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Definition of group in Organizational behaviour

We define "group" as more than two employees who have an ongoing relationship in
which they interact and influence one another behaviour and performance. The
behavior of individuals in groups is something more than the sum total of each acting
in his or her own way. In other words, when individuals are in groups, they act
differently than they do when they are alone.

Important purposes/ Reasons behind group formation

Group formation has certain objectives. The purpose behind group formation may be
task achievement, problem-solving, proximity or other socio-psychological
requirements. Group formation is based on activities, interactions and sentiments.

1. Task accomplishment:
The basic purpose of group formation is the achievement of certain objectives through
task performance.Individuals come closer in order to understand the tasks and decide
on the procedures of performance.In any organization, task accomplishment is the
reason for which different groups such as an engineering group; marketing group,
foreman’s group and personnel group are formed for achievement of the
organizations’ goals.When an organization faces some procedural difficulties,
concerned groups discuss them and evolve new techniques of production, marketing
and other functions.

2. Problem Solving:
When people foresee or face certain problems, they unite to solve the problems. Unity
has strength.

A group provides strength to members who are willing to challenge any problem.
Group behaviour gives more strength to come down heavily on problems.

3. Proximity:
People form groups because of proximity and attraction towards each other. The
group formation theory is based on propinquity, which means that individuals affiliate
because of spatial or geographical proximity.

They interact frequently with each other on many topics, because this interactive
communication is rewarding.

4. Socio-psychological Factors:
Sentiments and action-uniformities bring people closer. They also form groups for
safety, security and social achievements. People cooperate with members of the group
on social as well as economic grounds to reach satisfactory levels. People form groups
basically for activities, interaction and due to sentiments. People living in proximity
frequently discuss their problems.They try to reduce their tensions and achieve
satisfaction. Individuals interest each other only when they have common attitudes
and sentiments.People with diverse attitudes form groups under certain compulsions
to meet unexpected problems.Employees form unions to ensure the safety and
security of jobs. Outside the factory, they form groups for religious, social, cultural
and political activities.

Groups can be either formal or informal.

 Formal Groups: A formal group is set up by the organization to carry out
work in support of the organization's goals. In formal groups, the behaviours that
one should engage in are stipulated by and directed toward organizational goals.
Examples include a book keeping department, an executive committee, and a
product development team. Formal group may be command groups or task
 Command Group: A command group consists of a manager and the
employees who report to him or her. Thus, it is defined in terms of the
organization's hierarchy. Membership in the group arises from each
employee's position on the organizational chart.
 Task Group: A task group is made up of employees who work together
to complete a particular task or project. A task group's boundaries are not
limited to its immediate hierarchical superior. It can cross command
relationships. A employee's membership in the group arises from the
responsibilities delegated to the employee - that is, the employee's
responsibility to carry out particular activities. Task group may be
temporary with an established life span, or they may be open ended.
 Informal Groups: An organization's informal groups are groups that evolve to
meet social or affiliation needs by bringing people together based on shared
interests or friendship. Thus, informal groups are alliances that are neither
formally structured nor organizationally determined. These groups are natural
formations in the work environment that appear in response to the need for social
contact. Many factors explain why people are attracted to one another. One
explanation is simply proximity; when people work near one another every day,
they are likely to form friendships.
Type of Informal group are
I ) friendship Groups: Groups often develop because the individual members have
one or more common characteristics. We call these formations friendship groups.
Social alliances, which frequently extend outside the work situation, can be based on
similar age, hold same political view, attended the same college etc.
II) Interest Groups: People who may or may not be aligned into common command
or task groups may affiliate to attain a specific objective with which each is concerned.
This is an interest group.
III) Reference Groups: Some times, people use a group as a basis for comparison in
making decisions or forming opinions. When a group is used in this way, itis a
reference group. Employees have reference groups inside or outside the organization
where they work. For most people, the family is the most important reference groups.
Other important reference groups typically include coworkers, friends, and members
of the person's religious organization. The employee need not admire a group for it to
serve as a reference group. Some reference groups serve as a negative reference; the
employee tries to be unlike members of these groups.
IV) Membership Groups: When a person does belong to a group (formal and
informal groups to which employees actually belong) the group is called a
membership group (or affiliation group) for that person. Members of a group have
some collection of benefits and responsibilities that go beyond the groups erving as a
reference point. In a membership group, each member would be expected to
contribute to the group's well being and would enjoy the benefit arising from the
group member's friendship.

