The contemporary business environment places successful organizations as knowledge-based enterprises that proactively utilize their host talents to accomplish their competitiveness. Embracing an analytic perspective reveals organizations that attain beyond the average targets as replicating the model of successful soccer teams to nurture the ability in their people to work well together. Establishing this internal framework in the group generates both formal and informal collaborations, which allow the group behavior to draw and capture on the strengths of its members. Laying this foundation initiates a perception of group behavior that leads them to embrace the group identity created through shared bonds and assumptions. Nevertheless, unless the members of the group feel the need to nurture the ‘groupness’, they remain trapped in the existence of a random collection of workplace individuals (Needham et al, 1999). In this regard, organizations ought to instill the sense of purpose that flows beyond the collaborative identity by nurturing the essential factors influencing group behavior and its success.
Factors Influencing Group Behavior and Success
An organization seeking to accomplish its tasks through group behavior must strategically examine the essential factors influencing the effectiveness of each group. Primarily, the size of each group is important as small groups are easier in reaching successful decisions. In particular, drawing more participants into making decisions encounters difficulties both of involving and getting them to agree. Larger group often witness higher levels of dissatisfaction from members opposed to the operations of the group. This reflects in the innovative organizations, including Google Inc., Wholefoods Inc and Cisco Inc., by embracing small-individual entrepreneur groups. The small size offer relaxed atmospheres that elevate group thinking and empower them to unite for a common goal (Cook, 2012). For this reason, organizations must strive to avoid such fragmentation by requiring their leaders to assume centralized control in the decision making process as the size grows. For example, starting with smaller groups and sustaining their sizes allows Apple Company to eliminate complexity arising in overpopulated decision tables (Segall, 2012). The basis of this culture traces to the belief that smaller groups retain the focus and motivation to perform quality work as reflected in the style of management.
The manner in which the management aligns to the organizational objective significantly influences how well its groups operate. In particular, Fielder in his contingency model asserts that accomplishing effective group performance depends on matching the leadership style that interacts with the subordinates. In addition, producing the desired group behavior in each member requires a leader-member relation. This influences the degree that members trust and like their leader, alongside their willingness to follow the set guidance (McKinney & Howard, 1999). This explains why, despite some organizations handling their tasks in larger groups, they are able to capture the advantage of the large pool of skills and energy to complete tasks. For instance, the success of Birla Group of Companies (India) traces to the scouting of talented individuals and nurturing them to remain attracted to their group (Rudani, 2013).
If the organization desires to involve wide numbers of members during decision making platforms, adopting a three-strand management approach is important to reduce incidence of group conflict. As identified by McGregor in theory X and Y, it requires implementing tasks, action schedules and processes that fit with the situation. Task constitutes the content of work in converting information gathered from members into recommended decisions. Equally, action schedules draws attention to determining individuals to fill the emerging roles, checking and monitoring the process to ensure the completion of the task rests within the time allocated. The process captures the interaction taking place amongst the members, how they work together, intragroup relationships and feelings developed in their unique behavior (Needham & al, 1999). A group concentrating on the sole attainment of its action schedules realizes the wonderful working time, but rarely attains the intended tasks. It arises from the suffering morale leading to the final disintegration of the group. In contrast, seeking pure attention to tasks likely brews arguments and concerns about organization of tasks and inattention to the opinions of members. This transpires to mishandled tasks and likely misunderstanding (Dekas, 2010).
Figure 1: The Three-strand approach
The assumption of the group identity amongst individuals working in a group, lays an ideal foundation for participants to embrace the roles assigned. While this allows the management to nurture group structures that acknowledge the unique abilities. This generates a tendency that allows members to identify positively with the task functions and maintenance roles. Accomplishing person-job fit determined by matching the individual abilities and the requirements of the job, creates a fit along the personal desires, motivations and rewards of the job. For instance, an individual motivated by merit pay is unfit to handle group-oriented tasks, and such place essence of identifying members motivated by group behavior. Emphasizing person-group fit allows the individual to utilize their abilities in aligning the work-group goals and styles. Matching the individual abilities through person-group fit approach, leads to increased satisfaction, and organizational commitment amongst the members. This construes to the expectancy theory of motivation by Vroom. It emphasizes that employees remain motivated to accomplish the organizational tasks, if they perceive the worth of the objective and efforts placed towards it (Vroom & Jago, 2007). In particular, George Zimmer increased group performance in Men’s Warehouse by terminating contracts of the individually successful salespeople. This generated a match where members nurtured their interpersonal competencies to increase the total sales volume (Phillips & Gully, 2011).
