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Groups And Group Development Commerce Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Commerce
Wordcount: 4489 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Many people used the word team and group interchangeably, but there are actually a differences between the word team and group. It is much easier to form a group than a team. In group, they could be grouped according to gender, experience, age or other common factors. Although the effectiveness of the group may be variable, but forming a group just based on a certain commonality is not particularly difficult. A group’s strength may come from sheer volume or willingness to carry out a single leader’s commands. On the other hand, a team can be more difficult to form. The members will selected for their complementary skills, not a single commonality. In a team, each member has a purpose and a function. So the overall success depends on a functional interpersonal dynamic. When working together in this way, there is usually not as much room for conflict. A team’s strength depends on the commonality of purpose and interconnectivity between individual members.


Although most groups aren’t formed for such dishonest purposes, the success of this group at its task was impressive (Stephen and Mary, 2007). Managers would like their groups to be successful at their tasks and the first step is understanding what is a group and how its develop.

2.1 Group Definition

According to Stephen and Mary (2009), a group can be defined as two or more interacting and interdependent individuals who come together to achieve specific goals. . Although a groups often have goals, but there’s not state that group members must share a goal or motivation.

2.2 Types of Group

There are two types of group which is formal group and informal group. Formal group will designated work assignments and specific tasks directed at accomplishing organizational goals and defined by an organization’s structure. There are four examples of formal work groups ( Sidin J.P, 2011) :

Command group – groups that are determined by the organization chart and composed of individuals who report directly to a given manager.

Task group – groups composed of individuals brought together to complete a specific job task.

Cross-functional teams – groups that bring together the knowledge and skills of individuals various work areas of groups whose members have been trained to do each others’ job.

Self-managed teams – groups that are essentially independent and that, in addition to their own tasks, take on traditional managerial responsibilities, such as hiring, planning and scheduling, and evaluating performance.

While informal groups are group-based social elements. These groups occur naturally in the workplace and is more concerned with friendship and common interests. A friendship group is friend who do many activities together and it is relatively permanent and informal, and its benefits from the social relationship among its members. Meanwhile, the common interest such as bowling group and women’s network is relatively temporary and is organized around an activity or interest shared by its members.

2.3 Stage of Group Development


Exhibit 2.1 – Stage of Group Development ( Sidin J. P. , 2011)

2.3.1 forming

Forming stage is the first stage in group development. This stage has two phases. In a formal group, people join because of some work assignment. The second phase begins when the people joined the formal group. Then these people define the group’s purpose, structure, and leadership. This stage is complete when members begin to think of themselves as part of a group.

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2.3.2 storming

When group members get to know each other better, the storming stage begins. This storming stage named because of the intragroup conflict that occurs over who will control the group and what the group needs to be doing. This stage is characterized by a bid for power. There are six characteristics of the storming stage which is competition, strained relationships, leader is challenged, tension and disunity, differences are uncomfortable, and the issues of autonomy vs. control support vs. competition influence decision-making. When this stage is complete, there is a relatively clear hierarchy of leadership and agreement on the group’s direction.

2.3.3 norming

The norming stage is one in which close relationship develop and the group become cohesive and has begun to be effective. There’s now a strong sense of group identity and camaraderie. This stage will be complete when the group structure has been assimilated as a common set of expectations about behavior and become solid. There are some characteristics about this stage :

Issues of strengthening relationships, open communication, positive/constructive feedback.

Increased cohesion

Emerging trust

More collaboration

Appreciation of differences

2.3.4 performing

The fourth stage of group development is performing. Many groups never reach the performing stage.  This is the stage at which would be an excellent customer service and to create an impressive examples. The group structure is in place and accepted by group members. In this stage, characteristics include productivity, full development of the potential of the group and the individuals in the group, harmony and effective problem-solving. This is the last stage of development for permanent work groups.

2.3.5 adjourning

The final stage is adjourning. In this stage, the group prepares to disband. Group members will react in some way that is independent of a confident and excited about the performance of their group. While, others may be sad over the loss of camaraderie and friendship. That’s why more attention is focused on wrapping activities rather than task performance.


A work group is include the organization’s strategy, authority relationships, formal rules and regulations, the availability of resources, employee selection criteria, the performance management system and culture, and the general physical layout of the group’s work space. That’s mean a work group was affected by external conditions (Stephen and Mary, 2009).Exhibit 3.1 – Group Performance Satisfaction Model (Sidin J. P. , 2011)

3.1 Group Member Resources

Group member resources is a group’s performance potential that depends on a large extent on the resources each individual brings that group. These resources include personality traits, knowledge, skills, and abilities. They will determine what members can do and how effectively they perform in that group. There especially conflict management and resolution, communication, and collaborative problem solving in interpersonal skills. It’s consistently emerge as important to perform well in a work group. The group performance also affected by personality traits because they strongly influence how an individual will interact with the other group members.

