All work groups are part of larger systems and organizations and therefore cannot exist or work in isolation. It is therefore influenced by mainly external factors which include organizational strategy, authority structures, rules and regulations, access to resources, physical work conditions and organizational culture and performance systems and reward structures. Robbins (2004) outlines the role of these factors as follows:
Ø The strategy will influence the power of various work groups which will determine the resources that the organization’s top management is willing to allocate to it for performing its tasks.
Ø Organizations have authority structures that define who reports to whom, who makes decisions, and what decisions individuals or groups are empowered to make.
Ø Organizations create rules, procedures, policies, job descriptions, and other forms of formal regulations to standardize employee behavior.
Ø The more formal regulations that the organization imposes on all its employees, the more the behavior of work group members will be consistent and predictable.
Ø The presence or absence of resources such as money, time, raw materials, and equipment – which are allocated to the group by the organization – have a large bearing on the group’s behavior.
Ø The performance evaluation and reward system. Group members’ behavior will be influenced by how the organization evaluates performance and what behaviors are rewarded.
Ø Every organization has an unwritten culture that defines standards of acceptable and unacceptable behavior for employees. Members of work groups have to accept the standards implied in the organization’s dominant culture if they are to remain in good standing.
Ø The physical work setting creates both barriers and opportunities for work group interaction.