Group Management Organizations Are More Complex Term Paper

Pages: 5 (2115 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Leadership

¶ … Group Management

Organizations are more complex and unwieldy than ever before, and innovations in telecommunications and information technology have created an environment in which new business models are emerging every day. Because all organizations are comprised of people, it is important for human resource professionals to understand how group dynamics operate in the business world today, of course, but it is also important for virtually anyone who works in an organization to understand these processes as well. To gain some further insights into effective group management, this paper provides a review of the relevant literature to identify the importance of understanding group dynamics in the business world, the effectiveness of groups and individuals in work environments, an overview of group cohesiveness and its importance, followed by an analysis of effect of social influence/interaction on decision-making. A discussion concerning the importance of leaders in group settings and an assessment of the relative effectiveness of work groups compared to teams is followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion


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Term Paper on Group Management Organizations Are More Complex and Assignment

It is reasonable to suggest that everyone works in an organization at some point in their lives, and understanding how group dynamics operate can help people achieve their personal and professional goals. For example, according to Phan, Rivera, Volker and Garrett (2004), "Group dynamics are complex and powerful social processes that impact group members in a way that is unlike dyadic interplays. Thus, the power and effectiveness of groups and particular components of groups, such as group dynamics, can be useful tools in professional and personal development" (p. 234). These authorities note that it was Kurt Lewin who is generally credited with establishing the movement to study groups from a scientific perspective; Lewin used the term "dynamic" in order to communicate the powerful impact that social processes can have on individual group members (Phan et al., 2004). As Lewin phrased it, "These social processes include 'the interdependence of people in groups ... A group's capacity to promote social interaction, create patterned interrelationships among its members, bind members together to form a single unit, and accomplish its goals'" (quoted in Phan et al., 2004, p. 234). Not surprisingly, positive interdependence can help to achieve mutual goals when group members are able to rely on each other and interact in mutually assistive ways, but it is also important to note that the studies of groups to date must be viewed as being general rather than specific because research about groups is not always valid and relevant. For instance, Olson (1999) emphasizes that, "While the work group is a productive unit of analysis, groups differ significantly from one another. Similarly, group work should not be treated as a unitary phenomenon since what holds true of some types of groups does not apply to others" (p. 93). Despite these delimiting constraints, it is clear that groups are how organizations accomplish their goals and achieve a competitive advantage is directly related to how effective these groups and their individual members are in the workplace and these issues are discussed further below.


Effectiveness of groups and individuals in work environments.

To the extent that groups are made up of individual members who work toward a common goal will likely be the extent to which they are effective. Probably everyone has been a member of a group in which some members assumed responsibility for the lion's share of the work for any number of reasons, though, and these groups can be viewed as less effective than their counterparts in which all members share the workload and contribute to its goals. According to Biech (2001), when groups of people work together in a collaborative and cooperative fashion, it provides both the framework as well as the opportunity for the following positive outcomes:

1. Meeting the primary social relationship and support needs for all members of the work group;

2. Providing work group members a view of the organization, its structure and goals; and,

3. Allowing work group members to connect with other organizational segments as well as the organization as a whole (Biech, 2001, p. 381).

Taken together, the foregoing positive outcomes represent a measure of the effectiveness of groups and the individual members. In this regard, Biech adds that, "Given these important functions, the degree to which work groups operate effectively is a critical determinant of the overall effectiveness of the organization" (2001, p. 381). One of the most important factors that can contribute to or diminish the effectiveness of groups and its individual members is group cohesiveness which is discussed further below.


Overview of group cohesiveness and its importance.

The importance of group cohesiveness cannot be overstated. As Michaelson, Knight and Fink (2002) emphasize, "The tremendous power of team-based learning is derived from a single factor: the high level of cohesiveness that can be developed within learning groups. In other words, the effectiveness of team-based learning is based on the fact that it nurtures the development of high levels of group cohesiveness that, in turn, results in a wide variety of other positive outcomes" (p. 27). The degree of cohesiveness in a group will invariably shape the group processes that take place because high levels of group cohesiveness are based on mutual trust, respect and recognition (Michaelson et al., 2002). It is therefore possible to nurture and increase group cohesiveness by recognizing the group dynamics that are in place and taking steps to build on its strengths and resolve its weaknesses, particularly as they relate to the foregoing issues. Because there is always room for improvement in a group, this examination should be an ongoing and iterative process rather than a static effort made at a given point in the group's existence. In this regard, Kruppa and Meda (2005) emphasize that, "Being attentive to group dynamics is critical to any stage of group development. Even when a group has been together for a long time, dynamics are always changing" (p. 56). The group dynamics at work will also help identify the effective of social influence and interaction on the decision-making process, and these issues are discussed further below.


The effect of social influence/interaction on decision-making?

Just as everyone wears a number of different "hats" as they progress through life and indeed, in their day-to-day lives, group members may assume different roles in order to influence their fellow members in the decision-making process. According to Biech, group members tend to assume various social roles in an effort to influence the actions of other group members, and she identifies three major classes of roles as follows:

1. Those necessary to accomplish a task;

2. Those necessary to increase the supportive climate and cohesion of the group; and,

3. Those necessary to satisfy their personal needs.

In order to encourage other group members to accept another group member's proposed decision, it is important to convince them that the proposed outcome is in their best interests as well as the organization's best interests while avoiding perceptions of motivations based purely on self-interest. For instance, according to Biech, "These three general classes are group task roles, group maintenance roles, and individual roles and effective team functioning requires a balance of the first two roles and a minimization of the last" (2001, p. 381).


Importance of leaders in group settings.

It is one thing for a military leader to yell "Charge!" And sit back while his or her troops attack the enemy and quite another for him or her to issue the command, "Follow me!" In the same fashion, the need for effective group leaders is paramount to ensuring its effectiveness in achieving organizational goals. While some group members are designated leaders by superiors, in other cases they emerge on their own by virtue of individual expertise or experience, or simply because they are "natural-born leaders." While the debate over nature vs. nurture continues, it is clear that some individuals fit this description whether their style is charismatic, transformational, transactional or otherwise. When group members perceive their leader as being competent and knowledgeable, they are much more likely to "buy in" to the direction the leader establishes, thereby contributing to group cohesiveness and the overall effectiveness of the group. For instance, according to Biech (2001), "The primary work group is the most important element or subsystem of any organization, and the team leader or manager is the linking pin between that primary group and the rest of the organization" (p. 381). Truly great group leaders are able to inspire and motivate others in ways that may not be possible otherwise. In this regard, Kruppa and Meda emphasize that flexibility in leadership style is the key to success: "Like jazz, much depends on improvisation. At times, individuals perform in the limelight; at other times the group plays almost in dissonance. In jazz, both are valued. The jazz bandleader and the group process or team leader can skillfully draw the best out of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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