3.2 Group Structure

Work group aren’t unorganized crowds. They have an internal structure that shapes members’ behavior and influences group performance. The structure defines roles, norms, conformity, status systems, group size, group cohesiveness, and leadership.


A role refers to behavior patterns expected of someone occupying a given position in a social unit. In an organization, managers aren’t the only one individual who play the various roles. In a group, individuals are expected to do certain things because of their position in the group. Besides that, the different expectations of these roles, make the employees face role conflict.

3.2.2 Norms

All groups have norms. A norm is a standards or expectations that are accepted and shared by a group’s members (Stephen and Mary,2009). Norms that exist within the group structure emphasizes such things as punctuality, work output, absenteeism, speed to complete the work, and the amount of socializing at work. Norms that exist within the group structure will enhance the action of antisocial individuals.


Each individual would like to be accepted by the society around. As well as individuals who are in a group in the organization. However, they are too afraid not accepted by other group members, then the vulnerability pressure to conform. Early experiments done by Solomon Asch demonstrated the impact of the conformity has on an individual’s attitudes and judgment. Next, people tend to find it more pleasant to agree than to be disruptive even it will improve the group’s effectiveness. So we conform. But conformity can go too far when an individual’s opinion differs significant from the others in that group. When this happens, a phenomenon that known as groupthink will appear. Groupthink will occur when there is a clear identity, group perceives a collective threat to positive image and members will hold this positive group image that they want to protect.

Exhibit 3.2 – Examples of Asch’s Cards ( Sidin J. P. , 2011)

Status Systems

Status systems are an important factor in understanding groups. Status is a position, rank within a group and a prestige grading. Status can be formally and informally. Status is formally and it’s important to employees believe that the organization’s formal status systems is congruent. There’s consistency between the status symbols he or she receives from the organization and the perceived ranking of an individual. While, the informally of the status systems is may be conferred by characteristic such as skill, education, or experiences. Anything can have status value if the members of the group evaluate it that way. Group members have no problem to placing into status category. Usually the group members will agree about who has low or high status.

Group Size

According to Moorhead and Griffin (2001), group size is the number of members of the group and have an important effect on performance. Group size will affect the number of resources available to perform the task, but the effect depends on what the group is supposed to accomplish. One important research finding related to group size concerns social loafing ( Stephen and Mary,2009). Social loafing is the tendency of some members of groups to put forth less effort in a group than they would when work alone. The implications of social loafing are significant. When managers use groups, they must identify the individual effort. If not, group productivity and individual satisfaction may decline.

Group Cohesiveness

According to Moorhead and Griffin (2001), group cohesiveness is the extent to which a group is committed to remaining together. Group cohesiveness very important because its related with a group’s productivity. Some research has generally shown that cohesive groups are more effective than less cohesive ones (Stephen and Mary, 2009) and the relationship between cohesiveness and effectiveness is complex. The more the members follow its goal, the more cohesive for that group. A cohesive group is more productive than a less cohesive group when the goals are desirable. But, the productivity will decrease when the cohesiveness is high and attitudes are unfavorable. In this case, there’s no significant effect on productivity when cohesiveness is low and goals are not supported.

Exhibit 3.3 – Group Cohesiveness and Productivity ( Sidin J. P. , 2011)

Group Processes

Group processes are important to understanding work group because they will influence the performance and satisfaction positively or negatively. The synergy of four people on marketing research team who are able to generate more ideas than work individually is an example of positive process factor. While, the group that have negative process factor such as social loafing, poor communication and high levels of conflict, that may hinder the effectiveness of the group. There are two important group process :

Group decision-making

It’s an organization that doesn’t use task forces, review panels, study team or other similar groups to making a decision. In group decision-making, there are such of advantage to do it. Some of that is groups can generate more knowledge and compete information for their work. Besides that, they will have an experience when work in group to make a decision process that an individual cannot. In addition, groups will increase legitimacy. Decision made in a group more legitimacy than decisions that made by self. While, the disadvantage to do this group decision-making is that almost group always take more time to reach a solution than would an individual. Another disadvantage is the critical thinking that group think can determine will harm the quality of final decision. If we want to determine whether groups are effective at making decision, it depends on the criteria that used to assess effectiveness. The group decision may work best when its creativity, accuracy, and degree of acceptance are important. Beside of that, the decision effectiveness is influenced by the group size.

