the process of group presentations preparation.

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Groups and Teams

To start with, it is necessary to consider such aspect of organisational behaviour as groups and teams that are formed by organisation members. The first point to mention here is the fact that every member of an organisation is involved in a kind of a working group in it (Bloisi, W. & Cook, C., 2006). For example, students might be members of some project preparing groups, or sport teams, while accountants in a company may be involved in a group working on an annual report, etc. Drawing from this fact, groups and teams are basic detachments of any organisation, and the definition of group is rather important here. So, a group is a collection of people having the similar goals and ideas about their accomplishment, displaying certain hierarchy and leadership inside it, and finally all its members identify themselves as this group’s participants (Brooks, 2005).

In other words, groups are united by the “shared commitment” (Brooks, 2005) and their goals are higher than goals for which each group member could strive for as an individual. As a result, group work has its advantages and drawbacks, among which the access to more ideas and a wider scope of knowledge are the former, while domination of leaders, blocking of minority opinions and lack of motivation could be viewed as the latter (Pettinger, 2000). In more detail, leaders of the group exercise their influence while the ideas of others are disregarded which leads to the decrease of their motivation. At the same time, diligent attention paid to the minds of all group members is the way to success in group tasks (Mullins, 2008).

Accordingly, scholars like Tuckman and Jensen created the respective theory of the main stages of the group development and task completion. Initially, this was developed as a four-stage model of group development which was later modified by Tuckman into a five-stage one. The major point of the model is the formation of group, realization of its goals and group cohesiveness directed at fulfilling group tasks. As a result, the four stages of the Tuckman and Jensen’s model of group development include the following points – forming, storming, norming and performing. The stage added by the authors later was the so-called adjourning stage explaining the process of group dissolution (Brooks, 2005).

In more detail, the forming stage is the process of group shaping. During this stage, the members of the group adjust to each other; obtain the initial knowledge of the group as a whole and of the interpersonal and organizational behavior in this group. The dependency relations with the group leaders are also formulated during this stage. It is followed by the storming stage during which the conflicts between group members, conflicts of interest and influences all become explicit. In this period, the unwillingness of the group members to be subjected to group ideas and goals is expressed in the forms of resistance, low productivity and motivation levels, etc. Accordingly, the stage of norming is the period when personal interests are put aside by group members who realize the significance of their task and start displaying group cohesiveness and team playing features. Personal viewpoints are considered and realized for the use of the common goal. Finally, the performing stage develops the ability of the group members to act as a single whole with roles being interchangeable; mutual assistance of group members to each others becomes a norm. The energy of the group is directed to the common goal. Later, the adjourning stage was added by the authors depicting the process of group dissolution when the goals are accomplished and roles of group members are eliminated (Brooks, 2005).


Drawing from all the above considered ideas, the performance of the group or team is dependant on the number of factors. Generally speaking, the effectiveness of the performance of any organisation depends upon the abilities of its members, their opportunities to demonstrate the whole range of their abilities and skills, and the paramount factor among these all is the motivation that every single member of the group has (Bloisi, W. & Cook, C., 2006). What is also important is that the motivation of every group member is based on his or her inherited, i. e. biological or natural, and felt, i. e. acquired, needs or drives. The opportunity to satisfy these needs with the less tension in the group environment brings better results of the group performance (Bloisi, W. & Cook, C., 2006).

According to these facts, there are numerous needs theories formulated by scholars among which Abraham Maslow takes the prominent place. His hierarchy of human needs is accepted as the universally applicable model displaying five major levels of needs and explaining them properly. Thus, the lowest level of the human needs is comprised of the physiological requirements of the human organism. People need to eat, drink, have clothes, etc. and these needs direct them at working with as much proficiency as possible. However, the peculiarity of Maslow’s theory is the succession of needs, In other words, having satisfied the lowest level of needs, human beings focus on every next level, while in case of failing to satisfy the first level needs, the latter become dominant and do not allow human beings develop their skills (Brooks, 2005).

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As a result, according to Maslow’s model, after physiological needs are satisfied, security needs come into play. This group of needs includes shelter, security, safety from fear and threats, access to health care, education, etc. On the organisational level, these needs are satisfied through confidence about one’s employment, security at the work place, impossibility of groundless firing, secure wages, etc. In case if these needs are satisfied, the dominant role is attributed to social needs expressed in the requirement of belonging and feeling support. In an organisation, these needs might be satisfied by successful and fruitful collaboration with colleagues and friendly relationships at the work place (McKenna, 2005).

Finally, the two most important levels of Maslow’s hierarchy are psychological needs of human beings. The fourth level is represented by the self-esteem and ego-satisfaction needs. This level also embraces the need of external respect, authority, prestige, etc. The highest level of the human needs is therefore the need of self-actualization. In other words, people experience the necessity for permanent and successful self-development and self-improvement which is realized through the success at work and feeling of belonging to the organisation (Mullins, 2008).

