Group & Organizational Dynamics
, Facilitator ORM 303
Work groups are a normal part of life whether personal or professional. Projects and decisions can be accomplished more effectively when working with a functioning group. Personalities, motivation, and leadership styles are all factors which play into the overall effectiveness of a work group. Effective leaders of teams utilize facilitation skills and manage roles to maximize productivity.
In today’s working world it is normal to be a member in a work group. It’s rare to see individuals not be a part of some sort of work group. Whether we go to work or serve on a church committee we have found working in groups can be difficult, but also be pleasing. There are many different types of groups: primary, casual and social, educational, and work groups. When looking at the types of groups, one can note certain similarities and differences. Social groups will interact differently than work groups, and the outcomes of their separate group interactions will be different. Primary groups consist of one’s family and closest friends. Tubbs reports the members of our primary groups are usually the most important people in our lives. Tubbs goes on to say although we sometimes develop deep friendship from associations on the job, in school, and so forth, family members usually remain our most significant others throughout our lives.(p.182). Casual and social groups include neighborhoods, bowling teams, and golfing foursomes. Belonging to casual and social groups fulfills a need for belongingness, while being excluded from such groups can actually cause physical pain. Educational groups also known as learning groups or enlightenment groups; are where members get together for study or instruction. Educational groups have changed in structure over the past ten years as online groups and discussion threads have become popular. There are new software programs that allow students to be broken into groups and provide online discussion. The discussions can take place over a week instead of in a two to three hour class period. There is much debate over the effectiveness of online classes and discussion groups, the classes are flexible and allow students to participate who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to join a traditional classroom course. Cohort 36 is an example of a nontraditional educational group. Time spent in meeting or work groups can be frequently criticized for not staying on task or being productive. It is important for the leader and/or the facilitator to keep the group focused and moving. Tubbs shared Lehrer’s comments about the ancient writers where Plato argued mankind is like a person driving a chariot pulled by two horses. The rational brain is the charioteer; it holds the reigns and decides where the horses should run. If the horses get out of control the charioteer uses the whip to change direction to the get the chariot back on track. One of the horses is well bred and behaves. The other horse is not so well behaved and tends to lead us astray, (pp. 284-285). It is easy to get away from the meeting’s agenda and discuss other things, going astray doesn’t usually result in accomplishing the goals. The group facilitator is somewhat like the charioteer, the facilitator’s role is to keep the group on task, monitor group dynamics and keep the group functioning at a healthy level. Coming up with body parts consisting of only three letters was the in-class exercise to depict the advantages of using a group in making decisions. When I completed the list of body parts alone, I came up with seven words. Once the group was formed and three of us were able to work together to complete a list, it was much simpler. For Brenda, a radiology technologist, this exercise was easy and the group was able to put all of our words together and came up with a list of fifteen words total. Another classroom...
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