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Chapter 4 Group Behavior- Work and Organizational Psychology

Group Behavior
Chapter 4
• Common goal (often something that cannot be realized on one’s own)
• Interdependence – what affects one, affects all
• Interaction (verbal or nonverbal)
• Perception of membership (recognize oneself as a member)
• Structured relationship (through definition of roles and norms)
• Mutual influence
• Motivation – association serves to satisfy personal needs
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Groups and Teams
• Work Group – Collection of individuals who interact to share
information to help each other within his or her own area of
responsibility (no joint effort)
• Formal – Legitimate subunits of an organization
• Informal – Develop and exist relatively independent of the organization
• Satisfy a variety of employee and organizational needs
• Teams – Work groups in which actions of individuals are
interdependent and coordinated, each member has a specified role,
and the team shares common goals and objectives (individual effort
leads to greater level of performance than sum of individuals’ inputs)
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Importance of Groups – social identity
• Society consists of groups with various functions and interests ranked according to associated rewards and
• Complete the sentence “I am…”
• group memberships are mentioned more often than individual traits
• we hold many group memberships simultaneously
• Group membership and status are the base for our participation in social life and our social worth (to
ourselves and others) is determined by which groups we belong to and how valued the groups are – our
self-esteem is tied to the group’s performance
• In-groups (we) & Out-group (them)
• In-group bias: ‘we’ are more deserving then ‘them’ (if we are good, who are we good relative to? Them!)
• Out-group homogeneity: they are all the same (Negative behaviors are more noticeable!)
• Good deed – for we, internal attribution (we are like that); for them, external (they had no choice) Bad
deed – for we, external; for them, internal
• Stereotyping – Prejudging – Discrimination
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Importance of Groups
• People will develop social identity when the following characteristics are
Similarity (values, characteristics)
Distinctiveness (to show how they are different from others)
Status (linking themselves to high-status group)
Uncertainty reduction (help them understand who they are and where they fit in)
• Organizations can use their: mission, vision, value statement, as well as,
organizational culture, training, incentives, decision-making and physical
space arrangements to promote collaboration and sense of shared
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External conditions imposed on the group
• Organizational culture: pattern of affirmations, confirmations, and
limitation that leads people to act, judge, and justify themselves according
to sanctioned ways (e.g., culture supportive of shared expectations of
• Task design and technology: divide task to fit each member; some
technologies require that each member masters all tasks, others only one
• Organization strategy: some groups may receive more resources and power
• Performance feedback: accurate and timely
• Reward and recognition: should encourage co-operation
External conditions imposed on the group
• Physical environment: proximity and face-to-face seating arrangements
• Authority structure: formally designated leader
• Intergroup relationship: each group is dependent on others (same
organization), competition is sometimes used to increase productivity but
excessive competition can lead to sabotaging of other groups
• Group member resources: KSAOs affect individual’s functioning in the
Older people want to be leaders and conform less
Women conform more and are more communicative in bargaining situations
Dominance and unconventionality reduce productivity, morale, and cohesion
Conscientiousness has less impact on team-based tasks (group members
Best – if group has socially sensitive, assertive, and not too anxious members
Group structure
• Composition: heterogeneous group has more chance of possessing
characteristics needed to complete the task; however, diversity in
large groups can lead to conflict in the group
• Compatibility of interpersonal needs (inclusion, control, and
affection): heterogeneity of needs may lead to conflict, two
individuals are compatible if each shows the behavior that the other
• Group size: 7, optimal size for using inputs productively (and an odd
number which is preferred), larger groups better for gathering facts
but lead to subgroup formation and problems with reaching
Social Loafing
• Reduction in individual effort when people work in
groups compared with when they work alone
• Individuals are less likely to loaf when they believe
that their individual effort can be identified or
when others will be personally affected by their
• Free-Riding – employees do less than their share of
work, but share equally in rewards
• Sucker Effect – co-workers become aware and
concerned about the free-riding of others
• Social Compensation - employees increase efforts
because they don’t anticipate much help
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• Set of behaviors expected of a person who occupies a particular position in
a group or a social unit
• Leader behaviors
• Initiating: beginning and giving direction to the discussion
• Coordinating: help members see results of their efforts and reduce uncertainty about
the group, its problem and its solutions
• Summarizing: help move the group towards its goal
• Elaborating: explore the problem more fully and help group reach its goal
• Process oriented roles
• Tension release
• Gatekeeping: keeping communication channels open
• Encouraging: increase esteem of members and raise hope, confidence, and
• Mediating: resolve conflict between group members
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Team roles
that people
prefer to play
select members
and assign roles
• Shared expectations about appropriate behaviors or the socially
appropriate way to respond to the group
• Descriptive – Define what most people do, feel, or think about a particular
• Violators viewed as unusual or different
• Prescriptive – Suggest what people should do, feel, or think in a situation
• Violators viewed as dysfunctional or bad
• Norms are developed over time, are passed down, and are adjusted
to by new members (emerge from values, ensure group survival,
increase predictability of behavior, prevent embarrassing situations)
Once established – difficult to change
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conflict and
After working together
to repair water system
sabotaged by
researchers hostility
toward other group
members disappeared
and friendships were
Group Development – stage model
• Tuckman’s 5 Stages
• Forming – Members get to know each other
• Storming – Members question the task, the authority figure, and each other
• Norming – Group becomes more cohesive and united after a compromise
between expectations and realities of the task leads to perceived sufficient
mastery of the situation
• Performing – Members are productive, group energy is channeled into the task
• Adjourning – Group is dissolved (feelings of accomplishment and loss)
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Group – task work
• Punctuated Equilibrium – Model proposing that groups fluctuate
quickly between these stages as different kinds of interpersonal and
performance issues become salient
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• Strength of group members’ attraction to maintaining membership in
the group and the strength of links developed among group members
Common objective & real (or imagined) threat from the group’s environment
More interaction and small group size
Similarity in background and attitudes
Participative leadership style
• Cohesion is positively linked to satisfaction and performance
• Communication, questions, disagreement, taking initiative, helping
• Can also lead to negative outcomes such as groupthink
• Low cohesion
• Quiet, bored, apathetic, uncomfortable, do only what told to do - wait for assignments
• Seldom disagree – important decisions made quickly
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• Mode of thinking that individuals engage in when the desire to agree
becomes so dominant in a cohesive group that it overrides the realistic
appraisal of alternatives
• Pearl Harbor, Challenger Disaster, Watergate
• Antecedents
• Cohesion, Member Isolation, Strong and Biased Leadership, High Decisional Stress
• Symptoms
• Feelings of Invulnerability and Unanimity, Direct Pressures on Dissenters, and
Mindguarding (filtering information to control dissent)
• Prevention of Groupthink
• De-emphasize agreement, quickly correct misperceptions or biases rather than
assuming accuracy, and follow basic steps for effective decision making
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Group Decision Making
1. Diagnose the Problem – Group members come to agreement about the nature of
problem, goals of group, and identification of obstacles
2. Generating Solutions – Communication among members to process problem and
identify solutions
Brainstorming may occur here – may or may not be appropriate for decisions
3. Evaluating Solutions – Group critically evaluates proposed solutions
4. Choosing a Solution – Commit to an alternative
May do this by delegating, averaging individual inputs, going with a majority, or by going
with a consensus
5. Action Planning and Implementation – Detailed steps and methods for monitoring
and evaluating progress toward the solution are developed
Group advantage: More information & knowledge, increased diversity of
views, increased acceptance and perceived legitimacy of solutions due to
participation in the decision making process
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Group Decision Making - disadvantages
• More time consuming (than if an individual was making a decision)
• Domination by few members (if dominating members are of low
ability productivity suffers)
• Ambiguous responsibility (for decisions)
• Groups are notorious for not effectively pooling their unshared
• Unshared Information – info a member has that others in the group do not
• Shared Information – info that every group member holds
• Polarization and risky shift
• Groups make more extreme decisions than individuals
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Creating an Effective Group
• Goals – clear, concrete, and relevant to the group member needs
• Two-way communication
• All members should participate equally and accept responsibility for
providing leadership
• Power is based on expertise, ability, and access to information
• Balance between decision-making procedures and time and resources
• Constructive disagreement and conflict resolution (challenging group
members’ conclusions and arguments)
Primary Behaviors for Work Team
• Taskwork – Task-oriented aspects
• Teamwork – Process-oriented aspects
• Teamwork revolves around communication and coordination among team members,
feedback, and team cohesion/norms
• Important predictors of effectiveness include: Organizational Context, Group
Composition and Size (including personality traits), Group Work Design, Intragroup
Processes, and External Group Processes
Self-Managed Work Teams
• Responsible for monitoring and controlling the overall process or product as well as
assigning specific tasks
• Increase Autonomy and Empowerment
• Related to better performance and more favorable attitudes
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