Top 12 Factors Influencing Group Cohesiveness

(1) Similarities of Attitudes and Values, (2) Size of the Group, (3) Time, (4)
Location, (5) Status, (6) Difficulty in Entry, (7) Inter Dependency, (8)
Management Behaviour, (9) Member Turnover, (10) Threat, (11) Previous
Successes and Shared Goals, and (12) Cooperation.

1. Similarities of Attitudes and Values:

One of the strongest sources of group cohesiveness is the similarity in attitudes and
values among group members. We enjoy the company of people who hold similar
opinions, morals, beliefs and code of conduct, because the person who shares the
same opinions as we do provide us with a kind of social validation for our beliefs. He
provides us with a feeling that we are right. If someone disagrees with us, this might
make us scared that we are wrong.

Similarity of interest is very important when the group’s primary goal is that of
creating a friendly interpersonal climate. This factor may not be so important when
the goal is task oriented. For example, if the army has to win a strategic battle, then
the task accomplishment becomes the cohesive factor rather than the similarity of
attitudes and values because the unit may consist of soldiers from different parts of
the country who may not have much in common.

2. Size of the Group:

Small groups are effective. The larger the size of the group, the less cohesive the
group is.

The main reasons for this are as explained below:

(i) When the group is small, its members have constant face to face contacts. Thus,
there will be high degree of interaction and communication with each other. In large
groups, the possibility of interaction among members is less.

(ii) As group size increases, it becomes more difficult to get the group to agree on
common goals and activities and expression of disagreement and dissatisfaction

(iii) Another problem with large size groups is that there is a likelihood of forming
small groups within the large groups. This would result in the dilution of the common
group goal thus increasing the extent of power politics play. This tends to decrease the
overall cohesiveness.

(iv) Studies have shown that if all the members of the group are of the same sex, then
small groups have better cohesion than large ones. But when the groups were made up
of both males and females, the large groups have better cohesion.

3. Time:
It is quite natural that the more time people spend with one another, the more they will
get to know each other and more tendency there will be to get closer to each other,
thus, strengthening the degree of cohesiveness. In a workplace, people who work near
each other are more likely to spend more time together. In routine life, you will spend
more time with only those whom you like personally and want to continue interacting
with them.

4. Location:
Location of the group plays an important role in determining the cohesiveness. Where
members of a group are located close together separated from other groups, they will
develop greater cohesiveness because of constant face to face interaction. Where there
is no dividing line between one group and another, cohesion is more difficult to
achieve because a chain of interactions develops.

5. Status:
Status of a group determines the degree of group cohesiveness to a great extent. A
high status group receives greater loyalty from its members which in turn makes the
group more strong. That is why people are generally more loyal to high status groups.

6. Difficulty in Entry:
The more difficult it is to get in a group, the more cohesive that group becomes. The
reasons is that in exclusive and elite groups the members are selected on the basis of
certain characteristics and these characteristics being common to all add to the degree
of liking and attraction towards each other. The more exclusive the group the more is
the closeness among members. As the groups are not easy to join, the selected
members feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.

7. Inter Dependency:
When each member of a group has independent activities, the cohesiveness among the
members of such group will be less as compared to the group whose members are
doing the operations which are dependent upon each other, thus, mutual dependency
leads to greater cohesiveness.

8. Management Behaviour:
The behaviour of management has a direct influence on the degree of cohesiveness
that exists within a group. The manager can make close relations difficult by creating
unhealthy competition among employees. On the other hand, he can build solidarity
by rewarding cooperative behaviour. The cohesive group can help attain the group
goals more effectively, if the group members are properly inspired by the manager.

