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CHAPT-III GROUP BEHAVIOUR

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Group: In a general sense, a group is a collection or a set of anything, including human beings. For example, a group of birds, a group of girls, etc. But in psychology, a group is defined as a cluster or a set of individuals who share a feeling of camaraderie with one another, who interact with one another, have mutual influence on one another, and who work together to achieve a common set of goals. Thus, we can see that the meaning of group in Psychology is much narrower than the general description of a group. In Organizational Behaviour, the meaning of group is used as defined in Psychology.
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Characteristics of a Group: The main attributes or qualities of a group are given below. If even one attribute is missing among the individuals, then they are not considered as forming a group 1. Set of Individuals: A group is a set of persons. It must have at least two persons. One person by himself is not considered to be a group. 2. Feeling of Camaraderie: There must be a feeling of camaraderie among the set of individuals if the set is to be considered as a group. Camaraderie means a feeling of belongingness or closeness. The persons in a group feel a sense of camaraderie; that is, they feel that they belong together, and that it is good for them to be together as a 3 cohesive unit. Camaraderie is also called comradeness .

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3. Interaction and mutual influence: The persons in a group interact with one another. They communicate with each other, and exchange thoughts, ideas, opinions, etc. The members of a group have an influence on each other. That is, the thoughts, opinions, ideas, actions, etc. of a member affect the thoughts, opinions, ideas, and actions of other members. 4. Common goal: The members of the group share a common goal or objective. This is perhaps the most important criterion if a set of persons is to be considered as a group. The different individuals come together and form a group because they realise that they all have a common goal, and because they believe that it will be easier for them to achieve
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that goal as a collection of individuals, than as separate persons acting on their own. 5. Collective effort: Another important feature of a group is that all the individuals make an effort to achieve their common goal. It is expected that all members of a group will do what they can and work as a cohesive unit in order to achieve the goal that they all share. The individuals feel that by doing so, they can all benefit.

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Types of Groups: In general terms, there are many many different types of groups. But from the point of view of organizational behaviour, the main types of groups are 1. Formal groups and Informal groups: A formal group is a group that has been formed in an official, deliberate, and formal manner. That is, such a group is formed by its founders and/or members, with the intention of forming a group. Such a group has hierarchical structure, clear rules and regulations, and its members have specific roles and tasks. A formal group is also called a command group. A business organisation is an example of a formal group, since it has a hierarchy, and members have specific duties. An informal group is a group that has been formed in an unofficial manner. Informal groups are formed without any specific 6

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intention to form a group. They come into existence because its members come together due to some shared characteristics among them, like common nationality, common language, common interests, common beliefs, etc. There are no specific hierarchies and no specific tasks and duties of members. A group of persons who meet regularly to play a game, or to discuss certain issues is an example of an informal group. It must be noted that an informal group may later be converted into a formal group by its members, and the reverse may also take place. 2. In-group and Out-group: An in-group for a particular person, is a group to which he/she belongs. The members of an in-group share certain values, beliefs, ideals, norms, etc., which act as forces to bring them 7 together, and then hold them together.

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An out-group for a particular person refers to a group to which that person does not belong. In other words, an out-group for a person is a group of which he/she is not a member. A person does not feel a strong sense of sharing of the values or beliefs or ideals with the members of an out-group, though the feelings may exist. Because the feelings are not strong enough, he/she does not join such a group. 3. Open group and Closed group: An open group is one in which the membership keeps changing. In such groups, existing members leave the group when they choose to, and new members enter the group. The group gives up its old ideas, and accepts new ideas that are brought in new members. Due to this, the group is in a constant state of flux, and is highly unstable. The concept of open groups is 8 by and large a theoretical concept.

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A closed group is one in which the membership does not change frequently. The membership is quite stable, and therefore, its practices and ideas do not change often. Further, membership is often allowed only to persons who share some common characteristics of the group. Due to these factors, a closed group is quite stable, unlike an open group. A established trade union, or an association of employees of an organisation can be considered as examples of a closed group. 4. Membership group: A membership group for a person, is a group to which he/she actually belongs, irrespective of whether he/she likes to be a part of the group. In such a situation, sometimes the person may not want to be a part of the group, but joins the group due to certain pressures or 9 circumstances.

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For example, a worker may not want to be a part of a trade union, but he joins it nevertheless, because if he fears that if he does not join it, he will not get the cooperation of other workers. The important point is that he is a member even though he may like it or may not like it. 5. Reference group: A reference group for a person, is a group whose beliefs, attitudes, opinions, etc. are used by that person as a basis for his/her own decision making and judgement. That is, it is a group to which a person compares himself/herself. The person may or may not be a member, or may not even desire to be a member of the reference group. The influence of the reference group on the person may be positive or negative. It is positive if he/she wants to be like the members of the group. It is negative if he/she wants to be 10 different from the members of the group.

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For example, if a student wants to be like the members of a group of students who study hard, that group is a reference group for that student. The same student does not want to be like another group of students who do not study hard. That group is also a reference group for that student. If a person is not influenced by a group, that group is not a reference group.

