Foundation of Group Behaviors

Performance: A number of group properties show a relationship to performance. Among the more prominent are role perception, norms, status differences, the size of the group, and cohesiveness.

There is a positive relationship between role perception and an employee’s performance evaluation. The degree of congruence that exists between an employee and the boss in the perception of the employee’s job influences the degree to which that employee will be judged as an effective performer by the boss. To the extent that the employee’s role perception fulfills the boss’s role expectations, the employees will receive a higher performance evaluation.

Norms control group member behavior by establishing standards of right and wrong. The norms of a given group can help to explain the behaviors of its members for managers. When norms support high output, managers can expect individual performance to be markedly higher than when group norms aim to restrict output. Similarly, norms that support antisocial behavior increase the likelihood that individuals will engage in deviant workplace activities.

Status inequities create frustrations and can adversely influence productivity and the willingness to remain with an organization. Among individuals who are equity-sensitive, incongruence is likely to lead to reduced motivation and an increased search for ways to bring about fairness (that is, taking another job). In addition, because lower status differences among members are likely to inhibit input from the lower status members and to under perform their potential.

The impact of size on a group’s performance depends on the type of task in which the group is engaged. Larger groups are more effective to fact finding activities. Smaller groups are more effective at action taking tasks. Our knowledge of social loafing suggests that if management uses larger groups, efforts should be made to provide measures of individual performances within the group.

We found that cohesiveness can play an important function in influencing a group’s level of productivity. Whether or not it does depends on the group’s performance related norms.

Satisfaction: As with the role perception-performance relationship, high congruence between a boss and employee as to the perception of the employee’s job shows a significant association with high employee satisfaction. Similarly, role conflict is associated with job induced tension and job dissatisfaction.

Most people prefer to communicate with others at their own status level or a higher one rather than with those below tem. As a result we should expect satisfaction to be greater among employees whose job minimizes interaction with individuals who are lower in status than themselves.

The group size satisfaction relationship is what one would intuitively expect; larger groups are associated with lower satisfaction. As size increases, opportunities for participation and social interaction decrease, as does the ability of members to identify with the group’s accomplishments. At the same time having more members also prompts dissension, conflict, and the formation of subgroups, which all act to make the group a less pleasant entity of which to be a part.

Groups generally pass through standardized sequence in their evolution. We call this sequence five-stage model of group development. Recent studies, however, indicate that temporary groups with task-specific deadlines follow a very different pattern. In this article, we describe the five-stage general model and an alternative model for temporary groups with deadlines.

The five-stage group development model characterizes groups as proceeding through five distinct stages:

Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjouring.

The first stage, forming is characterized by a great deal of uncertainly about the group’s purpose, structure, and leadership. Members are “testing the waters” to determine what type of behavior acceptable. This stage is complete when members have begun to think of themselves as part of a group.

The storming stage is one of intra-group conflict. Members accept the existence of the group, but there is resistance to the constraints that the group imposes on individuality. Further more, there is conflict over who will control the group. When this stage is complete there will be a relative clear hierarchy of leadership within the group.

The third stage is one in which close relationship develop and the group demonstrate cohesiveness. There is now a strong sense of group identification and camaraderie. This norming stage is complete when the group structure solidifies and the group had assimilated a common set of expectations of what defines correct member behavior.

The fourth stage is performing. The structure at this point is fully functional and accepted Groups energy has moved from getting to know and understand each other to performing the task at hand. For permanent work, performing is the last stage in their development.