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Supported by theory and examples, what factors would you take into consideration when assessing the behaviour of groups in an industrial or commercial setting?

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Introduction

Assignment II-Groups Supported by theory and examples, what factors would you take into consideration when assessing the behaviour of groups in an industrial or commercial setting? By way of definition, a group can be defined as, "two or more individuals interacting and interdependent who come together to achieve particular objectives" (Stephen.P.Robbins, 2000). Groups can be either formal or informal. Formal groups are defined by an organisation's structure, with given tasks establishing work groups. The behaviours within formal groups are likely to be stipulated by and directed towards the organisation's goals. Informal groups, on the other hand, also exist within organisations. These often develop when individuals have one or more common characteristics. Informal groups perform a very important function by satisfying members' 'psychological' needs. A theorist named Elton Mayo (1945) stressed the importance of informal groups and encouraged managers to 'grow' them. It is important to recognise that the types of interactions among individuals within formal and informal groups deeply affect their behaviour and performance. Tuckman and Jensen's model (1977) can be of use when assessing group behaviour during its development stages within a business setting. The model suggests that groups pass naturally through five clearly defined stages, which are labelled forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. Forming is where the set of individuals have not yet gelled. Members are keen to fix their own personal identities and make personal impressions on others. ...read more.

Middle

They may perceive higher-status members as having respect, familiarity and as being looked up to by peers within the group. A third dimension of a group's structure is 'liking'. Within a group, individual members will either like, dislike, or be indifferent to other members. Their combined feelings towards each other represent their group's liking structure. This can be studied by using the technique of sociometry, devised by Jacob Moreno (1953). The technique involves a series of tests revealing what some members feel towards others. The liking or disliking of certain individuals by group members is likely to have a large impact on the group and may bring about negative behaviour such as hostility and conflict in certain situations. Communication is also a major factor that can be taken into account when assessing group behaviour. The journal of 'Executive Development' states "communication must not be directed towards individuals alone, but must be carried out effectively within groups- formal and informal". These groups may work closely together, interacting freely or dispersed within a building or several buildings. When formal group members come together physically and participate in a meeting, a communication pattern analysis can be formed. The observer of the group makes notes of how often each member speaks, and to whom. The outcome is likely to discover the behaviour of members when they come together, e.g. ...read more.

Conclusion

An advantage to this is a greater amount of information and experience can be gathered than an individual alone can gather. However there are many disadvantages. Working in groups may lead to certain members thinking they can 'free ride' and not contribute to decisions. Traits such as shyness can affect certain people from offering opinions, as can loud, dominant people, leading to a lack of group action. One of the major problems facing organisations today is 'groupthink', a process discovered by Irving Lester Janis (1941). This is when group members develop a strong spirit and become so concerned with not disrupting the like-mindedness of the group, they are reluctant to challenge the group's decisions. This process that occurs can be damaging to organisations. The 'International Journal of Corporate Communications' states two cases of possible groupthink at British Airways and Marks & Spencer "causing blocked management communications and leading to the fall in reputation and stock market valuation of these two companies". In conclusion, all of the above factors are what I would consider when assessing the behaviour of groups within a commercial or industrial setting. Managers should note that groups existing within their organisation, whether formal or informal, can be utilised at all levels, despite downfalls that can occur such as conflict, stress etc. However, it is the consideration of these behaviour changing elements and the balancing of the positive and negative factors that can produce a great team in the long run, thus enabling them to be more productive within the work place. ...read more.

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