Exhibit 3.4 – Creative Group Decision Making ( Sidin J. P. , 2011)

Conflict management

Conflict is perceived incompatible differences that result in interference or opposition (Stephen and Mary, 2009). In conflict management, there are three different views such as traditional view of conflict, human relations view of conflict, and interactionist view of conflict. The traditional view of conflict is the view that all conflict is bad and must be avoided. Meanwhile, the human relations view of conflict is the conflict that is natural and inevitable outcome in any group but has potential to be positive force in contributing to a group’s performance. The interactionist view of conflict is the most recent view. Its proposes that not only be a positive force in a group, but some conflict is absolutely necessary for the group to perform effectively.

Exhibit 3.5 – Conflict and Group Performance (Sidin J. P. , 2011)

There are more conflict such as functional conflicts, dysfunctional conflicts, task conflicts, relationship conflicts, and process conflict because the interactionist view doesn’t suggest that all conflicts are good.

Exhibit 3.6 – Conflict- management Techniques ( Sidin J.P, 2011)

3.3 Group Task

Group task are either simple and complex. Simple task are standardized and routine. While, complex task tends non-routine or to be novel. Its appear when the more group benefits from group discussion about alternative work methods, so the more complex of that tasks. In this situation, group members will rely on standard operating procedures and no need to discuss such alternatives for a simple task. Thus, the tasks are complex and interdependent when effective communication and controlled conflict are most relevant to group performance.


From group there will turning to teams. In teams all of the members will working together to achieve the common goals. A team is not just a people who work at the same time in the same place. Most of the people that work in a team are not all equal in talent, education, or experience, but they are equal in one vitally important way. Team relationships fulfill that basic needs.

4.1 Teams Definition

According to Williams (2007), work team is a small number of people that work together with complementary skills who hold themselves mutually accountable for pursuing a common purpose, improving interdependent work processes and achieving performance goals. In many industries, teams are importance because they help organizations respond to challenges and specific problems.

4.2 Advantages and Disadvantages of Work Team

In work as a team, there will have a lot of advantages and disadvantages. The advantages when work as a team is:

Improved customer satisfaction

Improved product and services quality

Improved speed and efficiency in product development

Employee job satisfaction

Better decision making and problem solving

Meanwhile, the disadvantages of work as a team is :

Initially high employee turnover

Social loafing

Disadvantages of group decision such as groupthink, inefficient meetings, domination by a minority, and lack of accountability.

4.3 Groups Versus Teams

Work teams

Work groups

Leadership role is shared.

One leader clearly in charge.

Accountable to self and team.

Accountable only to self.

Team creates specific purpose.

Purposed is same as broader organizational purpose.

Work is done collectively

Work is done individually.

Meetings characterized by open- ended discussion and collaborative problem-solving.

Meetings characterized by efficiency; no collaboration or open-ended discussion.

Performance is measured directly by evaluating collective work output.

Performance is measured indirectly according to its influence on others.

Work is decided upon and done together.

Work is decided upon by group leader and delegated to individual group members.

Table 4.1 – Source: J. R. Katzenbach and D. K. Smith. “The Wisdom of Teams,” Harvard Business Review, July-August 2005, p.161.

4.4 Types Of Teams

Teams can do all of things. They can design products, coordinate projects, offer advice, provide services, negotiate deals, and make decisions (William, 2007). Work teams is a groups whose members work intensely on a specific, common goals, individual and mutual accountability, using their positive synergy, and complementary skills. There are several types of teams:

Types of team


Problem-solving teams

A team from the same functional area or department that’s involved in efforts to solve specific problems or improve work activities.

Self-managed work team

A type of work team that operates without a manager and is responsible for a complete work segment or process.

Cross-functional team

It is a work team composed of individuals from various specialties.

Virtual team

It’s a type of work team that uses technology to link physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goals.

Table 4.2 – Types of team ( Sidin J. P. , 2011)

4.5 Creating Effective Work Teams

Teams are not always achieve high levels of performance and also not always effective. However, research on teams provide insight into the characteristics typically associated with effective work teams. There are nine of characteristics of effective teams:

Exhibit 4.1 Characteristics of Effectiveness Teams (Sidin J. P. , 2011)



Clear goals

It is a high performance team that has clear understanding of the goal to be achieved. The members in the team will know what they’re expected to accomplish, committed to the team’s goal, and understand how they will work together to achieve these goals.

Relevant Skills

Effective teams are composed of competent individuals that have the necessary interpersonal and technical skills to achieve the desired goals while working well together. This is important because not everyone who is technically competent has the interpersonal skill to work as a team members.

Mutual Trust

The effective teams are characterized by high mutual trust among the members. The members must believe in each other’s ability, integrity and character. This is because trust is fragile. So, maintaining trust requires careful attention by the managers.

