Group Dynamics

The loose definition of group is individuals organized to work together. To define the word even closer for the purpose of our class, the definition of group is a team of people who are interdependent with respect to information, resources, and skills who seek to combine their efforts to achieve a common goal.

There are many different scenarios for which groups are needed but there remain common characteristics to all groups regardless of purpose. Groups are formed, goals are set, performance is monitored, and relationships are built between members. These dynamics, along with many others, are some of the core aspects for which group are built.

The formation of a group is arguably the most important facet of group dynamics. Such creation is done with the end goal in mind. Group creators look closely at individual's abilities and try to get a combination that will, in the end, be the most efficient. During group formation, teams are usually formed using a cross-section of the members' abilities. By this I mean, individuals from different sections or work areas may be selected to work on a group so different point-of-views maybe exchanged.

They also take into account the size of the group they are forming. Group size is based of many different factors, such as budget and governing rules, as in the case of sports teams, to name a couple. Once a group is formed, a leader is usually assigned. Group leaders are usually picked based on criteria that are made up by senior management or ownership.

"On business groups, these criteria should come from the mission statement. If the culture buys into the mission statement, then the criteria are written in people's minds and hearts" (Covey). Group leaders are given responsibility for affairs within the group and they also serve as a single point of contact for upper management. Group leaders can also serve as a motivating force to help the group excel to a high mark.

Tasks are usually assigned, once a group is formed, to group members based on individuals' responsibilities and abilities. Multiple tasks may be assigned to members as well as the group leader. These tasks are what is combined to meet the end goal or goals, thus it is very important these tasks are assigned correctly for maximum efficiency.

Group performance is a dynamic that is part of the equation for efficiency. There are many different ways to measure or calculate group performance. The internal group dynamic measurements should include the following: how well the group works together, the effectiveness of group meetings, and the group decision-making and problem solving techniques. To help as a guidance tool for the group's expectations, a charter is created.

This group charter should, by its very definition, develop the group's vision, mission and values. It should also help in establishing the parameters of the groups' responsibility. A mission statement should serve as a reference for work expectations. Work expectations can be included when measuring group performance.

The communication between members of the group is a key dynamic. The free exchange of ideas is ideal and conducive to effective work being done. This exchange of ideas helps in the decision-making process when groups decide the best course of action, since the group is wholly responsible for all aspects of its' own operation. Through group meetings, this communication is utilized the most.

Group meetings should proceed along a set of rules laid down before any meetings occur. Meetings should also have an agenda that is dispersed to those group members that are going to be participating. This way, members will know exactly what is going to be presented in the meeting and can research any topics they may have to find more information regarding.

This kind of early preparation is essential to conduct quality and efficient meetings. Meetings also offer a forum in which group members can communicate among each other, but also with the group leader or any managers that may be present.

Group goals should be determined during the creation of the group. Goals should be specific about what the group wants to accomplish and should be assigned different tasks according to each group member's ability. Each group member brings in to the group a different strength. For example, by identifying the strengths of each member you will be able to determine which group member is better at organizing the goals.

Another group member may be better at delegating authority and someone else may be better equipped at gathering the information. If everyone works together there should not be any problem in the group succeeding and achieving individual goals.

As the group gets closer to its' goals, it is important all members know where the other group members are, in respect to the tasks assigned, so everyone knows how close to completion these tasks are. It is important the tasks are scheduled early enough so if there are any problems, they can be dealt with in a timely manner.

Also, for the object of efficiency, the tasks need to be given to the individuals that will best be able to complete them. For example, you would not want to give a research task to someone who has no access to any information. This would be like giving a basketball to a person who doesn't have any hands to handle it.

Setting a realistic deadline for achieving group goals is important because if the deadline is set too early to reach the goals and the group is unable to achieve them, it is a big blow to the morality of the group. The group should set a deadline for the completion of their goal. However, each member should set an individual deadline for himself or herself so they can work at completing their assigned task.

Having individual deadlines within the main deadline will help them better accomplish the ultimate deadline. Group members should schedule their time so reaching their deadline will feel like they have taken a walk in the park and not like you just escaped from a lion's den.

As with any other group not all members are going to agree with each other. Each and every member has an idea of how the show should be run, as well as how the out come of things should turn out. No matter what the problem is, they still have to come up with a solution and the only way to do that is through negotiation. Negotiation involves compromising, which means each group member will have to be willing to consider the other group members ideas in order to reach an agreement.

One way of reaching an agreement is to build group trust and what better way to do this than by getting to know your group members. By getting to know everyone in your group, individuals will find there may be common interest among each and every one of the group members. Finding common interest among the group members, the group is building a greater bond of trust and respect for each other. Once the group has established a bond of trust, sharing information among the group becomes easier.

Members who trust each other are more likely to share their findings with the group and less likely to find an opposing opinion offensive. No matter how much trust there is among group members, there is still going to be conflict of some sort. However, understanding conflict is only the beginning of solving it. Conflict can occur between two individuals that disagree on a certain aspect of a project. There are many ways of solving the conflicts that occur between individuals or groups, but it is the choice of solutions that matters. No matter what the problem is, it can be solved if both parties involved are willing to try.

In all reality, whether or not a business considers itself as having groups within it, it does. All businesses set out to do one thing and that is to accomplish a goal and employees are doing their part in order to reach said goal. Individuals may not consider themselves as a group, but they are. It is like a silent agreement between the employees saying if they do not do their part then the outcome is not good.

If there is conflict within a business there will not be efficiency, so therefore; in order for them to produce a good product or service, cooperation among the employees has to take place. Businesses that have employees working together to reach a common goal are more likely to succeed than the ones that do not.

In my own personal work environment, I have to work in a group everyday. In the smallest group I have it is the teacher and I. We have to work through lesson plans, choosing what each of us will teach the children together and individually.

The teacher is the actual leader of our group since she is the one that has actually gone to school and gotten a degree in education. If it happens that I come up with something that is a better idea or plan it does get implemented. On a medium scale, there is the class, the teacher and me. We all have to work together and even though the teacher and I are the adults and the authority figures in the classroom, there is always time for play and if the situation calls for it we well have extra recess or center time.

During that time, the kids can run around outside or express themselves by drawing or writing in one of the centers. On the large scale we have all the teachers and assistants in the school who have to work together to get the job done day in and day out. We work together by keeping an eye on each others classes when needed, covering a duty if one of us is out or otherwise unable to cover it ourselves. In my opinion it doesn't matter how large or how small your group is group dynamics play a huge role in whether or not your group will succeed in their goals.

Works Cited

Covey, Stephen R. The 10 Laws of Hiring 09 Dec. 2002