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The Formation of Groups & Teams Essay

In this paper I will explain how and why teams and groups are formed, the different types of groups and effectiveness of work groups. The process of a group activity is the interaction and mutual influence among group members as they complete the group activity, communication, leadership, conflict, conflict resolutions and norms of behavior in the group. A group is two or more people who interact with each other to achieve certain goals or needs. The purpose is to accomplish the same goal using my skills, personalities, abilities and experiences to be more effective. “Group forming is a process and there are five stages for group development: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.” (Hunter, Dale, Bailey, Anne, Taylor, Bill, 1995). Some characteristics of work groups that influence or affect the way members behave in the area of group performance can include the group size, group composition, group function, group status, group efficacy and social facilitation.

Groups control their members with roles and rules. Role is the division of work among the group members. Rules are made to control group behavior. Work groups establish goals to achieve, using all members’ skills, abilities and experiences. I intend to explain about process loss and process gain. This includes the characteristics that contribute process gain and sources that influence process loss. For example, small groups are considered to be process gain, because it’s a small group, they have better communication and it’s easy to get to know each other better. “There are also sources of potential process loss. This can be social loafing, member negativity. It means sources that don’t permit to achieve the goals or achieving goals as expected or speculated” (Surviving the Group Project Within most groups certain elements of process loss are apparent, particularly the sucker effect, as Ill as aspects of process gains. Often both appear to be present and tend to balance each other. (Houlsworth, Mathews, 2000).

Most studies I found focused on determining whether work groups or individuals are more successful. Those studies said that work groups have more feedback than individuals, that people feel more comfortable in groups. Both can achieve the goals. Within my exploration of work groups it is essential that I investigate what groups really are. I will need to consider why groups are formed. Therefore, I will review the different types of groups and determine the purpose each serve. Additionally, I will take a glimpse at team development. There are multitudes of reasons for forming a group. Some groups are formed to provide security, which an example could be a neighborhood watch group. Others are formed for status or power such as political groups. Individuals can raise their self-esteem amongst other things in support groups. Additionally, groups many be formed to accomplish a task or for goal achievement.

“A group is a collection of two or more interacting individuals with a stable pattern of relationships who share common goals and who perceive themselves as being a group.” (Vandeveer, Menefee, & Sinclair, 2004). When exploring groups you are able to determine that there are two forms of groups including formal and informal. The formal groups are made up of command groups and task group. A company’s chain of command or hierarchy generally defines command groups and most often they are made up of individuals within the same departments. Tasks groups are formed with the intention of completing specific tasks. Informal groups are made up of interest groups and friendship groups. Interests groups include individuals that have a common interest and work together in regards to that issue. Groups that bond together and share similar characteristics are friendship groups.

“How you approach development of your team or group will differ depending on the nature of the group, its mission and what therefore they must address to operate effectively. A group’s understanding and application of this difference significantly enhances its developmental process. A group needs to establish what kind of group it is presently and what kind of group it aspires to be or to maintain.” (Kane, 1997). It is fundamental for effective group development that I explore group characteristics, which will inadvertently affect gains or losses. Groups will need to establish goals that will pave a road to success. Additionally, I need to explore team dynamics and determine the effects they may have upon groups. The next step within my exploration of group formation is to examine the goal process. By determining goals a work group can direct their pathway to success.

However, it is fundamental to a group’s success that they state and assess the goals they implement. Without goals, both good and poor performance can go unnoticed. Conversely, lack of meaningful goals can mean disaster for a group and or business. Individuals can end up doing their own thing, working at cross-purposes, or overlapping effort. This group will get the best results if my goals are in line with my personal values. When I develop my goals, I will expect the goals to be SMART. By this, I mean that they will be: “Specific” (Don’t want goals that are not understandable, Make them easy to read) “Measurable” (I want to be able to track where I are as far as meeting the goal) “Achievable” (Don’t make unrealistic goals that cannot be achieved) ‘Relevant” (Have goals that pertain to the task at hand) “Time bound” (Goals that can be reached in a given time frame, not something that is out of bounds). (Donohue). Goal setting however is more than simply scribbling down some ideas on a piece of paper.