9. Member Turnover:
To make a group more cohesive, there is need for some degree of stable relationships
among members. The higher the degree of member turnover, the less cohesive a group
becomes, because the more frequently members leave a particular group the more
time a new member takes to get attached to the group and the more time the old
member takes to get attached to the new group.

10. Threat:
Threat is a very powerful force which unifies the group, particularly when it
come from:

(i) Outside the group

(ii) Cooperation can help over-some the threat and

(iii) There is little or no chance for escape.

For example, the management threats frequently bring together an otherwise

disarrayed union. Thus, the threatening party will have a less chance of success when
faced with a unified force.

11. Previous Successes and Shared Goals:

When a group achieves a meaningful goal, the cohesiveness of the group increases
because the success is shared by all the members and each one feels responsible for
the achievement. , If the group agrees on the purpose and direction of its activities,
this serves to bind the group together. For this reason, successful companies find it
easy to hire new talented employees.

12. Cooperation:
Sometimes the general atmosphere of group enhances cohesiveness. The overall
atmosphere depends among other things on leadership.

Group Decision Making:

Definition: The Group Decision Making is the collective activity wherein several
persons interact simultaneously to find out the solution to a given statement of a
problem. In other words, group decision making is a participatory process wherein
multiple individuals work together to analyze the problem and find out the optimum
solution out of the available set of alternatives.In group decision-making, the number
of participants often ranges from two to seven. It is not necessary that all the group
members agree with each other and hence most of the times, the decision is taken on
the basis of a majority if no other mode of a majority is prescribed. The majority
means the number of votes in favor or against the proposed alternative.

There are several techniques that can be used to increase the efficiency of group
decision making. These are as follows:

1.Nominal group Technique

2.Delphi Technique
4.Dialectic Decisions Method

I ) Nominal Group Technique :

The Nominal Group Technique is a form of brainstorming, wherein a structured
meeting is held among the group members where they are required to find solutions to
the problem identified for the discussion.In other words, a systematic and an
organized group meeting held among the members to facilitate decision making by
properly identifying the problems and generating the solutions thereof. The nominal
group technique helps in preventing the discussion being dominated by a single
person and hence, allow the silent members, who are quite shy, to speak out their
ideas in the group.
The objective of nominal group technique is to resolve the opinion conflicts among
the group members by enabling each individual to pen down his/her thoughts about
the problem and later discuss it with the entire group to reach the consensus solution.

Steps Involved :

1. First of all, the facilitator welcomes all the participants and then briefs about the
problem requiring decision.

2. The participants are given time to pen down their ideas that come to their minds
in reference to the problem being discussed. During this period, each member
writes his/her ideas silently without discussing anything with each other.

3.Once all the members have written, their ideas are required to share them in
front of all the group members. At this stage, the facilitator chalks down the ideas
of each group member on the flip chart, thereby giving all the members equal
opportunity to share what they feel.

4.Once the key points are written on the chart, the members are asked to discuss
the points which hey feel requires an explanation. Each member explains his/her
mind to the other members and in the meanwhile, the facilitator tries to maintain
the discussion as neutral as possible, thereby avoiding the criticism and

5.Once all points are explained, the members are asked to give vote or rank
various ideas by prioritizing these in relation to the basic problem, for which the
meeting is held.

If the group does not reach a consensus decision, then again the ranks are assigned to
the recorded ideas and this process continues till the final decision is arrived.
One of the main advantages of nominal group technique is that it gives all the group
members an equal opportunity to speak out their minds. Also, some group members
are quite and shy, this method helps them to write down their ideas and discuss with
the group members. The major disadvantage is that this technique consumes a lot of
time to arrive to a final conclusion and also only one problem can be addressed at a

II) Delphi Technique

The Delphi Technique refers to the systematic forecasting method used to gather
opinions of the panel of experts on the problem being encountered, through the
questionnaires, often sent through mail. In other words, a set of opinions pertaining to
a specific problem, obtained in writing usually through questionnaires from several
experts in the specific field is called as a Delphi technique. In a Delphi technique, the
group facilitator or the change agent aggregates all the anonymous opinions received
through the questionnaires, sent two or three times to the same set of experts. The
experts are required to give justification for the answers given in the first
questionnaire and on the basis of it, the revised questionnaire is prepared and is again
sent to the same group of experts.

