Group Theory Elements And Dynamics Management Essay

Importance of Groups and Team has become a major focus in the business world. Organizations have well realized that the evolution from individual to team management approach is a priority in current time. The reality is that much of the organizations work is accomplished directly or indirectly through teams. Teams are used as means of growing effectiveness and efficiency in many organizations. Group procedure and conflicts directly impact the choice of team member selection and required results. Creating an effective team is an art and a science. Any organization is constantly changing and evolving. “Change is good and the ability of an organization to adapt and be flexible helps stimulate the organizations growth” (Mukherjee and Mukherjee, 2001). The use of teams to administer various undertakings and projects are utilized increasingly by organizations with hopes that the performance and creativity of these teams will take them to the next ladder to success in the business world.

This explains the words of H.E. Luccock “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.

Definition

‘A work group is a number of persons, usually reporting to a common superior and having some face-to-face interactions, who have some degree of interdependence in carrying out tasks for the purpose of achieving organizational goals.’ (Wendell L. French, Cecil H. Bell Jr., p. 155). A team on the other hand has some distinctiveness higher to that of an ordinary group, including higher degree of symbiosis and interaction and higher commitments to achieve organization goals.

Therefore, according to Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith, ‘a team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.’

Working in groups generates work relationships among individuals who get tied to one another with personal and social ties, which makes them an informal organization. An informal organization consists of relationships that emerge and persist as a result of workers existing in the same workplace and having common objectives and similar problems. An informal organization emerges as a result of a formal organization because it is the latter that gathers workers in the same place to perform certain duties and reach specified objectives. Besides, it represents the formal centers, relations and channels of communication between the workers and the rules that govern their behaviors and relations.

Basic elements of the group

Work teams and informal organization are based on the following elements:

Relations among members:

This consists of the daily dealings between individuals regarding their work and personal aspects. The relations of members are among the indices used to find out how far the group is holding together.

Roles

These constitute roles given to team members can be similar to or different from their roles in the formal organization. One member may be assigned the task of solving work problems; another undertakes the group’s recreational and social activities. Role assignment depends upon many factors such as the individual’s position in the group, his age, experience, ability and interests and personal characteristics, the extent of his being tied to the group and love for its members.

Values

There are certain social values prevailing within the group from which members are inspired in their work. The group may follow the values of honesty and integrity at work, competition and production at the best possible levels. The members’ love for their group can be induced from their compliance with the values prevailing within it.

Behavioral rules

There are certain behavioral rules dictated by the group upon its members such as helping one another, correcting someone when he makes an error. There are a lot of rules that have to be observed by group members.

Feelings

Some feelings arise among group members as a result of their daily encounters and continuous relations. These are the same feelings as those found in the bigger society such as love and hatred, acceptance and rejection, peace and dispute, etc.

If the group is settled and the informal organization persists, it can serve many major purposes, for it provides the chance of the workers’ acquaintance with one another and their subsequent cooperation and mutual assistance.

Factors that affect the group’s behavior

The individuals’ objectives and the extent of their conformity or contradiction with those of the group.

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The values and principles held by individuals and the degree of with their consistency with the organization values and principles.

The nature of work performed by individuals and the degree of it consistency with their interests and abilities.

The technological means used at work and the degree of their being modern or old.

Technical and social training received by the individual.

Ways of superiors and supervisors in dealing with their subordinates.

The policies of the organization.

The services provided by the management or organization to the individual.

Disciplinary and punitive regulations and the procedures of their implementation.

Group Theory Elements and Dynamics

According to Johnson & Johnson there are five major elements that must be present for a group to successfully reach a goal. The five elements are positive interdependence, individual accountability, primitive interaction, appropriate use of social skills, and group processing. One of the factors established in group dynamics is that to have a group, two or more must be present and in like mindset of achieving a common goal. For this goal to be achieved certain skills must be present for a successful outcome. 

The skills required to have a successful group, and certainly to have a successful outcome, involve every group member and certainly his or her participation and commitment. As listed by the authors one of the elements, positive interdependence of group members is necessary to have a successful group. This particular element ensures that one member cannot succeed without coordinating his or her efforts with all the other group members to complete the task. This specific element also helps to eliminate diffusion of group responsibility. Each group member must partake equally and effectively in achieving the set goal so all members must have the same set of motivational factors.

