Group is a collection of individuals in which members accept a common task, become interdependent in their performance and interact with one another to promote its accomplishment. (Harold H.kelley and J.W Thibaut). Good range of individuals who contribute in different ways, clear goals, good coordination, balance between the task and the process, supportive atmosphere makes an effective group. In the start of the course, we all were assigned groups and asked to do the assignment work for organizational behavior module with designated our group. Now, in this assignment I am going to present all the experiences I had, working with my group.
Stages of group development:
The changes over the time during the development process of my syndicate group can be explained by Tuckman’s (1965) five stage model and Gersick’s (1988) punctuated equilibrium model.
Tuckmans’s five stage model:
According to Tuckman, the evolution of every group has five common stages (Exhibit 1). My group has also undergone all this five stages in the following way:
Forming stage: During this stage we had lot of uncertainty and anxiety. This may be due to unfamiliarity between us. Though we know the purpose of our group we are very much uncertain about group’s structure and leadership. After we had our first meeting, we got to know each other and started thinking as a part of group. We introduced each other, asked questions about academic background, interests, culture etc to analyze each person’s abilities.
Storming stage: After issues associated with being in a new group are resolved, we entered storming stage. At this stage we had many conflicts. There are many disagreements concerning leadership in the group. Among five members of our group, two people always use to keep silent and just support the ideas given by one of our group members. This probably may be due to the reason that all those three people belong to the same nationality and remaining two, I and other girl belong to same nationality which made us to divide in to two subgroups. This was the main drawback of our group which led to many conflicts. After a lot of discussion we resolved our conflicts and finalized with common idea.
Norming stage: During this stage we developed relationships with our group members and demonstrated cohesiveness. We finally decided the topics to deal in the assignment and shared the work accordingly. Now my group has clear structure and identity .We came to know each other well and agreed the conduct of the other group members.
Performing: This is the stage where the ideas discussed should be kept in to action. As per the work divided, everyone has to do their part of work. But we had many conflicts here also. One of my group member jus wrote two paragraphs on the topic assigned to him and also that is very irrelevant to the topic. Other girl in the group just copied everything from the books and websites, which is considered as plagiarism. This bothered me a lot and finally I and one of my group member sat together, collected all the data shared by group members, arranged the required information and created the final report. Though we shared the work equally we couldn’t come up with the required level of performance. This may be due to lack of proper leadership and improper group formation.
Adjourning stage: At last the submission deadline had arrived. After organizing all the information properly and checking it thrice for any mistakes we finally submitted the report. When we were asked to mark on the peer review form, I said to mark according to the work done but my entire group members argued to mark 100% for every group member and they did so. Now it is the time for disbanding. Though we had many conflicts, we gained some learning experience and developed good relationships with group members.
Exhibit 1: Five stage model. Source: Robbins and Judge(2009), Organizational Behavior
Punctuated equilibrium model:
As per this model (Exhibit 2), our group also went through many transitions between inertia and activity. During the first phase we had set our group objectives and group direction. We understood the given task and planned to differentiate between United states and India in the part 2 of the assignment (inertia). After that, we had many changes in our thoughts, many new ideas were accepted and we decided to change some of the things which we had set earlier. We then choose to differentiate between United States and Japan because we thought there is lot of difference in their work place environment, so that there will be lot of scope to differentiate between those countries (transition). In the next phase we continued with the new changes and finally completed the given assignment (activity).
Exhibit 2: Punctuated equilibrium model. Source: Robbins and Judge (2009) ” Organizational Behavior”
Mc Garth’s (1964) Model of team effectiveness:
Mc Grath’s model is based on the input-process-output sequence (Exhibit 3). He explains how certain inputs leads to different processes in the team, which finally leads to specific outcomes. According to him, input processes include individual level factors, team level factors and environmental level factors. In our group the individual level factors include individual characteristics of my group members. My group posses skills such as creativity, good research skills, good academic style of writing which had impact on our team effectiveness. Not only positive characteristics but also negative characteristics such as irresponsibility and poor English language skills possessed by some of our group members had impact on our team effectiveness and made by team ineffective to some extent.
Exhibit 3: Mc Garth’s (1964) Model of team effectiveness Source: Jex and Britt, ” Organisational Psycology”
Team effective factors include the way our group is structured. Our group, consisting of 5 people had set certain norms and values which everyone has to follow. However, some people did not follow the norms to full extent and roles are not delegated to particular members. There is lack of clarity regarding the goals and specific tasks were not agreed. Our group has distributive leadership.
Environmental factors include group task characteristics, reward structure and level of environmental stress. Personally, I feel the task given to us is not much challenging and did not made use of appropriate strategies to be used by team. This might be the main reason for social loafing to occur in our team. It be better if the assessment of the group assignment is based on individual performance rather than group performance, because this makes every individual feel responsible and to contribute fully to the given task. During the process of our assignment we had environmental stresses like heavy work load and time pressure which lead to team’s decision making processes.
All these input factors lead to the groups interaction process which covers open communication, participation, task orientation, conflicts, reflexivity, leadership, support for innovation and collective learning. The most crucial aspects during team interaction process are the level of interpersonal harmony within the team and the performance strategies adopted by our team.
The team interaction process eventually leads to output which measures the level of performance and other outcomes such as group cohesiveness, attitude change, member satisfaction etc. As a member of my group I am not much satisfied with my group performance because of the negative inputs mentioned above.