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Stages in Group-formation: There are various models that describe the formation of groups. Some of the models are: Tuckman s Stages Model, Lewin s Individual-Change-Process Model, Tubb s Systems Model, etc. Tuckman s Stages Model: 1. Forming stage: This is the first stage in the formation of a group. In this stage, the potential members start coming together. They begin learning more about one another, about the common characteristics among them, about any common goals they have, etc. This is an exploratory stage in which the potential members are there to learn more. Members may discuss issues, but avoid arguments and debates. There is uncertainty, low level of involvement, no clear 12

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leadership, low levels of trust, and high level of non-openness on the part of members as they are new to one another. 2. Storming Stage: This is the second stage. Members slowly start becoming more frank in their talk. They start seriously discussing issues such as goals of the group, structure of the group, hierarchy of the group, etc. Most of the points put forth by members are based mainly on their emotions, and not on rational and logical thinking. For example, a potential member may want another specific member to me made the leader, not because the second person will necessarily be a good, but mainly because he likes the second person.
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Since the discussions are driven mostly by emotions, there are big chances that potential members may leave the group if they are upset. This stage marks the weakest point of the group in its formation stage, as the risk of failure is at its highest. 3. Norming Stage: In this third stage, things start becoming stable in the group. Clear leadership emerges, and the structure and hierarchy of the group become clearer. The group has a much better idea of its goals, and the methods of achieving its goals. Members of the group start discussing serious and sensitive topics relevant to the goals of the group.

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4. Performing stage: In this stage, the group members work as a team to accomplish the common goals of the group. Discussions and exchange of ideas become open in the group, and members feel confident to express their ideas and opinions by and large freely. Members of the group perform their respective tasks and duties in order to achieve the goals of the group. This is the stage in which the group is most active in its efforts to reach the goals, and the chances of success for the group are the highest. 5. Adjourning stage: This is the last stage in the life of a group. In this stage, the group is disbanded, and the group comes to an end once the goals of the group have been achieved. 15

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It must be noted that this stage happens deliberately only to groups that were formed for a specific, one-time goal (i.e., an ad-hoc group), because once the goal has been achieved, the members feel that there is no purpose in continuing the group, and the group is killed off. It may happen unconsciously or unintentionally to general purpose groups , which are groups that were formed for more general (i.e., no specific) purposes. This may happen because members lose interest, or the goals become unrealistic, or temporary goals have been achieved, etc. In such cases, the group is more likely to become dormant (i.e. sleeping) rather than completely dying, and may be reactivated later.

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Group Productivity: Group productivity refers to how much work a group is able to complete. The more the work it completes, the more productive it is, and vice versa. A group s productivity may not always be more than the sum of the individual productivities of its members all working separately. In fact, unless kept in control, there may arise certain obstacles to the productivity of a group. Obstacles to group-productivity are those things or factors that may reduce the productivity of a group. They prevent a group from giving its best possible performance. These obstacles can lead to process loss for the group.
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Process loss is the difference between what a group actually produces, and what it can produce in theory (that is, if things work in an ideal manner in the group). The higher the process loss, the lower the group productivity, and vice versa. Obstacles to group productivity: The main elements that tend to reduce the productivity of a group are 1. Wrong group-size: The size of a group can affect the productivity of the group. Group-size refers to the number of members in the group. If the size is too large, then there may be duplication of work, meaning more than one person doing the same work unnecessarily. This can lead to a waste of 18

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resources. On the other hand, if the number of members is too small, then there will not be enough persons to complete the work. Determining the right number of persons at the beginning is a difficult task, especially when the kind of work to be done by the group is new to the group. Finding out the correct groupsize can be learned only through experience. 2. Production-blocking: Production-blocking is the phenomenon when members of a group, by doing their own duty, create obstacles for other members who are trying to do their own duties. This can happen mainly due to disproportionate quantity of equipment, when compared to the number of workers who need the equipment. For example, if there are many carpenters in a furniture factory, but only a few
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hammers, it can lead to production-blocking because when one carpenter is using a hammer for his/her work, another carpenter may not be able for his work. This will bring groupproductivity down. This factor is closely related to the group-size. 3. Groupthink: Groupthink is the phenomenon of a group agreeing to a proposal or idea presented by a member of the group, without adequately discussing the proposal or idea. If groupthink occurs, ideas will get implemented without enough discussion, and so an unsuitable idea may be implemented, leading to possible failure for the group. 4. Social loafing: In a group, there may be some members who do not put in their fair share of efforts to help the group reach its goals. Such behaviour is called social loafing ,
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and such members are called social loafers or free riders . It is obvious that such members are obstacles to the productivity of the group. 5. Poor Leadership: Poor leadership is another obstacle to the productivity of a group. In this context, leadership refers not only to any person or persons who have taken up a leadership role in the group, but also to any outside person who is in charge of the group. Poor leaders will not able to give guidance to the group and will not be able to help the group improve its productivity.

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