Group goals need to be complete and focused, much like a road map to ensure that none of their goals contradict any of the other goals. Goals will need to be written positively and not negative. You need to put the goals down on paper. Written goals will create the roadmap to success. Reviewing goals daily is a crucial part of success and must become a part of a daily routine. Members of the group must practice being a group of one. By this, I mean that no individual is better than the other. Constructive criticism is sometimes the best educational tool. The group will need to follow through with commitments and offer assistance to group members in need of assistance and combine my vast knowledge and skills to solve problems. Encouraging cooperation and increasing productivity by sharing workload is another goal this team will achieve. Finally, keeping a consistent focus on my responsibilities and reviewing my goals routinely will assist this team in becoming successful.

When forming work groups it is essential that group dynamics is not over looked. Group dynamics can directly influence the success or failure of any group. Thinking of an organization and why it may or may not be successful in its business, you must look at the determining factors in business today and how the particular organization performs as a group or a team. A team can be defined as groups of individuals put together based on many individual strengths as well as abilities to perform specialized tasks that will contribute to the accomplishment of a company’s organizational goal. Team dynamics can be defined as unseen forces or behaviors, which indefinitely lead to the success of specialized tasks in the effort to achieve a company’s goal. You also need to know what type of affects teams are having or not having on the organizations goal of process gains now and in the near future.

In order to know this information let’s first understand what factors lead to the dynamics of a team: Personality and ability (Have I put my teams together based on strengths and weaknesses in these areas?) Team Roles and Goals (Are they realistic and achievable and most of all laid out to the point of no question?) Office Functionality (Are my team members placed for maximum performance and communication?) Technology and Processes (Are I providing my team with all of the necessary tools to complete their task effectively and efficiently while at the same time making sure they stay knowledgeable of their business and their role?) Organizational Culture (Are I providing an environment for my employees that leads to cohesiveness and desire to achieve the common goal of the team?) When teams are working together effectively and efficiently there will be less loss in the area of time and products.

If team knows what their common goals and purposes are, they will spend less time questioning and more time being productive. Having the necessary space configuration and technology will allow them to be more efficient in communication with each other as well as with their tasks. Providing an environment in which success is measured on many different levels will reconfirm an individual’s desire to achieve the common goal of the company. When you take all of these factors into consideration it is evident how the dynamics of a team can directly reflect the company’s process gains. Teams should be developed knowing that the above factors are going to determine if a team will be successful. If a company is not taking these factors into consideration then they are definitely dropping the ball. Employee’s happiness will directly affect their individual performances as well as the team.

Their attitude can affect their fellow team members causing a landslide effect on an organizational goal in either a positive or negative way. Since no two people are alike, each person in that organization has their own style and behavior. Therefore, for an organization to succeed, it is important for managers to recognize and understand the individual differences of their employees. These individual differences are divided in to two categories, personality differences and ability differences. Individual differences have a direct effect on behavior. People perceive things differently and respond differently to directives. Furthermore, different personalities interact differently with bosses, coworkers, subordinates and customers. Individual differences also help explain why some people embrace change in an organization and why others are fearful. It also explains why some employees are more productive unsupervised while others need more supervision.

Different jobs require different attributes; therefore, it is important that employees are selected to fill positions within an organization based on their skills, abilities, and individual attributes such as values and personality. For instance, type A personalities have a desire to achieve and thrive on getting a task done during crunch time, where a type B personality is much more laid back and relaxed. Managers have to ensure that placement of employees are in line with their personality. Doing so correctly will put the employee in a better and more comfortable situation to deal with the task and with others. Motivating employees during times of excessive workloads can be a challenge with limited resources available for monetary reward, it is essential to have a firm understanding of our employee’s needs and job attitudes. Goal setting may be the first step in motivating employees. Clear communication of what to expect in the near future is important. You need to explain exactly what the work situation will be and what my expectations are. This gives groups time to prepare for the increased workload and possible overtime hours.

There are many other motivators, both extrinsic and intrinsic, that can be even more rewarding to employees than money. Time off if goals are met in a timely and efficient manor can be very effective. The promise of a more flexible schedule, when the workload permits, can also be effective. You can never underestimate the power of a nice “pat-on-the-back”. This gives a feeling of importance and significance within the job. It also increases the sense of job security the employee feels. These are a few of the motivators I will use to keep our marketing department running smoothly in the coming weeks. Continuing open and honest communication with my assistant is, in my opinion, the best motivator. There are several types of resistance to change within organizations.