IMOI (Input-mediators-output-input) model:
A number of models were developed based on Input-process-output (IPO) framework. Recent research developed and alternative model to this which is Input-mediators-output-input model (IMOI). P is substituted with M which explains variability and viability in the team performance. Another I show that there is cyclical casual feedback. The stages in this model can be diagrammed as shown in Exhibit 4.
As per this model, our group also gone through this three stages. In the forming phase we tried to develop trust on other group members. We planned accordingly by gathering information and developing strategy to perform the task. During functioning phase we tried to manage diversity and conflicts. We adapted to the given conditions and shared the workload. We also learnt many things both from the team’s best member and team’s dissenting member.
Team completes one episode in the development cycle and begins a new cycle.
Performance in routine Vs novel conditions
Helping and workload sharing
Shared mental models
Learning from dissenting team member
Learning from team’s best member
Exhibit 3:IMOI model, Source: Annual review of psychology.
Steiner’s (1972) model:
This model is helpful in determining the team performance. According to Steiner (1972) actual productivity of the team is the difference between potential productivity and process losses.
I expected all our group members to work at least 80% on the task assigned to them. But two members in our group are very irresponsible about their work and dint even do 30% of the work. This resulted in process losses. The reasons for this may be lack of co-ordination among our group members and motivation problems. According to new research, process gains can increase potential performance by new ways of motivating, to make them feel responsible and by coordinating all the group members.
Reflections based on syndicate group feedback
According to the syndicate group survey feedback given to us, many of our group characteristics can be explained. We can know how our group transformed from week 3 to week 6 in comparison to the other groups in the class. The results of the feedback can be shown in the exhibit 5a and 5 b
Exhibit 5a: Team mean given as per syndicate group feedback.
climate for innovation
clarity of objectives
Exhibit 5b: Class mean given as per syndicate group feedback.
climate for innovation
clarity of objectives
Overall performance of the group has been decreased from week 3 to week 6. In the beginning there is clarity of objectives in our group but later on as the group process continued some members of our group disagreed with the team’s objectives. The climate for innovation decreased just a little bit but the participation of the team members in the tasks required to complete the group’s goals, discuss tasks and objectives, make plans and set schedules has been decreased from 4.7 to 3.8 during week6. This might be due to increase in the work load because of other assignments and lack of skills to participate in the tasks required to complete. Our group members showed more interest in their own syndicate group, which they had for optional modules, neglecting this group. Reflexivity of the team objectives has also been decreased which shows that our group is not much committed to achieving the objectives of the group. We rarely reflected up on group performance and how it could be improved. There is lot of interdependence during week3 but it decreased when it reached to week 6. The autonomy to choose the objectives and to achieve them decreased as well. During week 3 we liked each other and there is good bonding between us but as the group process progressed we lost trust, many conflicts developed and this lead to reduction in the boundedness during week6. The only one parameter which increased sharply from week 3 to week 6 is role clarity. In the beginning the roles of our team members are not clear but after we attended several meetings and shared the work, each individual in the group started playing different roles. There is common leadership. When it comes to the team satisfaction, I am not completely satisfied with my team and also the overall group member’s team satisfaction decreased from week 3 to week 6. I think the main reason for decrease in the team satisfaction may be the composition of the group which contained 2 Indians and 3 Chinese.
We had many conflicts during the process of our group development. The conflict process comprise of five stages which can be seen in the Exhibit 6.
Exhibit 6: Conflict process, Source: Robbins and Judge(2009), ” Organizational Behavior”
At stage 1, the conditions leads to incompatibility in our group are lack of proper communication and personality differences. Sometimes there is too little communication and some other time there is too much communication which increased potential for conflict. I think personality differences among our group members also raised conflicts. Two of our group members are highly authoritative and two are very silent. One girl in our group cannot control her emotions, when we said that she plagiarized her part of work, she answered us in a very rude way by shouting and throwing down the books in her hand.
During stage 2 of cognition and personalization everyone in our group are emotionally involved. Because of conflicts there is frustration, anxiety, tension and hostility among our group members. These negative emotions made us to reduce trust in each other.
Stage 3 is of intensions to handle the conflicts. During this stage we experienced more assertiveness rather than competiveness. Overall our group experienced all the intensions such as competing, collaborating, avoiding, accommodating and compromising in different conflict situations.
Stage 4, which is about behavior that includes the reaction to the conflicts. There are misunderstandings and disagreements among us and the way people in our group responded to the conflicts made to reduce the interpersonal relationships among us.
Stage 5 is outcome; I personally think ,there is a dysfunctional outcome in our group,which hindered the performance of our group.
We had conflicts in how to do the tasks, implement whose ideas and differences of opinion of group. As per the syndicate group survey feedback given to us during week 3 our team mean was 2.2 which increased to 2.4 at week 6. By the time we reached week 6 we had many meetings and during the meetings we had many issues which lead to conflicts.
We experienced problems arising from the tension between group members, conflict from different personalities and emotional conflicts. During week 3 the team mean was 1.7 which is even lesser than the class mean of 1.9. Till week 3 we had only 3 meetings (one meeting was attended only by 3 members), so we dint know each other completely at that time when they asked to fill the questionnaire. But when we came to week 6, we understood each other and because of personality differences our team mean increased to 2.6.
Overall I personally feel that my team performance is not good and I am not satisfied with my team members. The reasons for this may be improper group composition which is made up of 3 Chinese and 2 Indians, opposing arguments between group members, domination of one member, non contribution of one member and lack of trust and helpfulness. However, I gained some learning experiences by being a part of this team.