The experts can modify their answers in accordance with the replies given by other
panel members. The objective of a Delphi technique is to reach to the most accurate
answer by decreasing the number of solutions each time the questionnaire is sent to
the group of experts. The experts are required to give their opinion every time the
questionnaire is received, and this process continues until the issues are narrowed,
responses are focused, and the consensus is reached.

In a Delphi technique, the identity of the group members is not revealed, and they are
not even required to gather for a physical meeting. Each member is free to give his
opinion with respect to the problem, thereby avoiding the influential effect that a
powerful or authoritative member can have on the other group members.

This technique is quite advantageous as diverse opinions can be gathered from the
large pool of experts who might be geographically separated. Also, the quality of
decision gets improved as the expertise of each group member is capitalized to reach
to a final solution.

III) Brainstorming
The Brainstorming is a technique to stimulate creative ideas and solutions through a
group discussion. Simply, a process wherein a group attempts to find a solution for the
specific problem by aggregating all the spontaneous opinions or suggestions given by
each group member individually is called as brainstorming.

In a brainstorming session, a group of 10-15 persons is constituted who are directly or

closely related to the problem of discussion irrespective of their fields of disciplines.
During this session, the group members are just required to share their ideas or speak
out the mind in front of other members and need not worry about how realistic or
feasible the solution is.

Generally, the brainstorming is carried on in the following ways:

1. First of all, the group leader/facilitator outlines the problem requiring a decision.
The problem is clearly stated such that the members can easily understand it and
focus their direct attention on it.

2.Once the problem is defined, the participants are asked to share their opinions
through which the problem can be tackled. Here the aim is to get as many ideas as
possible; its feasibility is checked later.

3.The participants are required to give away their ideas freely without considering
any financial, legal or organizational limitations.

4.The evaluation of ideas is done in the later stage. Therefore, any criticism,
judgement, or comment is strictly prohibited during the brainstorming session, and
the participants are told not to indulge in these.

Once the brainstorming session is over, all the recorded ideas are analyzed, discussed
and criticized during the evaluation session, during which the actual feasibility of an
idea is checked.

IV) Dialectic Decisions Method

The Dialectic Decisions Method is a technique used to overcome the problem in the
group-decision making, wherein the group members quickly agree to one alternative
proposal and might overlook more promising solutions than the chosen one. Thus, it
ensures a full consideration of alternatives.

The reason behind such a quick converge on a single alternative may be, the
participant’s unwillingness to meet and get indulged into the tough discussions. Thus,
in order to overcome such problem, the dialectic decisions method came into
existence.The reason behind such a quick converge on a single alternative may be, the
participant’s unwillingness to meet and get indulged into the tough discussions. Thus,
in order to overcome such problem, the dialectic decisions method came into

The dialectic decisions method comprises of following steps:

1. First of all, a clear statement of a problem is stated.

2.Then, all the possible alternative proposals are generated.

 Once the set of alternatives is listed, the group members identify all the
implicit and explicit assumptions central to the proposals.
 Then each alternative is broken into subgroups to study all the pros and cons
of the proposals in the light of a problem.
 Once these steps are completed individually, the group members meet and
decide on a proposal to be chosen on the basis of its ultimate results (pros and

Thus, through a dialectic decisions method, every group member participates

equally in finding out the most promising alternative proposal in the context of a
given problem.

Advantages of Group Decision Making

It is the idea that the whole is greater than the aggregate of its parts. When a group
makes a decision collectively, its judgment can be powerful than that of any of its
members. Through discussing, questioning, and collaborative approach, group
members can identify more complete and robust solutions and recommendations.
Sharing of information
Group decisions take into account a wider scope of information as each group
member may contribute distinct information and expertise. Sharing information
increases understanding, clarifies issues, and facilitates movement towards a
collective decision.

