Chapter 8: Foundations of Group Behavior


What are you responsible to learn?


·        Differentiate between formal and informal groups

·        Compare two models of group development

·        Explain how group interaction can be analyzed

·        Identify the key factors in explaining group behavior

·        Explain how role requirements change in different situations

·        Describe how norms exert influence on an individual’s behavior

·        Define social loafing and its effect on group performance

·        Identify the benefits and disadvantages of cohesive groups

·        List the strengths and weaknesses of group decision making

·        Contrast the effectiveness of interacting, brainstorming, nominal, and electronic meeting groups


Defining and Classifying Groups

n     Groups

    two or more individuals, interacting and interdependent, who have come together to achieve particular objectives.


    Formal groups -- those defined by the organization’s structure, with designated work assignments establishing tasks.

    Informal group – A group that is neither formally structured nor organizationally determined.  Natural formations in the work environment that appear in response to the need for social contact.

    Command group – a group composed of the individuals who report directly to a given manager.

    Task groups -- also organizationally determined, representing those working together to complete a job task.

    Interest group -- people not necessarily aligned into common command or task groups who affiliate to attain a specific objective.

    Friendship group – those brought together because they share one or more common characteristics


Stages of Group Development


Model 1: The Five Stage Model


Forming - Stage 1 - Uncertainty - "test the waters"

Storming - Stage 2 - Intragroup conflict - constraints, who will lead and control?

Norming - Stage 3 - Cohesiveness begins and relationships form

Performing - Stage 4 - The group is fully functional

Adjourning - Stage 5 - For non-permanent teams, it's time to wrap it up


Model 2: The Punctuated-Equilibrium Model (Temporary Groups w/Deadlines)


"Time" is key - from first meeting to official deadline…

Phase 1 - Meet for the first time.  Inertia follows

Transition - Half of the time is used up - changes occur - "get moving"

Phase 2 - Execute the plans coming out of the Transition


Toward Explaining Work Group Behavior


Why are some groups more effective than others?

(See page 223: Group Behavior Model)


  1. External conditions imposed on group
  2. Group member resources
  3. Group structure
  4. Group processes
  5. Group tasks
  6. Outcome: Performance and satisfaction


Let’s look at each one of these…


External Conditions Imposed on the Group

Groups are a subset of a larger organization consisting of the following:

·        Organization Strategy

·        Authority Structures

·        Formal Regulations

·        Organizational Resources

·        Human Resource Selection Process

·        Performance Evaluation and Reward System

·        Organizational Culture

·        Physical Work Setting


Group Member Resources

     A group’s potential level of performance is, to a large extent, dependent on the resources that its members individually bring to the group.

   Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities - set the parameters for what members can do and how effectively they will perform in a group.

   Personality Characteristics - the magnitude of the effect of any single characteristic is small, but taking personality characteristics together, the consequences for group behavior are of major significance.


Group Structure


Groups are not unorganized mobs.  They have a structure that shapes the behavior of members.


    Formal Leadership

    Roles (psychological contracts are important in organizations!)

(What did you think about Zimbardo’s prison study? P. 228-229)



    Size (social loafing)

    Composition (diversity, group demography)



*Understand the relationship between group cohesiveness, performance norms, and productivity - Highly cohesive groups with high performance norms are best!


Group Processes


Synergy – a term used in Biology, is an action of two or more substances that result in an effect that is different from the individual summation of these substances.


Potential Group effectiveness + Potential Gains - Process losses  =

Actual group effectiveness


Social Facilitation Effect - Performance tends to improve or decline in response to the presence of others. (Interesting stuff!)


Group Tasks


Consider when to use large vs. small groups

What type of task? Simple (routine) or complex (non-routine) tasks?



Group Decision Making


Strengths - Groups generate more complete information, increased diversity of views, higher quality decisions, increased acceptance of a solution


Weaknesses - Time consuming, conformity pressures, dominating members, ambiguous responsibility


So….should we use groups or individuals to make decisions? (p. 240-241)


Groupthink - Individuals may feel pressure to suppress, withhold or modify  true feelings

Groupshift - Usually shift towards greater risk in decisions made by groups

Group Decision-Making Techniques


Ways to make decisions include interacting groups, brainstorming, nominal group technique, & electronic meetings


Summary and Implications for Managers


n      Performance

     Work groups are part of a larger organization and can provide a favorable or unfavorable climate for operations.

