A social process by which people interacts with each other in small group is known as group dynamics. The word dynamic is Greek word which means study of forces operating within a group for the social interaction. Interaction in small group is not always governed by rules and regulations and conventions. In these small groups social relations between persons may play an important role in communication. The Word Dynamics means force. The term group dynamics refers to the forces operating wide in groups for social interest.
The investigation of group dynamics consists of a study of these forces and the conditions modifying them. The practical application of group dynamics consists of the utilisation of knowledge about these forces for the achievement of some purpose. Group dynamics is the combination of the certain techniques to be used within groups.
One common way to classify group is by whether they are formal or informal in nature.
Formal work groups are established by an organization to achieve organizational goals. Formal groups may take the form of command groups, task groups, and functional groups.
Formal & Informal groups: Formal groups are created and maintained to fulfil specific needs related to the overall organizational mission: a. Designed by Top management for achieving organizational goals b. Concentrates more on the performance of job c. People are placed in hierarchy and their status determined accordingly d. Co-ordination of members are controlled through process, procedures etc Informal Groups are created in the organization because of social and psychological forces operating at the workplace.
A natural outcome at the work place & not designed and planned b. Organization is coordinated by group norms and not by norms of the formal organization c. Such group associations are not specified in the blue-print of the formal organization
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 an academic department chairman and the faculty members in that department.
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 the proposal of a motivational contest. 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. Project groups are similar to ad hoc committees and normally disband after the group completes the assigned task. Standing committees are more permanent than ad hoc committees and project groups. They maintain longer life spans by rotating members into the group.
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.
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 an exercise group, a softball team, or a potluck lunch once a month.
A reference group is a type of group that people use to evaluate themselves. According to Cherrington, the main purposes of reference groups are 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. By comparing themselves with other members, individuals are able to assess whether their behaviour is acceptable and whether their attitudes and values are right or wrong. Reference groups are different from the previously discussed groups because they may not actually meet or form voluntarily. For example, the reference group for a new employee of an organization may be a group of employees that work in a different department or even a different organization.
Family, friends, and religious affiliations are strong reference groups for most individuals.
Following are some of the factors which influence Team and Group Dynamics. The factors are as follows:
The country and geographic region form a larger culture in which the organization operates. All of these contribute to the economic, political, technical, and cultural climates in which the organization, the team, and the individuals operate.
The kind of organization, such as business, or non-profit, along with the organizational culture will influence the team functioning just as much as the division of the organization such as sales, research, operations, etc.
Teams have an identity of their own. This identity stems from the interrelationship of the larger culture, the organizational culture, the team configuration, the nature of the work (purpose), and the qualities of the individuals. It is not the sum of the types, or preferences, or temperaments of the team members.
There are many kinds of teams including ad hoc, project, executive, management, committees, and so on. Each team has a charter to fulfil a certain role in the organization. Team dynamics is heavily influenced by the nature and purpose of the work to be done by the team.
Within this mix of influences are the individual team members who likely have specific kinds of work to perform and specific roles on the team. Individual members influence the team dynamics as well, so much so that when the composition of the team changes, the team dynamics will change.