Groups In Work Essay, Research Paper
There is a popular saying A group is more than the sum of its parts . A group is not just a collection of people. It is considered as a set of two and more interacting individuals to achieve certain goals and meet certain needs (George and Jones, 1999, Greenberg and Baron, 1997). The first stage in the analysis of group performance should be to examine the background of the group firstly. The second stage would be to distinguish the task context and the process in the analysis of group behaviour (Hunt, 1992). Finally, some recommendations should be given to improve the effectiveness. Based on the behaviour of Group 6 in Organisational Behaviour course, this assignment assesses the performance in this group and suggests certain implementations to improve the performance and reduce the disadvantages.
Concerning the two different aspects, e.g. member and group, this section would focus on the brief background introduction about Group 6.
Group 6 consists of nine students. There is one distinction that is worthy of noticing: five members are from Britain, in contract, other four come from Asian countries and areas, such as China, Indonesia, and Taiwan. Due to the different national character, this distinction could influence the individual s behaviours in the group (Hofstede, 1997).
First of all, the type of group should be defined in this case. Concerning the formation of Group 6, it is appointed to finish the case study in each lecture of Organisational Behaviour and to draw the group conclusion after group discussion. Hence, it can be considered as a formal and task force group, which is a collection of people to work together and to achieve the specific target (George and Jones, 1999).
The second factor that could be stated is development stage. Using Bruce W. Tuckman s five-stage model, which includes forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning, Group 6 completed five stages in eight lectures. However, because of the task appointed to complete in the first lecture, it should be noticed that group completed the procedure from the first step to the forth step in Week One.
Another factor considered is the group characteristics, including size, composition, function, and status. Composed of nine students, that have different courses, different national cultures and education backgrounds, Group 6 could be stated a small heterogeneous group. George and Jones (1999) argue that such a group might have a certain potential advantages, e.g. more frequent interactions, more satisfactions, and more points of view.
3. Performance Analysis
Generally, it could be considered that the performance of Group 6 is gradually effective in the whole group development stage. Moreover, it could be stated as a cohesive group because of the strong membership valuation and interdependent cooperation. On the other hand, some ineffective performance still occurred in the process of group work. Combining these two parts, three factors could be essential to the extent in which they influence the performance, i.e., personality of members, problem of social loafing, and characteristic of task. The first two factors could be identified as internal factor, in contrast, the last one could be external.
3.1 Personality of Members
Some observations reveal that personality factor can cause some members to hesitate in offering their opinion and knowledge, which can cause low performance of these members in turn (West, Borrill, and Unsworth, 1998). As an internal factor affecting behaviour, personality is determined by nature and nurture (George and Jones, 1999). One s national character could be formal or informal factor to influence the forming of one s personality due to the social and educational environment. Being mentioned in the background, this group could be divided into two cultural sections: eastern and western. In Hofstede (1997) research, four different criteria could be measured national cultures: individualism versus collectivism; large or small power distance; strong weak uncertainty avoidance; and masculinity and femininity. Focusing on the first two criteria, China, Taiwan and Indonesia belong to the countries that have large power distance and low individualism. On the contrary, Britain belongs to small power distance and high individualism section. Recalling the performance in Week One, the British students gave more opinions than the Asian students. It seemed that the group lacked mutual communication. The phenomenon was discussed in Week Four to explain the ineffective performance of the group. Some Asian student argued that the phenomenon was due to their national cultures that regard a listener, not a debater, as a virtue when someone giving ideas and points. Hence, personality affected by national character could be one key factor in individual performance.
3.2 Social Loafing
George and Jones (1999) define that social loafing are prevalent while members regard their individual contribution as unidentifiable and unimportant. Being an internal problem in group motivation and performance, social loafing seems not easy to avoid. Concerning the reason that people are more interested in themselves than their group-mates, this phenomenon is more common in individualistic countries than collectivistic countries (Greenberg and Baron, 1997). Nonetheless, it should be aware that even the Asian students, who come from collectivistic countries, still have social loafing. During all the discussions in the lectures, it could be considered that some students were more talkative and active. On the other hand, some student including Asian and British students always kept silent. Basically, the talkative student would give more ideas and opinions to the answer and also intent to give the presentation. Those non-talkative members considered they played less important roles in group. Accordingly, they would exert less effort in discussion. In such circumstances, social loafing could occur easily. Thus, social loafing might result in process loss and reduce the effectiveness of group performance.