Moreover, Alderfer’s ERG (Existence, Relatedness, Growth) Theory is the modification of the Maslow’s one. It comprises the three levels constituting the abbreviation and assumes that people can satisfy several need levels at once. Also, the concept of frustration-regression is the notable feature of this theory stating that if a higher level motivation is frustrated it is compensated by the larger focus on the lower level one. Nevertheless, both theories state the paramount importance of motivation for the successful development of organisational behaviour in a company or any other group of people (Mullins, 2008; McKenna, 2005).

Individual Differences and Perception

According to all the above presented arguments, it is obvious that in the effectiveness of the group performance an individual plays a crucially important role (Mullins, 2008). First of all, the organisation or group is constituted by individual people who have their own psychological, physiological and other needs, ideas and values according to which they make decisions and act. These differences in individual perception and attribution styles are based on such factors as temperament of every single person who could be either optimist or pessimist, active or passive, initiative or non-initiative, etc. Moreover, the cultural, educational and social backgrounds of the person shape his or her individual peculiarities and respective styles of behaviour. Finally, the philosophies that each person builds on the basis of the above mentioned principles, might also differ and cause various conflicting situations in an organisation (Bloisi, W. & Cook, C., 2006).

The same can be said about the approaches each particular person takes in conflict situations. These approaches are numerous and range from the accommodating position of a person who tries to settle the situation peacefully to the competitor approach during which a person’s aim in a conflict is the victory by all means. All these personal peculiarities have serious impact upon the motivation of organisation members and upon the performance of the whole organisation. Accordingly, the attribution theory comes into play when conflict overcoming and personal differences are viewed as forming factors of organisational behaviour (Rollinson, 2008).

The major point of the attribution theory lies in the facts, assumptions or other traits that people attribute to the activities, deeds and outcomes of work of other people and themselves. The factor that could explain such a state of things is the psychological perception of the surrounding world. In other words, it depends upon a person’s mind how to perceive a phenomenon of reality. Thus, the same situation can be viewed differently by two or more people, from which different assumptions might result (Rollinson, 2008). For example, if a person has failed his or her part of the group assignment, the causes that the rest of the group members might attribute to this could vary from laziness and reluctance to objective reasons like family problems, health issues or practical lack of time (Brooks, 2005).

One more important aspect of this theory is the so-called Attribution Theory of Motivation. The essence of this concept lies in the alleged motivations that people attribute to the deeds, successful or failing, of their colleagues and their own. Moreover, the effects of those attributed motivations are observed in the subsequent working motivations of group members (Rollinson, 2008). For example, if a mistaken attribution assumed that a person failed some task for the reason of lack of skills or reluctance to act proficiently, this might reduce the motivation for further work in this person. On the contrary, if the attribution added to the positive features in the work of a person, it might result in the improvements in his or her work even if before this very person has never displayed any specific commitment to work and his colleagues. Thus, it is obvious that all the three aspects of the organisational behaviour considered in this paper are interconnected and equally important for a company’s or a group’s performance (Brooks, 2005).

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To make the respective conclusion to this paper, it is necessary to state that organisational behaviour is the basis for the success of any company or another group of people united by the same goals. Groups and teams are fundamental branches of any organisation as they allow accomplishing goals that could not be accomplished by individual workers separately. Motivation is the moving force of any progress and in the organisational behaviour its importance can not be overestimated. Finally, the individual differences in behaviour and perception influence considerably both inner atmosphere in an organization and its external performance results (Pettinger, 2000). To achieve higher results in fulfilling any kind of a task, the group performance should be controlled by skillful leaders who are able of motivating people, uniting them into groups and subjecting their personal differences to the common goal of an organisation.


  1. Bloisi, W. & Cook, C. 2006, Management and Organisational Behaviour, McGraw Hill Higher Education.
  2. Brooks, I. 2005, Organisational Behaviour: Individuals, Groups and Organisation, Prentice Hall.
  3. McKenna, E. 2006, Business Psychology and Organisational Behaviour, Psychology Press.
  4. Mullins, L. J. 2008, Essentials of Organisational Behaviour, Financial Times/ Prentice Hall.
  5. Pettinger, R. 2000, Mastering Organisational Behaviour, Palgrave Macmillan.
  6. Rollinson, D. 2008, Organisational Behaviour and Analysis: An Integrated Approach, FT Press.
  7. Torlak, O., & Koc, U. 2007, “Materialistic attitude as an antecedent of organizational citizenship behavior.” Management Research News , Vol.30, no. 8, pp. 581-96.

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