Unified Commitment

This characteristic is characterized by dedication to a team’s goals and a willingness to expend extraordinary amounts of energy to achieve them.

Good Communication

All of the effective teams will characterized by the good communication. Members convey messages, verbally and non-verbally, between each other in ways that are readily and clearly understood and the feedback will helps to guide team members and correct misunderstanding.

Negotiating Skills

Effective team will making adjustments to who does what and this requires team members to posses negotiating. This is because the problems and relationships are regularly changing in teams, and members need to be able confront and reconcile differences,

Appropriate Leadership

By clarifying goals, demonstrating that change is possible by increasing the self-confidence of team members, overcoming criteria, and helping members to more fully realize their potential.

Internal Support

The team should have sound infrastructure, which means proper training, a clear and reasonable measurement systems that team members can use to evaluate their overall performance, a supportive human resources system, and an incentive program that recognizes and rewards team activities.

External Support

In external support, managers should provide the team with resources needed to get the job done.

Table 4.3 – Characteristics of Effective Teams and The Explanation (Stephen and Mary, 2007)


Managers can build effective teams by understanding what influences the satisfaction and performance. But, manager will also face some current challenges in managing team, primarily to those that associated with managing global teams and with understanding organizational social networks ( Stephen and Mary, 2007).

5.1 Managing Global Teams

There are two characteristics of today’s organizations are obvious such as global and work is increasingly done by teams. That means that any manager would like to manage a global team. There are drawbacks and benefits in using the global teams.



Disliking team members.

Greater diversity of ideas.

Mistrusting team members.

Limited groupthink.


Increased attention on understanding others’ ideas, perspectives, etc.

Communication problems.

Stress and tension.

Table 5.1 – Global teams (source: based on N. Adler, International Dimensions in Organizational Behavior, 4Th Edition, pp.141-147)

In addition, by using our group model as a framework, we can see some of the issues associated with managing global teams such as:

Group Member Resources in Global Teams.

In global organizations, understanding the relationship between group performance and group member resources is especially challenging because the unique cultural characteristics represented by members of a global teams (Stephen & Mary, 2007). In addition, managers need to be familiar with the team members abilities, skills, knowledge, and personality to clearly understand the cultural characteristics of the group members that they manage.

Group Structure.

Some of the structural areas where we see differences in managing global teams include social loafing, cohesiveness, status, and conformity. “Social loafing has a Western bias”(Stephen & Mary, 2007). It’s consistent with individualistic cultures, such as the U. S. and Canada, which is dominated by self-interest but not consistent with collectivistic societies, in which individuals are motivated by group goals ( Sidin J. P., 2011). Cohesiveness is another group structural element with which managers will face the special challenges and its often more difficult to achieve because of the higher levels of “mistrust, miscommunication, and stress”. For status, it is important in France and depends on social origin and also the countries that have differ on the criteria that confer status. Besides that, to manage global teams, conformity also findings generalizable across culture. As might as expected, conformity to social norms tends to be higher in collectivistic cultures than in individualistic cultures ( Sidin J.P., 2011).

Group Processes.

The process that global teams use to do their work can be particularly challenging for managers and for one thing communication issues often arise because not all team members may be fluent in the team’s working language (Sidin J. P., 2011). This particular situation will lead to inaccuracies, inefficiencies, and misunderstanding. However, managing conflict in global teams isn’t easy, especially when those teams are virtual teams because conflict can interfere with how a team uses information (Stephen & Mary, 2007).

The Manager’s Role.

There are things that managers can do to provide a group with an environment in which effectiveness and efficiency are enhanced. First of all, because communication skills are vital, so managers should focus on developing those skills (Sidin J.P., 2011). Also, managers must consider cultural differences when deciding the type of global team to use. Finally, it’s vital that managers be sensitive to the unique differences of each member of a global team ( Stephen & Mary,2007).


As a conclusion, work as a group will have a strong, clearly focused leader who had individual accountability and also have a purpose that’s the same as the broader organizational mission. While, work as a team have some following characteristic such as, shared leadership roles, specific team purpose and so on.

From this chapter, we know that group is two or more interacting and interdependent individuals who come together to achieve specific goals ( Stephen & Mary, 2007). While, team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to common purpose, common performance goals, and an approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable (Griffin, 2006).

Ginny V Lee in his article “From Group to Team” have said that in teams, they will shared the common purpose and goal. Besides that, team members also are interdependent because they understand that they need to work well as a unit inorder to complete their task. Ginny also said that skilled facilitation moves a group from a collection of individuals to an effective team.


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