Organizations and Group Behavior

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Organizations and Group Behavior
Audrey A. Schanning
MGT 415: Group Behavior in Organizations
Margaret Browne
October 18, 2010

Many companies have embraced executive coaching and mentoring as their main approaches to promote development initiatives. But in today’s businesses these do not address the real-world, group dynamics that executives must contend with. Behavior within a group in the organization can be influenced by group dynamics, interactions, group cohesiveness, the work environment, social influences, and leadership. We will explore each of these elements of group behavior within an organization. Groups Dynamics

“Group dynamics is the area of social science that focuses on advancing knowledge about the nature of group life” (Johnson & Johnson, 2009, pg.1). Understanding group dynamics in the business world allows companies to change their focus and production to meet the new challenges of a global market. Companies today, rely on teams of employees to help develop, design and initiate new products. Not only do these teams work together in the same location, they are able to work across the country or around the world. Group dynamics can also enhance leadership development. Group based leadership requires leaders to work in unison so they may develop executive skill sets, tackle real-world challenges in real time, provide one another with high-value feedback, and enhance their interpersonal communications. Achieving Mutual Goals through Positive Interdependence

“Positive interdependence exists when one perceives that one is linked with others in a way that one cannot succeed unless they do [and vice versa] and/or that one must coordinate one’s efforts with the efforts of others to complete a task” (Johnson, 2003; Johnson & Johnson, 1989). There are nine types of positive interdependence which may help a group to achieve their mutual goals. Some are Positive Goal Interdependence that helps each individual realize that they can achieve their goals only when all members achieve theirs. Positive Celebration/Reward Interdependence occurs when the group has achieved their mutual goal and they celebrate and receive a joint reward for their group success. Positive Outside Enemy Interdependence is when groups are pitted against each other and compete to achieve the same goal. They then rely on one another (feel interdependent) as they attempt to beat their competition. Positive Resource Interdependence requires members to interact and share their resources to be able to finish their mutual task. Each member comes to the group with a piece of information that is pertinent to achieving their goals. Positive Task Interdependence takes place in the group when each member is assigned a specific task and is only able to complete their when other members complete theirs first, so each member relies on the other to be responsible. In order to complete a joint task each member of the team is given corresponding and interrelated roles that have specific responsibilities that the group needs is referred to as Positive Role Interdependence. As we see with these terms and definitions, interdependence is the necessary key that creates the need for mutual goals in groups. Groups and Research

In the field of group dynamics, Kurt Lewin and Alvin Zander performed many field experiments in their research of group dynamics. Unlike Zander, Kurt Lewin often created groups explicitly for his research. “Their studies help the generalization of results or one aspect of external validity” (Forsyth, 2006, pg. 84). It is said that research about groups is not always valid and relevant because it has to be decided whether the decisions by a group are low or high quality. Many decisions are not possible to evaluate objectively in terms of their success or failure because their long-term effects cannot be fully measured. Also, we must assume that the decision makers are always...
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