Function of Groups in Business

Topics: Leadership, American football, Kurt Lewin Pages: 6 (2303 words) Published: May 14, 2011
The Function of Groups in Business|


In an age when global economics is a household term and corporations span continents, the importance of understanding group dynamics is paramount to economic success. Group dynamics is the social science that focuses on advancing knowledge about the nature of group life. In studying group dynamics you are about to look at the behavior of group and how the group develops. Businesses today have decreased their workforce and achieved higher productivity from small groups. The effectiveness of small groups has influenced how businesses design and launch products, conduct research and training, and communicate with other departments in the company. Equally important is to understand how the group interacts with other groups and larger entities. This is a key component in the business world as it can give you direct insight to your target audience. One example of how businesses research group dynamics is product testing. After a product has been developed, businesses begin testing that product in various markets. These markets are strategically chosen by the groups and classes that operate inside it. Fast food restaurants use this method exclusively when deciding to add new menu items. McDonald’s is one of the leading forces in this area of product development. When introducing the chicken biscuit to their breakfast menu, they began the process of market research. While researching markets, they sought out geographic locations for limited introductions. Implementing knowledge of group dynamics gave them direct insight to optimum demographic locations for the items positive acceptance. Some of the questions and issues to be addressed were the overall desire for poultry, the various items individuals and groups eat for breakfast, and if the customer base has described a need or desire for the item in their market. Once these and other questions are answered, McDonald’s compiled all the data and made a decision of releasing the chicken biscuit for a limited time. This menu item was released during the summer months in southern states, on the east coast, and also the upper Midwestern states (Clifford, 2008). After a period of months McDonald’s removed the item from the menu in those locations and chose another set of locations to introduce the product. After a nationwide introduction the company decided to make the chicken biscuit a permanent menu item in certain demographic locations. They chose the locations to place the product directly using their information gathered from groups and their understanding of the dynamics within those groups. Positive interdependence is extremely vital to groups achieving their mutual goals. Positive interdependence, as defined by our text, is “when a situation is structured so individuals’ goal achievements are positively correlated, individuals perceive that they can reach their goals if and only if the others in the group also reach their goals” (Johnson & Johnson, 2009, p 91). It is, simply put, cooperation from members of a specific group to continually work towards their individual goals. In doing this the team members believe that every individual must meet his goals for group to be successful. When all team members are focused on achieving the goals of the group, their individual actions will be directed toward a successful outcome. Group research, although widely used and accepted, is not always an accurate or valid research tool. The first reason it is not always valid is the total number groups or customers polled or questioned in reference to the product. When conducting market research companies can only select a small portion of their potential customers for feedback. Companies attempt to capture a cross-sectional sample (Kotler & Armstrong, 2010), consisting of a diverse mix of consumers, but the system is not infallible and may consist of less than 1% of their potential customer base. The...
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