Within my own personal group I feel that looking at both the quantifiable and qualitative factors; we were a very effective group until our eventual adjournment. Prior to the group’s formation, we were a workforce of thirty staff all concerned only with our own individual agenda. Smaller informal groups did exist, but these were based on social and not work needs. Within the ‘forming’ stage, good communication was established between group members with a clear understanding of what we as a group needed to achieve, that of fair, revised working duties for everybody.
It was also made clear what each persons role within the group would be, with myself responsible to take the initial lead, but would make no decisions without the full consensus of the group. Throughout the ‘storming’ stage, there was some conflict but this was dealt with in an open and constructive way. For example, several group members were anxious that changes made to the structure of their duties would be to their detriment.
However with adequate explanation regarding other group members increasing workload every group member became committed to achieving the fair revision of duties, and all group members contributed openly without fear of hostility, as they realised it would benefit all. In the ‘performing’ stage therefore, group decisions were achieved and reached by consensus, fulfilling many of McGregor’s (1960) qualitative success factors.
The group had full member involvement; good attendance at meetings and at work, and despite its agenda maintained good quality, high out put work. The review of duties took approximately three months, thus work had to continue using the old duties which were now considered unfair by most. However, as group members were not only kept informed but were active in the changes, the group remained effective for both the organisation and its individual group members in achieving its goal.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Group Working ‘Groups are a characteristic of all social situations and almost everyone within any organisation will be a member of one of more groups’ (Mullins 1995). The power of group membership over individual behaviour has been well documented and tested within human relations (Asch 1951, Milgram 1965), and this has shown that groups are not only powerful, but are an essential feature of the work pattern of any organisation.
Indeed, Heller (1997) writes that the ‘best culture for an organisation is a team/group culture’. Within this section I aim to discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of group working, using my own personal experience as a reference point. However I do not aim to provide a completely exhaustive list as this would not be possible within the confines of this assignment. Overall the example I have used throughout this assignment to illustrate group working, was a positive experience with the advantages outweighing the disadvantages.
The group was originally formed with one unequivocal goal and was formed from a larger group that already had a good working relationship, thus it generated a high morale and maintained the productivity and quality of its work ethic. The successful revision of the duties to the eventual satisfaction of all could only have been possible through the combined efforts of everybody working together in co-operation, and the acceptance that all members of the group had an equal say in the final outcome.
Through effective listening and communication, the group generated its own norms, and was able to resolve any conflict in a manner that was eventually suitable for all. Despite being a larger group, it was not in existence long enough for smaller groups to splinter, and as everybody already knew each other, nobody within the group had a chance to become marginalised. Group unity for goal achievement was immediate, although how this was going to be achieved was not always agreed on. This however did not cause excessive hostility, as it was dealt with openly.
Role functions within the group were well defined, everybody had an equal part to play, despite me having an original lead role and being the one who eventually documented all changes. The group functioned purely as a formal work group until adjournment, and was not therefore one that had a social agenda – its members were only interested in achieving a fair revision of work duties so that work load was once again distributed evenly. Consequently, this group experience was a positive and successful one for both its members, and the organisation that we worked for.