3.3 Characteristic of Task
Task may be an external element to group performance. As one element affecting work motivation, task could cause different level of the efforts from individual. A task, which can cause the interest of the member or need individual contribution, can lead to the member to develop intrinsic motivation (George and Jones, 1999). As a result, this task can result in higher performance. Recalling the task in Week Two, the task was to discuss culture and motivation. Compared with Week One, every member gave own opinions. Two reasons could be argued to lead to such a result. One is that all of the students, including Asian students, get used to group discussion after few lectures and realise that their opinion would contribute to the group performance. The other is that the context discussed is about a case surveying eight different countries, e.g., U.K., China, Taiwan, to examine the importance and structure of work values from different countries. Accordingly, it can be an interesting topic to members and motive them to generate more idea.
Due to the factors above that influence mostly group performance, some implementations should be approached to improve the effectiveness. As mentioned in the introduction, the implementations should be concerned with the group interaction and group task.
4.1 Establishing Group Norms
The most significant impact, which affects member behaviour in the group, can be the operation of norms (Fincham and Rhodes, 1999) As a study group, Group 6 should establish some certain norms, not rules, to control behaviour of group members. Firstly, Norms should be focus on participation. Some advantages of group are mentioned as following: for instance, brainstorming could generate more and better ideas, more information and less individual errors could occur in a problem (Hunt, 1992). Hence, each member should admit that they should participate and contribute more in the group performance. Furthermore, norms should be stated that roles of members. When assigned to complete a task, group should decide several roles and appoint them to members. For example, a time-manager could be appointed to someone to control the process of the discussion. Using the norms of role expectations, it could generate the pressure on individual to live up to the roles (Guirdham, 1995). As a result, member would know clearly the role occupant s responsibilities and personal relationships at work and gain higher performance (Newstrom and Davis, 1997). In summary, norms could increase the ability of individual to achieve group goals.
4.2 Eliminating Social Loafing
Three solutions have been argued to eliminate the social loafing: making each individual contribution identifiable; making individuals feel that they are making valuable contribution to a group; and making the group as small as possible (George and Jones, 1999, Greenberg and Baron, 1997). According to the reason of social loafing, all of them mention an important point in eliminating social loafing: to identify the task individually. Generally, the task appointed to Group 6 would have several aspects. The solution could be the way to separate the task into small parts and assign them to each member. Based on James D. Thompson s model of group task, it can be categorised as pooled task interdependence. As a result of separating contribution, members performance could be readily identified and evaluated (George and Jones, 1999). Since members consider their outcomes would be important to group performance, they would reduce the phenomenon of social loafing and improve the effectiveness.
This assignment analyses the effectiveness of Group 6 through observing the performance of this group. Personality of members, problem of social loafing, and characteristic of task could be three key factors in analysing the performance of Group 6. According to these factors, how to establish the group norms and how to eliminate the social loafing could be the solutions to improve the effectiveness. However, It should be aware that not only three factors affect the group performance. But, they could be elements of the influence in this case. Furthermore, another issue is that despite Group 6 was dismissed after the course ending, the suggestions still could be used in some cases that are similar as that mentioned in this assignment. It maybe assumed analysing group behaviour is a complicate procedure. Hence, focusing on certain key factors might make the procedure more reasonable and effective.
Fincham, R. and Rhodes, P.S. (1999) Principles of Organizational Behaviour (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press
George, J.M. and Jones, G.R. (1999) Understanding and Managing Organizational Behaviour (2nd ed.). Tauton: Addision-Wesley
Greenberg, J. and Baron, R.A. (1997) Behaviour in Organizations (6th ed.). London: Prentice-Hall
Guirdham, M. (1995) Interpersonal Skills at Work (2nd ed.). London: Pretice-Hall
Hofstede, G. (1997) The cultural relativity of organizational practices and theories, in Wilson, D.C. and Rosenfeld, R.H. (eds.): Managing Organisations, pp.392-405. London: McGraw-Hill
Hunt, J.W. (1992) Managing People at Work: Manager s Guide to Behaviour in Organizations (3rd ed.). Maidenhead, Berkshire: McGraw-Hill
Newstrom, J.W. (1997) Organizational behavior, human behavior at work (10th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill
West, M.A., Borrill, C.S., and Unsworth, K.L. (1998) Team effectiveness in organizations, in Cooper, C. and Robertson, I.T. (eds.): International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 1998, volume 13, pp.1-48. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons