There are many types of groups. What makes any particular group function? The dynamics of a group is important to how the group flows. “Group dynamics, as a conceptual framework, provide a heuristic approach for understanding how effective groups work and advance our know” (Karanxha & Greenlee, 2010). There are many pieces into the function of a group and these areas will look into these places.
The group that I have selected is the Engagement Committee from my place of employment and I will describe the stages of development that this committee went through in order to exist. Next I will analyze the structure of the engagement committee and discuss what effect the structure has on the effectiveness of the group. Finally, I will explain the dynamics of group behavior within the Engagement Committee.
Description of the Engagement Committee, the Groups Purpose, Goals, Gender, and Goals of the Committee The group that was chosen for this paper is the Engagement Committee from North Fork Correctional Facility. The purpose of the engagement committee is to get employees engaged in different projects and events that are given by their peers. Many employees has felt as if upper management did not care about what happened to the little guy and with that the birth of the Engagement Committee was formed.
There is no upper management on the board of this committee only middle managers and line staff. The goal for this committee is to incorporate a since of appreciation for the job that is being done in the facility. It is a committee that listens to what is wanted but also gives what is needed. Another goal of this committee is staff retention. It is felt that if new staff members are shown how much they are appreciated it will build a since of loyalty and it will be harder for him or her to walk away.
The committee is made up of both genders but with women being the predominant members. The makeup of this committee also mirrors the gender ratio of staff. There are more women than men in all areas of the facility. All members have at least a high school diploma and there are those on the committee that have Bachelor’s and Master degrees as well. Stages of Development the Engagement Committee has Experienced The Engagement Committee is following the Tuckman’s Stage Model.
The first stage in the Tuckman’s Stage Model is forming. This stage can also be called “the birth” stage. This is the beginning point in the life of a group and is typically characterized by a great deal of uncertainty, or anxiety, on the part of the group members (Jax & Britt, 2008). When the committee was just beginning group members were unsure of several things with the biggest being would this type of committee even work in a paramilitary correctional facility.
Another concern was anyone going to participate in this committee but after the first meeting about forming the committee that was no longer an issue. What was found is that there were plenty of employees eager to have such a committee. In the forming stage the committee did not have a leader that would come much later. The most important part in the beginning was to get participants.
The next is storming and during this stage is where all of the conflicts within the committee are worked out. With this committee the storming and norming stage were processed together. Conflicts were worked out but at the same time the committee became an actual group. This is the stage where the group would decide if there would be officers or if it would remain without officers. During the storming stage is where the officers of the committee were elected and placed. The committee has four officers which consists’ of a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer.
Also during this stage the officers also asked for volunteers to chair different committees within the Engagement committee. The performing stage is where the committee is currently sitting. This is the stage were the group accomplishes different tasks and does the job that the committee was formed to do. The last and final stage of the Tuckman model is adjourning which will not be performed for some time.
This committee was constructed to last as long as there are employees at the facility. Analyze the Structure of the Engagement Committee and the Effect that this Structure has on the Committees Effectiveness The most important parts of group structure are roles, values, norms, communication pattern, and status differentials. Each person that is a part of the Engagement Committee has a role to play.
Whether it is being the president of the committee or just a regular member each person’s involvement is as important as the other. A role can be defined as a tendency to behave, contribute, and interrelate with others in a particular way (Levine, 1998). Role differentiation is where different group members are designated to perform certain duties within the committee. A president was elected and his or her job of the committee is to assure that everyone that is assigned any particular task are doing what he or she is supposed to be doing.
Informal rules that are given to each member of the committee to go by are what are called group norms. One particular norm that the committee has is that all employees be treated the same regardless of race or rank. That is absolute and will not be tolerated from any member of the committee. Although they are infrequently written down or even discussed, norms have powerful influence on group behavior (Hahn, 2010).
The Engagement Committee goal is to make the facility a place where all employees feel as if they are appreciated for the job that they do. If staff members feel as if upper management cares it will help retain more staff which is also another goal of this committee. This is what is known as group values. Group values are goals or ideas that serve as guiding principles for the group (Schwarz, 2007). Communication patterns are how information is distributed throughout the group. There are two types of communication patterns, centralized and decentralized.
The Engagement Committee has a decentralized communication pattern. We used different ways to communicate via e-mail, telephone, word of mouth, and by using flyers if needed. Not all of the committee’s members work the same hours or shifts so by distributing communication in all of these forms everyone will get the information that they need. Lastly, status differentials which are not a factor with this committee since our goal is to incorporate everyone not matter what his or her race or rank is.
This is important because if the committee is seen as above approach than it has failed to incorporate everyone. The Dynamics of Group Behavior
According to Thomas (1976), the nature of intergroup interactions depends largely on the degree to which groups must interact in order achieve their goals, and the degree of compatibility between the goals of different groups. The facilities organizational culture allows the engagement committee the freedom to meet whenever there is a need to. Organizational culture essentially represents the set of implicitly shared norms and values that predominate within a given organization (Schein, 1990).
CCA encourages the committee to meet as often as possible typically once a week on Wednesday to discuss what is on the agenda for the next week. Effect that the Committee has had on Group Polarization, Conformity, and Groupthink The effect that group polarization on the engagement committee has not been a factor.
Group polarization is the tendency for groups to make decisions that are very extreme than the group initial tendency. Conformity within the group is important because everyone in the group has to agree on each decision that is made. Group think and conformity are along the same lines but as far as the committee is concerned it is not in the committees best interest for groupthink to be the norm. It is important that everyone think independently and not set aside his or her beliefs to go along with the committee. Conclusion
The Engagement Committee was formed to show appreciation for all staff members and to let them know that he or she is appreciated and the job that he or she does is important. Going through the various stages of beginning the group the committee is currently in the performing stage. During this stage is where the committee comes up with various events and puts the plan into action. The bottom line for the committee is to show appreciation and this could not be done without the strong organizational culture that CCA has put into place.
References Jex, Steve &; Britt, Thomas (2008). Organizational Psychology: A Scientist-Practitioner Approach (Second ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Levine. (1998). The Handbook of Social Psychology.
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