Firstly, task-functions offer a bridge to missing assistance for others to accomplish their assignments effectively and efficiently. Allocating these functions sustains the group identity as it draws a supportive flank amongst members. Such functions comprises clarifying goals, seeking information, keeping track, suggesting ways forward, summarizing and evaluating contributions. Furthermore, individuals assuming the maintenance roles serve a source of support and encouragement to the entire unit. They nurture the group cohesiveness through supporting and ensuring inclusion of other members, reconciling and settling disputes, monitoring intragroup relations to reduce tension and initiating suggestions upon which disagreeing parties can comprise (Shin & Park, 2009).
The effectiveness of completing organizational tasks relies upon the blend of roles that each member serves on the group. As demonstrated by Robert Belbin (2012), successful groups and well-functioning groups that identify the unique abilities of members to streamline coordination, setting objectives and priorities, evaluation of challenges and progress, and the maintenance of group momentum through improved communication. This suggests that, though the group leader often assigns each role to a certain individual, assuming secondary roles within themselves bonds the people as a unit. However, if members exhibit particular attributes in performing the roles assigned within their group structure, it is important to balance their roles to accommodate the interdependence. This creates an interaction point where embracing their abilities influence group behavior by initiating a collective belief of accomplishing organizational tasks (Porter, 2012).
Group Support Revealed in Behavioral Science Theorists
Setting a group-performance environment mandates accumulating receptive group factors to offer the unique context where members can operate. In their analysis of various measures of group effectiveness revealed in figure 2, they asserted that productivity of workers operating in a group experiences a combined influence of psychological, physical and sociological factors. This implies, according less restrictive supervision, autonomy and encouraging the formation of small groups stimulates a cohesive approach to handling organizational tasks (Jankiram & Rao, 2010). In contrast to the mechanistic approach, behavioral theorists refer to the findings of the Hawthorne study in their assertion of participative management in organizations. Presenting a communication platform where opinions of group members are heard, captures the human relation element that translates into improved productivity (Muldoon, 2012).
Figure 2: The Measures of Group Effectiveness
Behavioral science theorists favor group action in handling tasks as the platform initiates a humanizing element in the management and achievement of common interest. Essentially, the behavior of organizational people is predominantly influenced by mental attitudes alongside emotions initiated in the simplest units. However, workers in a group initiate a shared psychological bonding that leaves typical group behavior, often superseding the existing individual propensities. This reaffirms Fredrick Herberg dual factor theory, which emphasize that hygiene factors influences the behavior of people, blend further with motivator elements. For instance, putting a frame of reference to organizations as social systems reveals that realizing the human nature allows organizations to solve their management challenges (Muldoon, 2012). Central to this human relations approach involves increased acceptance of employees as social beings who seek interpersonal relationships. This implies that streamlining the group dynamics to accommodate the social man, offers an interactive channel that meets Chester Bernard conceptual theory of natural systems. It asserts that managers should support a natural system of cooperation to stimulates quality and productive delivery (Grimsley, 2014). Consequently, encouraging group behavior in handling organizational tasks solves the psychological and social interests of employees, unlike the individualism propagated by the emphasis for mechanistic management (Johnson & Johnson, 2009).
Accomplishing organizational tasks involves the social process where management realizes the set targets through other people. For this reason, placing the human factor emphasized by the behavioral theorists into the management mandates securing the cooperation and commitment of subordinates. The special element of attaining organizational results through the effort of subordinates leaves management as both a group activity and collective activity. This implies that organizations comprise groups of individuals existing to achieve common objectives through employees, desirous of satisfying psychological and social interests. However, this generates a shared responsibility for the management to emphasize small-sized groups, participative management, task functions, maintenance roles alongside group identity as elements influencing group behavior and success in accomplishing organizational tasks. Besides the three-strand approach, the organization must initiate effective communication networks, small-group principle and nurture individual abilities that permit personal-group fit to attain group success.
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