     Structural factors show a relationship to performance.

     There is a positive relationship between role perception and an employee’s performance evaluation.

     Norms control group member behavior by establishing standards of right and wrong.

     Status inequities create frustration and can adversely influence productivity.

     The impact of size on a group’s performance depends upon the type of task in which the group is engaged.

     A group’s demographic composition is a key determinant of individual turnover.


n      Satisfaction

     Most people prefer to communicate with others at their own status level or a higher one.

     Large groups are associated with lower satisfaction.


Chapter 9:  Understanding Work Teams


What are you responsible to learn?


·        Explain the growing popularity of teams in organizations

·        Contrast teams with groups

·        Identify four types of teams

·        Describe conditions under which teams are preferred over individuals

·        Specify the characteristics of effective teams

·        Explain how organizations can create team players

·        Describe the advantages and disadvantages of diversity to work teams

·        Explain how management can keep teams from becoming stagnant and rigid


Why have teams become so popular?


Teams typically outperform individuals when the tasks being done require multiple skills, judgment, and experience.


Teams vs. Groups – what’s the difference??


Work Group – the goal is to share information, neutral synergy, individual accountability, random and varied skills


Work  Team – the goal is collective performance (greater than the sum of individual inputs), positive synergy, individual and mutual accountability, complementary skills

Four Types of Teams


·        Problem-solving teams - usually 5-12 members from same department meeting to improve quality, efficiency and work environment


·        Self-managed work teams - usually 10-15 members who take on responsibilities usually associated with management


·        Cross-functional teams - members come together from different work areas or departments to accomplish a task


·        Virtual teams – use on-line technology to tie together members in different geographic areas.  They are made up of physically dispersed employees who use computer technology to achieve a common goal.



NOTE: Teams aren’t Always the Answer!


·        Can the work be done better using more than 1 person?

·        Is there a common goal for ALL members which is greater than the sum of each individual’s goal?

·        Are the members interdependent?


ex) The Sac State women’s basketball team needs interdependence.  The     golf team does not (they just add all the scores of each individual)



Creating Effective Teams


The value of teams can be powerful!  Consider these four general categories…


§          Work design (autonomy, skill variety, task identity, task significance)

§          Composition (abilities, personality, roles & diversity, size, flexibility, preference for teamwork)

§          Context (adequate resources, leadership, climate of trust, performance evals and rewards)

§          Process (common purpose, specific goals, team efficacy, conflict, social loafing)


Turning Individuals Into Team Players


Be sure to understand cultural difference and prior reward systems (i.e. are individual achievements valued?) prior to introducing teams into your organization.  If you do introduce teams, consider…





Q:  If you had a choice, would you rather work on your own or in a team environment?  Why?


Contemporary Issues in Managing Teams


    TQM  requires management to give employees the encouragement to share ideas and act on what they suggest.

    Diversity typically provides fresh perspectives on issues but it makes it more difficult to unify the team and reach agreements.

§         Reinvigorating Mature Teams

    Teams don’t automatically stay at the “performing stage.”  Familiarity breeds, apathy.  Success can lead to complacency.  And maturity brings less openness to novel ideas and innovation.


    Mature teams are particularly prone to groupthink, and as a result team members become reluctant to express their thoughts and less likely to challenge each other.


Summary: Consider the idea that “Teams benefit both employees & the organization” …do they really?....


Point: Teams are great!


The value of teams is now well known.  The following are benefits that can result from the introduction of work teams.


§         Increased employee motivation.

§         Higher levels of productivity.

§         Increased employee satisfaction.

§         Common commitment to goals.

§         Improved communication.

§         Expanded job skills.

§         Organizational flexibility.


CounterPoint: Teams are not so great!


A critical look at four assumptions which seem to underlay this team ideology.






** Understand both sides of this debate. Q:  Which do you agree with and why?