Understand How Groups Develop and Function

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How groups develop and function

This essay examines and explains how groups develop and function. Groups are a fundamental part of our lives from social to professional, from large to small, depending on their particular environment.

Theories and models on group work practice
There are different theories that help us understand how group works.

Tuckman’s theory
Dr Bruce Tuckman published his Forming Storming Norming Performing model in 1965. He added a fifth stage, Adjourning, in the 1970s. Tuckman’s theory does work in new and small groups rather than big, as it is easier to follow, observe and evaluate individual members. The facilitator can easily identify the stages the group is at, and from here he/she can lead the group to the next stage. I would associate Tuckman’s theory more with the Co-operative style of leadership, because when the group comes together, everyone has the chance to share their ideas and responsibilities. Team members’ behaviour towards each other is more open and supportive and working practice more fully reflects true teamwork. Trust and motivation is built between team members. Everyone agrees on methods and plans which will lead to achieving the set goals. Team roles are been formed too.

Douglas Theory
Douglas McGregor is the creator of the theory X and theory Y. The two theories are opposite to each other. Theory X being the pessimistic as the employee does not like work and tries to escape it whenever possible and has little or no ambition of achieving the company goals. Employee needs a directive leader. Theory X leader is results-driven, intolerant, distant, poor listener, demands, etc. Companies with Theory X leadership will usually have poor results.

Theory Y is described as the optimistic model because the employee is more relaxed and can use own initiative. He/she is committed and loyal to the company and can take on responsibilities. Theory Y gives the opportunity of more leaders to be created. On the other side, Theory Y might be difficult to be put in practice in big mass productions where more control is needed. From the both theories we can conclude that staff will contribute more to the organisation if they are treated as responsible and valued employees.

Belbin Team Role Theory

“A team is not a bunch of people with job titles, but a congregation of individuals, each of whom has a role which is understood by other members. Members of a team seek out certain roles and they perform most effectively in the ones that are most natural to them.” Dr. R. M. Belbin

Belbin identifies nine team roles. Each team role is associated with typical behavioural and interpersonal strengths, allowable and non-allowable weaknesses that also accompany the team roles. The nine team roles are: plant, resource investigator, co-ordinator, shaper, monitor evaluator, team worker, implementer, complete finisher and specialist. Belbin’s Team Role Models are very useful in forming, maintaining and developing a group. For example we can use it to think about team balance before recruitment starts; we can use it to highlight and so manage interpersonal differences within an existing team; and we can use it to develop ourselves as a team players. Sometimes however, despite clear roles and responsibilities, a team can still fall short of its full potential. This is when Belbin’s Team Role Models come into use to develop the team’s strengths and manage its weaknesses. To maintain strong team it is important over period of time to observe individual members, and see how they behave and contribute within the team. Then for each person we write down the key strengths and observed weaknesses. Using Belbin’s descriptions of team roles, we note the one that most accurately describes the person. After we do it for each member of the team, we need to consider which team roles are we missing from the team and which strengths. Once we are clear about the outcome of our research, we then...
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