What is Group?
It is a collection of two or more interacting individuals with a stable pattern of relationship between them, who share common goals and who perceive themselves as being a group.
Group Development Process/ Stages:
Stage 1 Forming
There is high dependence on leader for guidance and direction. Little agreement on team aims other than received from leader. Individual roles and responsibilities are unclear. Leader must be prepared to answer lots of questions about the team’s purpose, objectives and external relationships. Processes are often ignored. Members test tolerance of system and leader. Leader directs (similar to Situational Leadership® ‘Telling’ mode).
Stage 2 storming
Decisions don’t come easily within group. Team members vie for position as they attempt to establish themselves in relation to other team members and the leader, who might receive challenges from team members. Clarity of purpose increases but plenty of uncertainties persist. Cliques and factions form and there may be power struggles. The team needs to be focused on its goals to avoid becoming distracted by relationships and emotional issues. Compromises may be required to enable progress. Leader coaches (similar to Situational Leadership ‘Selling’ mode).
Stage 3 norming
Agreement and consensus largely forms among the team, who respond well to facilitation by leader. Roles and responsibilities are clear and accepted. Big decisions are made by group agreement. Smaller decisions may be delegated to individuals or small teams within group. Commitment and unity is strong. The team may engage in fun and social activities. The team discusses and develops its processes and working style. There is general respect for the leader and some of leadership is more shared by the team. Leader facilitates and enables (similar to the Situational Leadership® ‘Participating’ mode).
Stage 4 performing
The team is more strategically aware; the team knows clearly why it is doing what it is doing. The team has a shared vision and is able to stand on its own feet with no interference or participation from the leader. There is a focus on over-achieving goals, and the team makes most of the decisions against criteria agreed with the leader.
The team has a high degree of autonomy. Disagreements occur but now they are resolved within the team positively, and necessary changes to processes and structure are made by the team. The team is able to work towards achieving the goal, and also to attend to relationship, style and process issues along the way. Team members look after each other. The team requires delegated tasks and projects from the leader. The team does not need to be instructed or assisted. Team members might ask for assistance from the leader with personal and interpersonal development.
Stage 5 adjourning
Adjourning is the break-up of the group, hopefully when the task is completed successfully, its purpose fulfilled; everyone can move on to new things, feeling good about what’s been achieved. From an organizational perspective, recognition of and sensitivity to people’s vulnerabilities in Tuckman’s fifth stage is helpful, particularly if members of the group have been closely bonded and feel a sense of insecurity or threat from this change.
Types of Groups
One way to classify the groups is by way of formality – formal and informal.
Formal groups are established by an organization to achieve its goals, informal groups merge spontaneously. Formal groups may take the form of command groups, task groups, and functional groups.
- Command Groups
Command groups are specified by the organizational chart and often consist of a supervisor and the subordinates that report to that supervisor. An example of a command group is a market research firm CEO and the research associates under him.
- Task Groups
Task groups consist of people who work together to achieve a common task. Members are brought together to accomplish a narrow range of goals within a specified time period. Task groups are also commonly referred to as task forces. The organization appoints members and assigns the goals and tasks to be accomplished.
Examples of assigned tasks are the development of a new product, the improvement of a production process, or designing the syllabus under semester system.
Other common task groups are ad hoc committees, project groups, and standing committees. Ad hoc committees are temporary groups created to resolve a specific complaint or develop a process are normally disbanded after the group completes the assigned task.
- Functional Groups
A functional group is created by the organization to accomplish specific goals within an unspecified time frame. Functional groups remain in existence after achievement of current goals and objectives. Examples of functional groups would be a marketing department, a customer service department, or an accounting department.
In contrast to formal groups, informal groups are formed naturally and in response to the common interests and shared values of individuals. They are created for purposes other than the accomplishment of organizational goals and do not have a specified time frame. Informal groups are not appointed by the organization and members can invite others to join from time to time.
Informal groups can have a strong influence in organizations that can either be positive or negative. For example, employees who form an informal group can either discuss how to improve a production process or how to create shortcuts that jeopardize quality. Informal groups can take the form of interest groups, friendship groups, or reference groups.
- Interest Groups
Interest groups usually continue over time and may last longer than general informal groups. Members of interest groups may not be part of the same organizational department but they are bound together by some other common interest.
The goals and objectives of group interests are specific to each group and may not be related to organizational goals and objectives. An example of an interest group would be students who come together to form a study group for a specific class.
- Friendship Groups
Friendship groups are formed by members who enjoy similar social activities, political beliefs, religious values, or other common bonds. Members enjoy each other’s company and often meet after work to participate in these activities. For example, a group of employees who form a friendship group may have a yoga group, a Rajasthani association in Delhi, or a kitty party lunch once a month.
- Reference Groups
A reference group is a type of group that people use to evaluate themselves. The main objectives of reference groups are to seek social validation and social comparison. Social validation allows individuals to justify their attitudes and values while social comparison helps individuals evaluate their own actions by comparing themselves to others. Reference groups have a strong influence on members’ behavior. Such groups are formed voluntarily. Family, friends, and religious affiliations are strong reference groups for most individuals.
- Primary groups are clusters of people like families or close friendship circles where there is close, face-to-face and intimate interaction. There is also often a high level of interdependence between members. Primary groups are also the key means of socialization in society, the main place where attitudes, values and orientations are developed and sustained.
- Secondary groups are those in which members are rarely, if ever, all in direct contact. They are often large and usually formally organized. Trades unions and membership organizations such as the National Trust are examples of these. They are an important place for socialization, but secondary to primary groups.