Learning Paper on Individual and group behavior (IGB)
Submitted by: Nimish Kumar (131533)
The first meeting for one of our group assignments was scheduled to be held in the hostel itself. However, it got over with virtually no gains, as only two of us were present and the rest of the members didn’t turn up. Later on, I realized that this incident was a learning gain in fact, as it gave me a practical experience of the concept of Social Loafing, where some members try to reduce their individual efforts in the group. Although annoyed by few such incidents in the past also, I was not at all aware of the techniques to discourage social loafing earlier. However, later on during the course of my classroom study on Individual & Group behavior, as I gained useful information in this regard, I used the technique of ignoring the social loafers and encouraging others to give their best contribution.
Very soon after our second group meeting started, I had a glimpse into the leadership and decision-making of the group. Since, the group was autonomous and had no true leader; collective leadership ran the decisions, with every member playing more or less an equal part in voicing their opinion. There were lot of conflicts initially especially amongst those members who never had a previous experience of working with each other in the past. Being high on the ‘openness to experience’ factor of the personality, I was looking forward to draw some positives out of this meeting, but could not find any. Later on during my course study, I learned about the basics of group dynamics and how individual behaviors get shaped in due course of time. I realized that it is very common to have group conflicts in initial stages of group formation & hence in my later group works for other class assignments, I focused my attention on managing such conflicts rather than being surprised by them.
‘Agreeableness’ and social acceptance has definitely been a high priority for me as a person, while working in any group during my office days. However, here at NIA I found it very difficult to achieve that sometimes, probably because of the large gap in the background and profile of myself compared to all other members of my group. When I tried to explain differently to them, on the basis of whatever I learned during my corporate experience of 3 years, they looked at me like I was crazy, instead of taking in the info and learning that could be applied to our group work. There were a few that were very interested, but most didn't want to hear new things. For instance, when I referred to the whole group ('everyone' or 'we need') and mentioned that a task required creative contribution from all of us. For instance, 'can I have everyone’s ideas on this topic? We need everyone to hear all opinions before we decide on how innovatively we create our presentation and perform at stage.’ After a couple of such incidents, where I didn’t get an encouraging response, I decided to suppress my own creative thoughts to gain group acceptance, something called the ‘group think’, without aware of the fact that this could have adverse consequences on the group as well as my individual performance.
Another issue was that of time management and communication barriers in all our group meetings, except the one before finishing the assignment. For instance, a lot of time used to get wasted listening to a particular member who gave an account of his journey with alcohol or other times the other members started discussing the merits of the current topic or discussing their social plans after work. Regardless of the topic, these extended conversations were very distracting to the entire group. I was in a dilemma that if even after knowing the fact, I don't step in after a few minutes; the group will have wasted a lot of time and energy. But if I step immediately, the group may very well lose respect for me forever. In order to solve this issue, I decided to set up the strategy of...
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