Disadvantages of Group Decision Making

The major disadvantages of group decision making are as follows −
Diffusion of Responsibility
Group decision making results in distribution of responsibility that results in lack of
accountability for outcomes. In this way, everyone is responsible for a decision, and
no one really is. Moreover, group decisions can make it easier for members to refuse
personal responsibilities and blame others for bad decisions.
Lower Efficiency
Group decisions can sometimes be less efficient than individual decisions. It takes
additional time because there is a need of active participation, discussion, and
coordination among group members. Without good facilitation and structure,
meetings can get eliminated in trivial details that may matter a lot to one person but
not to the others.
Group think
One of the biggest disadvantage of effective group decision making is groupthink. It
is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the
wish for harmony or conformity results in an illogical or dysfunctional
decision-making outcome.

By refraining themselves from outside influences and actively suppressing opposing

viewpoints in the interest of minimizing conflict, group members reach a consensus
decision without critical evaluation of substitute viewpoints.

Group think sometimes produces dehumanizing actions against the out-group.

Communications is fundamental to the existence and survival of humans as well as to an
organization. It is a process of creating and sharing ideas, information, views, facts,
feelings, etc. among the people to reach a common understanding. Communication is the
key to the Directing function of management.

A manager may be highly qualified and skilled but if he does not possess good
communication skills, all his ability becomes irrelevant. A manager must communicate
his directions effectively to the subordinates to get the work done from them properly.

Communications Process

Communications is a continuous process which mainly involves three elements viz.

sender, message, and receiver. The elements involved in the communication process are
explained below in detail:
1. Sender

The sender or the communicator generates the message and conveys it to the receiver.
He is the source and the one who starts the communication

2. Message

It is the idea, information, view, fact, feeling, etc. that is generated by the sender and is
then intended to be communicated further.

3. Encoding

The message generated by the sender is encoded symbolically such as in the form of
words, pictures, gestures, etc. before it is being conveyed.

4. Media

It is the manner in which the encoded message is transmitted. The message may be
transmitted orally or in writing. The medium of communication includes telephone,
internet, post, fax, e-mail, etc. The choice of medium is decided by the sender.

5. Decoding

It is the process of converting the symbols encoded by the sender. After decoding the
message is received by the receiver.

6. Receiver

He is the person who is last in the chain and for whom the message was sent by the
sender. Once the receiver receives the message and understands it in proper perspective
and acts according to the message, only then the purpose of communication is

7. Feedback

Once the receiver confirms to the sender that he has received the message and
understood it, the process of communication is complete.

8. Noise

It refers to any obstruction that is caused by the sender, message or receiver during the
process of communication. For example, bad telephone connection, faulty encoding,
faulty decoding, inattentive receiver, poor understanding of message due to prejudice or
inappropriate gestures, etc.
Importance of Communication

1. The Basis of Co-ordination

The manager explains to the employees the organizational goals, modes of their
achievement and also the interpersonal relationships amongst them. This provides
coordination between various employees and also departments. Thus, communications
act as a basis for coordination in the organization.

2. Fluent Working

A manager coordinates the human and physical elements of an organization to run it

smoothly and efficiently. This coordination is not possible without proper

3. The Basis of Decision Making

Proper communication provides information to the manager that is useful for decision
making. No decisions could be taken in the absence of information. Thus,
communication is the basis for taking the right decisions.

Learn more about Barriers of Communication here in detail.

4. Increases Managerial Efficiency

The manager conveys the targets and issues instructions and allocates jobs to the
subordinates. All of these aspects involve communication. Thus, communication is
essential for the quick and effective performance of the managers and the entire

5. Increases Cooperation and Organizational Peace

The two-way communication process promotes co-operation and mutual understanding

amongst the workers and also between them and the management. This leads to less
friction and thus leads to industrial peace in the factory and efficient operations.

6. Boosts Morale of the Employees

Good communication helps the workers to adjust to the physical and social aspect of
work. It also improves good human relations in the industry. An efficient system of
communication enables the management to motivate, influence and satisfy the
subordinates which in turn boosts their morale and keeps them motivated.
Types of Communication

1. Formal Communication

Formal communications are the one which flows through the official channels designed
in the organizational chart. It may take place between a superior and a subordinate, a
subordinate and a superior or among the same cadre employees or managers. These
communications can be oral or in writing and are generally recorded and filed in the

Formal communication may be further classified as Vertical communication and

Horizontal communication.

