Discuss the importance of 'group dynamics' to organisational performance. What constitutes positive and negative group dynamics and why is it important for managers to have a good understanding of group dynamics? Using business examples, discuss some of the implications of good and bad group dynamics for organisations.
Group Dynamics"Use of work teams; groups of employees with interdependent interaction and mutually shared responsibility, has increased dramatically during the past decade" (Gibson 2003: 444) Fong (1999) attributes the driving force behind this trend to increased competitiveness across industries, particularly those involved in global business. The new organisational culture requires managers to develop new skills in order to lead, direct and motivate groups to act synergistically (Barsade 2002). However, group dynamics is a concept that many managers have not yet understood. Consequently this can lead to bad group dynamics resulting in negative synergy, reduced productivity and wounded morale (Levi 2001). Managers are obliged to rectify this by building cohesion and trust between group members (Carron & Brawley 2000).
Why are some group efforts more successful than others? Robbins & Millet (2001) states group members, group size, level of conflict and internal pressures to conform are all factors to consider.
In order to enhance their competitive position and to benefit from different viewpoints, organizations today increasingly rely on cross-functional teams composed of members from different functional backgrounds. However, cross-functional teams often do not yield anticipated performance gains. (Randel, E. 2003: 763)Paulus & Larey (1995) have performed studies supporting the statement by Randel. Employees of a corporation who had participated in training for effective teamwork were asked to brainstorm about a job-relevant issue in groups of four or alone. Participants rated their performance higher in groups than alone, yet the groups brainstormed only half the ideas of the individuals combined. This negative synergy is precisely...