Group Theories at Work

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Group Theories at Work
How do groups function? This is the question that many ask when trying to explain why groups are important to work environments, and why individuals seem to work better when in a group. The theories that try to explain the behavior of groups are varied and complex. One of the simplest theories is the 4-M Model of Leadership Effectiveness. This theory states that there are four basic functions of leadership within groups. These functions are “Modeling leadership behavior, Motivating members, Managing group process, and Making decisions,” (Engleberg & Wynn, p. 189). Each of these roles is vital in the effective leadership of a group.

Mardel, Inc. is a retail business which specializes in Christian based teacher resources, music, gifts, and books. The company has the typical retail structure of a store manager, assistant manager, department managers, and employees. One thing that is different about this retail company is that there is no perpetual inventory system. This means that when products are purchased, there is no system which tracks the sale of inventory. Every week, the employees of Mardel must make a visual inspection of inventory and check it against a list of each product that should be on the shelves. This system gives employees hands on knowledge of every product in a particular department. Because this is a weekly process, every employee is given a particular section within his or her department to order. It is that employee’s responsibility to keep that section well stocked.

This structure of inventory control makes it necessary for department managers to set an example for the employees to follow. This is where the 4-M Model of leadership theory comes into practice. Each of the four functions of leadership are necessary to an effective department team. The first element is modeling leadership behavior. This element is necessary because when employees see a manager not following policy or acting in an unprofessional...
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