First and foremost to be successful the group must achieve its goals, maintain a good working relationship among it’s’ members, and lastly be able to adapt to the changing conditions it meets during the process of accomplishing the goal (Johnson & Johnson, 2000 P. 12). 

Clear, relevant and concise goals must be established and agreed upon by group members as such that a high level of commitment is evoked insuring completion of every group members’ interdependent contribution to the goal. Two-way communication is paramount for the group to be a success and all members should be aware that each and every one is to assume and participate in the role of leader. There should be a balance in power and decision-making, usually the preferred method being by consensus. According to Johnson and Johnson controversies are certainly going to arise in the group process. When this occurs group members should challenge conclusions and reasoning, resulting in creative decision-making and problem solving. This particular group dynamic presents an opportunity for growth for the group members. Group members should face conflicts which will be promoted by incompatibilities and engage in problem-solving negotiations to resolve such conflicts. Several strategies can be used including withdrawal, forcing, smoothing, compromising and problem solving. Conflicts arising are an important factor and tend to increase group effectiveness (Johnson & Johnson, 2000). 

The importance of team work

Teamwork is important for an endless amount of reasons. There are so many things that are virtually impossible to take on without the use of a team that knows how to work together. The importance of teamwork is something that should be touched on during team building events. If this concept is not understood and carried out at work, your team will not be running as a solid unit. Understanding your team and the many facets of it is just the beginning.

The main reason to form a team is to accomplish something intense that cannot easily be achieved by just one person. People need to rely on each other sometimes and understanding that is the start to a potentially great working relationship. When we all come together with one specific shared goal, success is that much easier to obtain. It’s also much more efficient and effective than trying to tackle a huge challenge by one member. Nothing great was ever achieved by one person alone. It took many to build the pyramids so why should it take only one to build your ideal business? Understand that you can only benefit from working as a team.

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Compromise is the secret weapon of strong team that knows where their priorities lie. Nobody can be right all the time. Working as a team means understanding that compromise is essential for everyone to have their say and input. In order to unite for the purpose of success and forward progression, some will have to concede that their way is not the best. And that is what working with others is about. Learning from each other is a great way to grow as an individual and as a whole.

When you work closely with others, you tend to spend just as much time with them as you do with your own family. This can make for intimate working relations where you can’t help but get to know others well. Breaking down these barriers and really getting to know each other will improve the quality of your team. By removing the stiff or formal element and working in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere, teams get to know one another’s skills and talents. This makes it easy to select people for roles that you know they are capable of handling.

Create a Culture of Teamwork

To make teamwork happen, these powerful actions must occur.

• Executive leaders communicate the clear expectation that teamwork and collaboration are expected. No one completely owns a work area or process all by himself. People who own work processes and positions are open and receptive to ideas and input from others on the team.

• Executives model teamwork in their interaction with each other and the rest of the organization. They maintain teamwork even when things are going wrong and the temptation is to slip back into former team unfriendly behavior.

• The organization members talk about and identify the value of a teamwork culture. If values are formally written and shared, teamwork is one of the key five or six.

• Teamwork is rewarded and recognized. The lone ranger, even if she is an excellent producer, is valued less than the person who achieves results with others in teamwork. Compensation, bonuses, and rewards depend on collaborative practices as much as individual contribution and achievement.

• Important stories and folklore that people discuss within the company emphasize teamwork. (Remember the year the capsule team reduced scrap by 20 percent?) People who “do well” and are promoted within the company are team players.

• The performance management system places emphasis and value on teamwork. Often 360 degree feedback is integrated within the system.

Skills for High Performance Teamwork

Basic Communication

• Learn how people’s perceptions and viewpoints differ.

• Learn the basics of face-to-face communication.

• Analyze the difference between one-way and two-way communication.

• Understand the skill of listening.

• Improve active listening skills.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Learn what feedback is.

• Discover how open or closed to giving and receiving feedback.

• Learn to give effective feedback to others.

• Learn how to receive live feedback from others.

• Practice giving and receiving live feedback from team members.

• Make a personal improvement plan to respond to team feedback.

