Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Understanding of Group Behavior


Work is a group-based activity.  One of the central characteristics of total quality management is the use of group.  Membership of a harmonious and effective work group can be a source of motivation and job satisfaction.  Therefore, managers will be more effective leaders if they have understanding of behavior.

Group development is a dynamic process, which evolve through a five-stage process: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.  Managers・ understanding of group behavior can predict and tackle any factors influencing group effectiveness for either formal or informal groups.

Managers create a clear purpose and goal in forming stage according to different types of team.  The most consistently successful teams are .mixed・ with a balance of team-roles.  Individuals play multiple roles, adjusting their roles to the group to which they belong at the time.  Managers can use their understanding of individual to assign job roles and determine best size of the group.  Clear job expectation is given by matching the members・ abilities and limitations to their role responsibilities with resources allocation to accomplish the tasks.  This can avoid role overload, role ambiguity, role stress and role conflict, which may have a negative impact on performance, morale, and satisfaction.  Understanding of roles can predict behaviors and work performance.

Building trust is also important in forming stage.  As member of a team, managers act as coaches, advisers, consultants, and liaisons rather than as directive leaders, because responsibility is shared with employees and their participation is encouraged.  Once trust is built up, ideas are expressed freely and openly.  Managers use their understanding of behavior to provide positive leadership that moves the group toward its goal.   

Members in storming stage may clash as they come to terms with issues such as dissatisfaction with the emerging leadership, structure, or norms.  Conflicts and hostility may arise.  Understanding of group behavior can help managers not only to resolve destructive conflict but also to stimulate constructive conflict when appropriate.

To establish group norms in storming stage is essential.  Understanding of the group assists in team-building activities and provides vision.  The group examines its own progress and behavior.  Once norms are established, managers can anticipate the acceptance or rejection by the group for following or violating norms and ensure those members to conform to the group・s expectations.  The norm also helps in relaxed atmosphere, which allow much relevant discussion with high degree of participation.  Most decisions are reached by general consensus with a minimum of formal voting.  Leadership is not always with the chairman, but tends to be shared as appropriate.  Managers can use their understanding of informal leader in the group, who is the one looked to for guidance in achieving the group・s objectives, to predict group behavior.  Effective managers monitor group norms because these norms can enhance or retard the group・s performance.  Knowing the norms of a group can help the manager to explain and predict the behavior of its members.  They know when group principles must be modified or overhauled to cope with environment.  Manager also aware the symptons of groupthink by knowing group norms.

Successful groups are always proud of their status.  Status is a significant motivator and has behavioral consequences.  Status incongruent creates frustration for employees and can negatively affect their performance and satisfaction.  By understanding the group, managers can reduce incongruent and consider formal hierarchical rank and informal group rank in the allocation of status items.

Managers strive to promote cohesiveness among their work groups and to align the groups・ goals with those of the organization.  Understanding group behavior make manager know how to build up strong and cohesive groups, which could be a rewarding experience for the individual and have beneficial effects for the organization. 

Performing and adjourning is the stages of fruit from effective management of forming, storming and norming.  Because in which managers help group members gain the security, status, self-esteem, affiliation, power and goal achievement.

The general movement towards flatter structures of organization, wider spans of control, and increasing empowerment of employees, all involve greater emphasis on the importance of group working.   Groups build up own culture, free up management to think more strategically, permit faster decision-making, facilitate work force diversity, and usually increase performance to effective organizational goals.


Back to Management, Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior Article List