Vertical Communication

Vertical Communications as the name suggests flows vertically upwards or downwards

through formal channels. Upward communication refers to the flow of communication
from a subordinate to a superior whereas downward communication flows from a
superior to a subordinate.

Application for grant of leave, submission of a progress report, request for loans etc. are
some of the examples of upward communication. Sending notice to employees to attend
a meeting, delegating work to the subordinates, informing them about the company
policies, etc. are some examples of downward communication.

Horizontal Communication

Horizontal or lateral communication takes place between one division and another. For
example, a production manager may contact the finance manager to discuss the delivery
of raw material or its purchase.

Types of communication networks in formal communication:

 Single chain: In this type of network communications flows from every

superior to his subordinate through a single chain.

 Wheel: In this network, all subordinates under one superior communicate

through him only. They are not allowed to talk among themselves.

 Circular: In this type of network, the communication moves in a circle. Each

person is able to communicate with his adjoining two persons only.

 Free flow: In this network, each person can communicate with any other
person freely. There is no restriction.
 Inverted V: In this type of network, a subordinate is allowed to communicate
with his immediate superior as well as his superior’s superior also. However, in the
latter case, only ordained communication takes place.

2. Informal Communication

Any communication that takes place without following the formal channels of
communication is said to be informal communication. The Informal communication is
often referred to as the ‘grapevine’ as it spreads throughout the organization and in all
directions without any regard to the levels of authority.

The informal communication spreads rapidly, often gets distorted and it is very difficult
to detect the source of such communication. It also leads to rumors which are not true.
People’s behavior is often affected by the rumors and informal discussions which
sometimes may hamper the work environment.

However, sometimes these channels may be helpful as they carry information rapidly and,
therefore, may be useful to the manager at times. Informal channels are also used by the
managers to transmit information in order to know the reactions of his/her subordinates.

Types of Grapevine network:

1.Single strand: In this network, each person communicates with the other in a

2.Gossip network: In this type of network, each person communicates with all
other persons on a non-selective basis.

3.Probability network: In this network, the individual communicates randomly

with other individuals.

4.Cluster Network: In this network, the individual communicates with only

those people whom he trusts. Out of these four types of networks, the Cluster
network is the most popular in organizations.

Barriers to Communication

The communication barriers may prevent communication or carry incorrect meaning due
to which misunderstandings may be created. Therefore, it is essential for a manager to
identify such barriers and take appropriate measures to overcome them. The barriers to
communication in organizations can be broadly grouped as follows:

1. Semantic Barriers
These are concerned with the problems and obstructions in the process of encoding and
decoding of a message into words or impressions. Normally, such barriers result due to
use of wrong words, faulty translations, different interpretations etc.

For example, a manager has to communicate with workers who have no knowledge of
the English language and on the other side, he is not well conversant with the Hindi
language. Here, language is a barrier to communication as the manager may not be able
to communicate properly with the workers.

2. Psychological Barriers

Emotional or psychological factors also act as barriers to communication. The state of

mind of both sender and receiver of communication reflects in effective communication.
A worried person cannot communicate properly and an angry recipient cannot
understand the message properly.

Thus, at the time of communication, both the sender and the receiver need to be
psychologically sound. Also, they should trust each other. If they do not believe each
other, they cannot understand each other’s message in its original sense.

3. Organizational Barriers

The factors related to organizational structure, rules and regulations authority

relationships, etc. may sometimes act as barriers to effective communication. In an
organization with a highly centralized pattern, people may not be encouraged to have
free communication. Also, rigid rules and regulations and cumbersome procedures may
also become a hurdle to communication.

4. Personal Barriers

The personal factors of both sender and receiver may act as a barrier to effective
communication. If a superior thinks that a particular communication may adversely
affect his authority, he may suppress such communication.

Also, if the superiors do not have confidence in the competency of their subordinates,
they may not ask for their advice. The subordinates may not be willing to offer useful
suggestions in the absence of any reward or appreciation for a good suggestion.