One main reason organizations find difficulty in implementing change is the organizational inertia that occurs when some members, at any level, of the organization maintain the Status Quo. (George & Jones 2005) At the organization level, power and conflict, differences in functional orientation, mechanistic structure, and organizational culture are most influential. Power, conflict, and differences in functional orientation arise when cross-functional change is desired. Power and conflict concentrates on the resistance that occurs when one department or functions gain due to another department or function loss. This conflict can slow or eliminate any change from taking place. The differences in functional orientation causes resistance and increases organizational inertia because of a departments or functions inability or unwillingness to recognize the effects problems have on other departments or functions. Reaching an agreement on the source of problems takes time and effort, slowing the implementation of change.

The mechanistic structure tends to keep people from improving skills and developing creativity. This environment encourages resistance because the common behavior of this structure is to maintain rules and procedures already in place. The organizational culture fosters resistance due to the upsetting of the understood and reasonable values and norms of the organization. Changes disrupt the routines of people. Therefore, these values and norms that generally support the status quo are also disrupted. (George & Jones 2005) At the group level four main characteristics that create resistance to change are; group norms, group cohesiveness, groupthink and escalation of commitment. The group norms, like the organizational culture, are understood and reasonable behaviors and roles within the group. Upsetting these norms changes the relationships of group members.

Group cohesiveness can produce resistance to change because of the fact that members may see themselves as the organizational elite. They maintain the desire to stay at that level. Groupthink and escalation of commitment resist change because at this point the group is no longer in alignment with the organizational goals. Members will agree on issues and continue down the wrong path to serve their own best interests and agenda. (George & Jones 2005) At the individual level, three main sources of resistance to change are; uncertainty, selective perception, and force of habit. Uncertainty brings resistance because of the individual’s insecurities about the end result. Undesirable behavior may result from the individual’s effort to resist the change. Selective perception, as a characteristic of resistance, is the way a person sees how change affects only them. If there is no personal gain resistance can result. Force of habit is a person’s tendency to revert back to previous familiar behavior.

This characteristic defeats the effectiveness of change. (George & Jones 2005) One type of resistance to change that can come from organizational structure or culture is Total Quality Management (TQM). Moving to TQM is like any other organizational change. It must be managed effectively, and leaders of the change must take into account aspects of the organization’s current culture. In fact, although TQM brings a number of benefits to those in the organization, you can expect some people to be cynical and resistant to change. Let’s face it. Everyone in government has seen management fads come and go. However, a well managed TQM organizational change is likely to bring most if not all people on side over time. Any change and its attached benefits will take longer to realize than you expect. Typically, it may take as long as two or three years to have TQM working at its peak. Regardless of the objective nature of the change, some people will resist it because it is unfamiliar.

TQM must be introduced so that it maximizes people’s enthusiasm and minimizes resistance. Changes will succeed or fail based on the ability of the leaders to lead. People will take their cues about TQM from the management. If management show that they are committed, employees will become so if management waffle, hedge, and/or back off, then employees will see this as just more rhetoric of little importance. The primary mistake managers make is that they become inconsistent. Perhaps most of the time, their thinking and actions reflect the principles of TQM, however not all the time. This tells employees that the manager is not serious. So, as soon as a manager suggests that a poor product or service be delivered, there is an instant lack of credibility. Consistency also means including employees in the planning of TQM activities, treating employees as the manager’s customers, and a number of other things.

When presenting or dealing with TQM changes it is important that managers highlight and focus on the benefits to the other people in the organization. People will embrace changes that they see are in their own self-interest. The change will be accepted or rejected based on the effectiveness of the communication about it. Communication must be frequent, of a two-way nature, and balanced (both positives and negatives). It must begin as early as possible in the process to be effective. TQM is the way of managing for the future, and is far wider in its application than just assuring product or service quality. It is a way of managing people and business processes to ensure complete customer satisfaction at every stage, internally and externally. TQM, combined with effective leadership, results in an organization doing the right things right, the first time. The final area I must consider is process gains and losses. I will examine these processes and the key things that attribute to results in those areas. It is fundamental that work groups consider the characteristics within a group that can inadvertently affect the outcome they are seeking.

