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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Group Structure - Group Behavior

Work groups in order to function as a coordinated unit need to have a proper structure where there must be certain elements like formal leadership, role clarity among group members. In the absence of these factors groups not only become conflict ridden, but also suffer from confusion, and function on a sub optimal level. Each element is explained briefly below:

1. Formal Leadership

A key role in determining the success of the group is the role the leader. Effective leadership can shape a group into a powerful force for accomplishing what individual members could not or would not do alone Organizations need to cultivate effective group leaders whose goals support the organization's objectives.

2. Roles

Set of behaviours that persons expect of occupants of a position (i.e., "focal person"). Banton (1965) defined a "role as a set of norms or expectations applied to the incumbent of a particular position by the role incumbent and the various other role players (role senders with whom the incumbent must deal to fulfil the obligations of their position".

3. Role Structures: Each person in a group has a role, or a pattern of expected behaviours associated with a certain position in the group. Each group member's role is a part of the group's overall role structure, that is, the set of roles and relationships among roles that has been defined and accepted by group members. Roles develop through a combination of group processes and individual processes.

a. Group members have an expected role for each individual. In formal groups, the organization has expectations of what employees in each position should do.

b. Though verbal and behavioural messages, group members communicate their expectations: A sent role. For expected roles in formal groups, the organization often spells out its expectations in job descriptions.

c. The individual group member's perceptions of these communication results in a perceived role.

d. The group member's response, acting out (or not acting out) the perceived role is the enacted role. The way the role is enacted influences the group's future role expectations.

3. Role perception

For playing one’s role effectively in a group, one’s view of how one is supposed to act in a given situation must be clear leading to clear role perception. By watching and imitating senior members of a group the new comers learn how to take on their roles effectively and also learn how to play them well.

4. Role expectations

Tuning oneself and behaving in a socially desirable manner is a part of fulfilling role expectations in a given situation in the context of achieving group goals and organizational goals.

Role conflict

When a group member is faced with the challenge of playing multiple roles, role conflict may occur due to inability of the individual to balance all the roles effectively, thereby reducing role effectiveness, hampering the group and organizational goal attainment process.

Role Overload: The person experience role overload or role overload is defined as having too much to do in the amount of time available. There are two aspects of these stresses- quantitative and qualitative. The former refers to things being too difficult, while latter refers to having too much to do.

Role Ambiguity (RA): It refers to the lack of clarity about the expectations of role which may arise out of lack of information or understanding. It may exist in relation t activities, responsibilities, personal, and norms.

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