Individuals and Groups

Primary: Also known as 1st groups include the family, they are personal relationships and interaction between members is intimate. Secondary: Include family acquaintances and others. Interaction is more superficial and communication is based on the importance of skills. Temporary: Form and dissolve as goals are identified and achieved e.g. TAFE course running for 6 weeks then finishing. Permanent: Have strong ties that enable them to exist over time e.g. family Formal: Have specific tasks and responsibilities e.g. schools, sports Informal: Occur naturally in response to the need for social contact, or through shared interests e.g. mother group, child play Roles, Relationships and Tasks within Groups:

Characteristics of group members:Task-oriented: Place emphasis on the task and what is required to get the job done. Task-oriented members brainstorm, judge, expert, representative, implementer, chairperson, secretary. Socio-emotional: Concerned with the well-being of the group and include peacemakers, encouragers, advocates or negotiators and tensions relievers. They convey feelings, values and opinions about the job being done. They focus on people. Destructive: Stop or divert the attention of the group from achieving its goals or tasks. Can be done in a number of ways which might involve them being a victim, blocking, hushing, shelving (delaying tactics) or seeking recognition.

Norms, Conformity and Cohesiveness within and among Groups:Norms are standards of behavior we judge to be acceptable in given situations. Groups will have norms that help identify the group and its values. Conformity is used to describe the way in which individuals adjust their behavior in order to fit into the norms of a group. Cohesiveness when used in relationship to groups refers to the ability of the group members to feel a sense of attraction to each other and the group. Holds a group together, and makes the group follow goals.

Leadership Styles:Assumed and negotiated:Assumed leadership is where an individual takes on the role without any discussion or it maybe agreed upon or negotiated.

Leadership Styles:Task oriented/ people oriented: Place greater emphasis on the task to be achieved, getting the job done, the organizational details and administration. People oriented will focus on people and relationships in order to complete the task. Autocratic: They make the decisions for the group; they like to be in complete control of all aspects relating to how the group functions. Expect individuals to follow instructions. Do not feel the need to involve individuals in decision-making. Laissez faire: laid-back leaders. May give the group instructions on what needs to be done but doesn’t direct to ensure the task is done, therefore, the group controls how and if decisions are made. Transformational: Provide individual consideration, intellectual stimulation and possess charisma. They provide vision; install pride and gain respect and trust. Cultural: Leader is valued for their ability to bring about ‘change’ in the community or workplace environment.

Influences on leadership styles:Nature of the group: The size and purpose. Leadership of a small group of parents for a school working bee will be less complex and less formal compared to the leader a of multinational company responsible for hundreds of employees across the world. Type of task: At the school working bee the leader maybe required to identify jobs and to match individuals to tasks.

Volunteers may work on the task for as little or as long as they choose, however, in the workplace tasks must be completed by a given time to a given standard. Nature of the decisions: Whether simple or complex decisions they will influence leadership style. E.g. a social club deciding where to hold its Christmas picnic is a relaxed leadership style than deciding how to restructure stuff in order to increase productivity.

Gender expectations: Men maybe considered more authoritarian in their leadership style than women. Their style of leadership may be loud and aggressive and accepted as part of what they do. Women, however, maybe expected to be ‘soft’ leaders. If a woman is assertive she maybe considered hard. Experience of the leader: An experienced leader my employ a variety of leadership styles in order to get the best out of individuals and situations. An inexperienced leader my lack knowledge, skills and confidence to use a variety of leadership styles. Culture: Values maybe different from one culture to another.

Leadership and management roles:Leadership involves influencing other towards the achievement of goals. Leadership may be formal or informal. An effective leader will use management skills to achieve goals. Management implies expertise in using available resources to achieve predetermined goals within an organization. Good leadership and management are interdependent, meaning that in order to be an effective leader you also need to be an effective manager and vice versa.

Group Dynamics:Group dynamics is the study of the structure of social groups and the processes that happen in them. It includes a study of a group’s size, norms, purposes, focus, structure, relationships, and patterns of interaction and use of power.

Communication Networks:Wheel: has one person as its focus. Most information is given by this person to others in the group. Group members also send information to this person rather than to others in the group. Chain: an accurate form of communication when used with smaller groups. Information is sent and received from one point to another. Each link represents an individual who can pass and receive information to the link either side of them, with the exception of the first and last link that have no one either side of them. Circle: Increases communication because it provides a further link to each individual at the beginning and end of a chain.

This allows each member of the chain greater equality in sending and receiving information, thus improving individual input. All-channel: Allows individuals the opportunity to communicate with all other members. This means a lot of information can be generated and passed among members. Depending on the size of the group, this may enhance personal satisfaction of group members or may lead to confusion. Organizational grapevine: Fast method in which information is informally sends and received. It is the source of rumors that may or may not be accurate. Group members will use the grapevine to try and put together incomplete pieces of information in order to understand something they do not have all the information about. As a result information gained from this method is unreliable.

Power within groups:Power describes an individual or group’s ability to do something. There are five bases of power: Legitimate: Power that comes with being in the position e.g. School captain has powers associated with being in that position. The power will usually be written or acknowledged. Reward: Individual has the ability to give rewards, perhaps in the form of improved working conditions, greater responsibility or pay increase. Coercive: Being in a position where you are able to influence people to do things through threat or fear of loss of privilege. This may include downgrading position, salary cut, forced transfer or dismissal. Referent: Power comes from the person’s natural being. Maybe how they look or act their charisma that motivates others to want to be like them etc. Expert: Power comes from knowledge, skills, training or experience that puts the individual or group in the position of being better able to address a given set of circumstances than others.

Use of power:Individual: If an individual understands what power is, how it is gained as well as the impact of its responsible and irresponsible use, then the use of power to influence will be managed more thoughtfully and responsibly. Group: Individuals will be involved in groups that make decisions on political, economic, family, work, school or interest groups. Within groups there will be individuals who will old more power or authority than others. Self-empowerment: Occurs when we give ourselves power of authority. We can empower ourselves by developing knowledge, understanding, skills and expertise about groups dynamics, that is, how groups communicate, use power and make decisions.

Impacts of power:Positive: When used for the benefit of the individual or group e.g. parent uses their power or authority to discipline a child, or when a community group uses their power to check council decision-making, in order to protect an at-risk environment.

Negative: Used irresponsibly to benefit an individual or group at the expense of others e.g. parent neglects or abuses the rights of a child.

Group decision-making processes:Forms of decision-making:Brainstorming: Information and ideas are generated without fear of rejection. Nominal group techniques: Group meets formally to address a problem or issue. All members put an idea that is recorded and discussed by the whole group later in the process. After clarification of each idea, some ideas maybe dropped or combined. Individuals are then asked to rank ideas with the finial decision being made based on the highest aggregate ranking. Delphi technique: Complex technique, time consuming to perform. Members of the group never meet face to face. Typically, a questionnaire that is carefully designed is administered to the group members.

Results are centrally tallies and sent back to group members from them to view, they are then asked for their responses again with the expectation that they may now have new ideas to contribute or that they may have changed their point of view on some issues. Leadership effectiveness for new strategies: Asks the group to put forward ideas through brainstorming on a given topic.

Group places the info they have generated into categories that can be given a label or heading, categories are then prioritized. Computer-aided decision-making: Combines nominal group techniques with computer technology. Voting: Each individual makes a choice, can be public or private. Number of methods used to influence or control or count votes in order to make a decision. Consensus: Makes decisions without voting. Debating issue in order to find those areas of agreement between opposing points of view. Supporting an individual or leader can also help make decisions because of the expertise they possess, the position they hold or because they represent the views of the group and the job that needs to be done.