The potential for process loss comes from social loafing, free riding, the sucker effect, withdrawing, low norm setting and the relative proportion of anxious/moody members to stable/self confident members in a group. On the other hand, the potential for process gain comes from cohesiveness combined with positive normative influence. (Houldsworth, B., Mathews, B. 2000) As tasks interdependence moves from pooled to sequential to reciprocal interdependence, the potential for process losses increases because identifying individual performances and coordination becomes more difficult.

The potential for process gains also increases as task interdependence becomes more complex (George, Jones, 2005). Then comes the synergy, a type of process gain that occurs when members of a group acting together are able to produce more or better output than would have been produced by the combined efforts of each person acting alone (George, Jones 2005). Process gains cause the potential performance of a group to rise as they enhance group effectiveness (George, Jones, 2005). Some characteristics of the team likely to contribute to the goal of process gains:

Create a clear goal
Small groups
Encourage the team
Mutual trust
External support
Identify ways to improve groups’ motivation and coordination
Process loss means performance difficulties that a group experiences because of coordination and motivation problems. Process losses are an important factor when a group’s actual performance falls short of its potential performance (George, Jones, 2005). Some sources of potential process losses:

Social loafing
High level of negativity
Dominance by one member
Mistaking silence for support
Lack of clarity, members aren’t sure of their purpose, goals and approach
Large groups

I’ve explained how groups are formed, some characteristics of the work groups that affect performance, and the way groups can delegate to maintain control and concentration on achieving that one organizational goal. Groups are formed with the intention of completing the task of maintaining the company goals of process losses. Understanding the group will give you the ability to focus on the task at hand. It is very important to determine the type of group to develop a mission and a plan of attack on how they are going to approach this goal. Without this knowledge they may struggle in their efforts due to lack of knowledge and direction in their actions. I understand that at all levels of a task groups are going to experience such things as an unwillingness to perform based on belief in the common goal as well as I now understand that process gain will come from the ability to have cohesiveness in all of my actions.

Team dynamics directly affect the ability to achieve these goals. Individuals have to be considered for their roles as team players very carefully. The individual’s strengths and weaknesses have to be considered to assure they are being set up for success. Then you have to make sure they understand their roles and goals, have the necessary technology in place for them to perform at a maximum level even with office functionality, and then provide them with an environment in which they will desire to accomplish the company goal. The next step is to establish the necessary goals for the task group that is now put together with the necessary people in the positions in which they will be able to function, giving the team the cohesiveness needed to accomplish the maintaining of process losses over the next three months.

These goals are based on the SMART concept which means you will keep the goals Specific, make them Measurable to ensure productivity, Achievable to ensure personal victory, Relevant to the specific goal, and Time Bound to ensure success. Setting goals are key to the success of any team. I have determined that as a task group I will now be able to put in writing my goals for my team in which I have composed based on the knowledge of the different internal and external factors that will relate to team dynamics. Now I will be able to analyze my areas in which I may experience process loss, set new goals, and move my company towards the ultimate achieving of its organizational goal.


Houldworth, Chris, Mathews, Brian (2000), Group Composition, Performance and Educational Attainment, Education & Training. London: 2000. Vol. 42, Iss. Periodical.

Hunter, Dale, Bailey, Anne, Taylor, Bill (1995), The Handbook for People Meeting with a Purpose: The Zen of Groups. Fisher Books.
Surviving the Group Project: A Note on Working in Teams

George, J.M. & Jones, G.R. (2005) Understanding and Managing Organizational Behavior, 4th ed, Prentice-Hall, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey

Kane, M. 1997. How to Distinguish the Important Differences Between Teams and Work Groups.

Vandeveer, Menefee, Sinclair. 2004. Chapter 8 PoIr Point

Donohue, Gene. Goal Setting. PoIrful Written Goals in 7 Easy Steps.

Human Resmyces at MIT. Important Steps When Building a new Team.

Wittenbaum, G.M. (Oct. 1, 2003). Putting Communication into the Study of Group Memory. Human Communication Research. Vol. 29, No.4,
Proquest Psychology Journals, pg. 616.

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