Group Dynamics and Yheir Specified Roles and Functions

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Groups Dynamics and their Specified Roles and Functions
Within any group, there are many roles making up the list generally included when considering group dynamics. All these roles are helpful to the success of the team, but there are some that are absolutely necessary for the team to accomplish its mission. These roles are being played out in many different groups. This paper will focus on teams in the workplace and the roles that are a necessity for success. According to Benne and Sheats, there are two main categories of roles in group dynamics (1948, Functional Roles of Group Members). These are Task roles and Maintenance Roles. Task roles are helpful in making sure the group stays focused on the given assignment. Maintenance roles, on the other hand, deal with the connections and rapport that team members build upon and help keep the group cohesive. Each of these main categories contains subordinates. For Task Roles, there are: The Initiator, The Information seeker/giver, The Opinion seeker/giver, The Elaborator, The Coordinator, The Orienteer, The Evaluator, The Energizer, The Procedural Technician, and The Recorder. Maintenance Roles include: The Encourager, The Harmonizer, The Compromiser, The Gatekeeper, The Standard Setter, The Commentator, and The Follower. Although these ideas were set forth in 1948, they still hold true for today's group dynamics.

It is important in examining the roles in group dynamics to elaborate on each role. The Initiator is the person in the group who is going to bring fresh mental material to the table. This person is going to be of significant help in brainstorming sessions. The Information Seeker/Giver is the sage of the group, helping to simplify key issues. The Opinion Seeker/Giver brings to the group a sense of duty and standards. The Elaborator is the person who illuminates the others through illustration. The Coordinator is usually a well-organized person who will help "gel" the proposals of the team. The Orienteer is like the steering mechanism for the group helping guide and maneuver on their way to the finish line. The Evaluator takes the common sense approach to assessing the team's progress. While The Energizer is the booster that many people need when they hit a creativity road block, begin to get bogged down, or begin succumbing to the complexity or outright difficulty of the task assigned to the group. The Procedural Technician is always there to perform those mundane but necessary tasks others avoid. Finally, there is The Recorder. This is the person who will do as the name implies, record the group's findings and debates.

Next, is to look at the Maintenance Roles. These include The Encourager. This is the member of the group who generates cohesiveness by objectifying differing viewpoints among the group. The Harmonizer helps smooth out disagreements. The Compromiser solves discord through splitting differences in solutions equally. The Gatekeeper is the one to make sure everyone in the group stays involved. The Standard Setter looks long and hard at group methods and the caliber of their results. The Commentator is ready with an opinion on the function and evolution of the group. Lastly, there is the Follower. This is unfortunately where many people fall in large groups. Followers simply become inactive and do not truly contribute to the group according to Benne and Sheats (Benne and Sheats, 1948). Of these, there are three that are tantamount to the success of the team. These are "The Initiator, The Orienteer, and The Energizer...because they are goal-directed roles" (Benne and Sheats). Without The Initiator bringing new challenges to the table, the team will likely stagnate and begin to splinter. This can be good and bad. The upside is that a non-productive team may splinter into smaller teams that will become more efficient and begin the problem-solving process again. The downside is that this can cause hurt feelings and animosity in the workplace because of...
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