Group dynamics

What is Group Dynamics?

Group dynamics refers to the study of forces within a group. Since human beings always had an innate desire for belonging to a group, group dynamism is bound to occur.

The greater the loyalty of a group towards the group, the greater is the motivation among the members to achieve the goals of the group and the greater is the probability that the group will achieve its goal- Rensis Likert

Group dynamics as a term can be used as a means for solving any sort of problem, influencing teamwork, and to become more innovative and productive as an organization. This concept of group dynamics will provide you with the strengths, success factors and measures of it, along with other professional tools.

It is also the social process by which people can interact with one another in small groups. Every group has certain common objectives & goals, because due to which members are bound together with certain values and culture.

What are the four elements of Group Dynamics?

While developing a team, it is of utmost importance to have some basic sense of the stages that how a typical team moves through while evolving into a high-performing team. When leaders are aware of each stage it helps the leaders to understand the reasons for each members’ behavior during that stage of the member and thus guiding the members to evolve the team into the next stages.

1. Forming

The first get together of the members is set during this stage. Initially, all of them are, are considering questions like, “What am I here for?”, “Who else is here?” and “Who am I comfortable with?” which is very common in every single case. Thus it is important for members to get involved with each other, starting with introducing themselves to each other. The team leader here must have a clear and strong leadership to ensure that the group members feel the clarity and comfort required to evolve for the next stage.

2. Storming

During the storming stage, members are initiating to voice their individual differences, join them with others who share the same beliefs, and thus jockey for position in the group. Here, it is highly required for members to be highly involved with each other, this might include voicing their concerns in order to feel represented and understood. The team leader should help members to voice their views, and to achieve validity about their purpose and priorities.

3. Norming 

This is the stage, where the members are beginning to share a common commitment to the purpose of the group, including to the organization's overall goals and how each of the goals can be achieved. Here, the team leader must focus on continuing to clarify the roles of each and every member, and a clear and workable structure and process for the group member to achieve their goals.

4. Performing

This is the stage, where the team is working effectively and efficiently toward achieving organizations and individual goals. Here the style of leadership becomes more indirect as team members take on stronger participation and involvement in the group process. 

What are the functions of group dynamics?

Task functions, maintenance functions, and self-interest functions are three functions that determine group effectiveness and productivity.

1. Task functions

This is the most important reason for forming a group. They'll need members who can play one or more of the following roles to complete the task:

a) Initiating: by proposing tasks or goals, defining problems and suggesting procedures for a solution

b) Information seeking: by demanding facts, pursuing relevant information, and requesting for suggestions or ideas;

c) Information giving: by presenting the facts, giving information, stating beliefs, and giving suggestions or ideas;

d) Clarifying ideas: by analysing and clarifying input, implying alternatives, and giving examples;

e) Bringing closure: by summarising, restating, and providing solutions;

f) Consensus testing: by verifying for agreements and sending up 'trial balloons'

Must read: The Dynamics to Build a Winning Team

2. Maintenance Behaviour

To be effective, each group requires social-emotional support.

Some members of the organisation will take the lead in delivering this assistance, which will include:

a) Motivating: by showing regard for other members and providing positive response to their contributions

b) Increasing group cohesion: by expressing group feelings, sensing moods and relationships, and sharing feelings

c) Harmonizing: by reconciling differences and reducing group tension

d) Compromise: by admitting errors and looking for alternatives;

e) Gate-keeping: by attempting to keep communications flowing, facilitating the participation of others, and suggesting procedures for sharing discussion

f) Standard-setting:by reminding members of group norms, rules, and roles.

See Heading into 2022: HR leaders share the biggest challenges

3. Self-interest Behaviour

This third function displayed by some individuals, members generally takes away from group performance and affects task achievement at the expense of the group. Activities that identify self-interest behaviour are as follows:

a) Dominating and controlling: by displaying lack of respect for others, cutting them off,
not listening, and restating other members’ suggestions with a different meaning;

b) Blocking: by stifling a line of thought, and changing the topic either away from the point of view or back to his or her own interest;

c) Manipulating: by providing self-serving information, or a single point of view designed to achieve a decision that is consistent with their position;

d) Belittling: through put-downs, sneering at other’s point of view, or making jokes about another member’s contribution;

e) Splitting hairs: by nit-picking, searching for insignificant details that delay a solution, or undermining another person’s point of view

What is the importance of Group Dynamism?

Group dynamism first comes into picture when a group of people can get influenced by the way the members think. Group members are always influenced by the interactions of other members in the group. If to be considered a group with a good leader always performs better as compared to a group with a weak leader.

Every group can give the effect of synergy, meaning, if the group has members of a positive attitude then its output is more than double every time. Thus, group dynamism results in furthermore to give members job satisfaction.

The group can also infuse the team spirit among the members. The attitude, insights & ideas of members in a group also depends on group dynamism. For example, negative thinkers tend to convert positive thinkers with the help of the facilitator.

Also, if the group works as a cohesive group, the cooperation and convergence can result in maximiza­tion of productivity. Furthermore, group dynamism can also reduce labor unrest. Lastly, it reduces labor turnover due to emotional attach­ment among the group members.

What are the types of group dynamics?

There are many types of teams you can include in your workplace. The type you choose totally must depend on the results that the team has to accomplish.

1. Formal and informal teams

These teams are usually a group of small employees who come together to address some specific goal or need. Organizations appoint these formal teams,  intentionally for an organized and resourced purpose to be addressed let it be a specific and important goal or need. Whereas, informal teams are usually loosely organized groups of members who come together to address a not so critical, short-term purpose.

2. Committees

Committees are basically organized to address, some major ongoing functions or tasks in an organization, also the membership of the committees might often be based on the official position of each of the members of a particular committee, for example, committees in Boards of Directors.

3. Problem-solving teams

When a certain critical issue is to be addressed these teams are formed by the organization. Here, their overall goal is to provide the organization with a written report that might include recommendations for solving any problem. Here it is often comprised of people who perceive and/or experience the problem, as well as those who can do something about it.

4. Self-directed and self-managed teams

These types of teams come into picture extensively when:

1) Group dynamics in a team is working on a really complex challenge in a rapidly changing environment

2) The thing of utmost importance here is the strong ownership and participation of members which is extremely important.

These types of teams provide great grip on how members achieve the overall results to be achieved by the teams. Here, the role of leader in a team might change during the team activities depending on where the team is in its stage of progress of tasks. 

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