Group Dynamics

Learn what group dynamic is.

• Experience and discuss group dynamics in action.

• Learn about group process and shared leadership.

• Determine what you can do personally to improve group process skills.

• Rate the team’s group process.

• Identify how the team will improve its group process.

Team Decision-Making

• Discuss barriers to group decision-making.

• Learn about methods of group decision-making.

• Practice consensus decision-making.

• Practice a group decision-making model.

• Identify how the team will improve its group decision-making.

• Review who is responsible for current team decisions.

• Identify team decision issues to be addressed.

• Discuss shifting to ideal team decision-making responsibilities.

Team Problem Solving

• Learn the challenges of group problem solving.

• Gain a working definition of problem solving.

• Create a model for group problem solving and how to use it.

• Learn how to do creative brainstorming.

• Learn how to use cause and affect diagrams to analyze problems.

• Analyze how well your team is set up for effective problem solving.

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• Learn the areas of group problem solving in which the team will improve.

Conflict Resolution

• Learn a definition of unhealthy conflict and how to keep from crossing over into it.

• Learn about the different conflict management styles.

• Use a model to help choose a response to potential conflict situations.

• Assess which conflict styles the most often use.

• Practice Step Model for resolving conflict.

• Decide how to modify your conflict style and how you will better handle your current conflicts.

Time Management

• Learn how currently using the time.

• Learn the barriers which keep from managing the time more effectively.

• Learn the difference between the important and the urgent, and how to schedule time for the important.

• Learn to set professional goals to guide your use of time.

• Create a systematic approach to managing daily events.

Enhanced task performance and synergy

‘Synergy is the effect that the combined return “whole” is greater than the sum of the individual parts’ (Sebastian Knoll, Cross-Business Synergies, page 14)

The phenomenon of Synergy within a Group or Team has become one of the most vital parts for an organization. People who work in groups are able to produce more efficiently and they confer greater quality of output than that produced by an individual and their productivity combined. Joint problem solving, variety in idea’s and knowledge, different views towards an issue and accomplishing difficult tasks are some of the factors added by synergy in groups.

To make utilize of synergy in groups managers need to make sure that, the group they put together comprise a variety of skills and talents which are diverse and corresponding but still relevant to the task, and being certain that these skills are coordinated efficiently. Managers should make sure that the groups achieve goals for the organization in their own way and enough independence is provided to solve problems.

Case studies about group dynamic and teamwork

In today’s competitive world where every organization is striving to gain the best position in the market the concept of Group Development and Teamwork are steadily gaining importance. Individual decision making has taken a back stage and paved the way for team management approach for problem solving and decision making which has been productive for the organizations. This strategy not only benefits the organization but also the individual employee, hence it’s been rapidly adopted by businesses.

McDonald

Management Professor Tracy McDonald also endorses the above facts that groups and teams take an organization to the next level of high performance and output through motivation, creativity and responsiveness and states that “The teamwork push probably started in business in the late 1970s or early ’80s with the advent of quality circles [employee problem-solving teams],” she says innovation, creativity and change have been some of the main drivers of team success and since the past 10 years, organizations have embraced this concept with welcoming hands.

Toyota motor

Yuki Funo the Chairman and CEO of Toyota motor, states that the “Toyota way is the way to number 1”. One of the principles of the Toyota way is to ‘add value to the organization by developing your people’ and people can be developed by molding them into exceptional individuals and teams to work within the corporate philosophy.

Facebook

Nippard B. creator a Facebook group (teamwork ladder) on teamwork states that “more than 80% of fortune 500 companies subscribe to teamwork. Teamwork brings success no matter how you define victory.”

Conclusion

Team oriented approach is the order of the day when it comes to successful organizations who have empowered their employees, motivated them and involved them in such a way that the existence of the organization wouldn’t have been possible without the existence of teams of such highly motivated individuals. Teamwork has bought the employee and the organization closer than ever. Problem solving, creativity, innovation and shared vision are as synonymous to teamwork as teamwork is to success. Although team building is a complex process and there are many challenges that hinder a team’s success, it can be concluded that “the team is the right organization for every task, the new orthodoxy and a reincarnation of the one-best-way”. (Drucker P. 1999)


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