Managing Teams And Groups
Welcome to the course Managing Groups and Teams (INDU1107). This handbook outlines the key details for this course but please also refer to the course Moodle site for further information.
This course follows on from the year 1 course Managing the Performance of Individuals (OB1). In this course we examine classic seminal and current research on groups and teams in order to understand the factors that influence the effectiveness of teams at work in organisations. We will study group composition, cohesiveness, power, communication and other fascinating aspects of group behaviour. We will attempt to understand why the individuals behaves differently in groups. Group behaviour can produce disastrous or remarkable results. As future managers you will want to understand how to use the power of the group to best effect and how to avoid group dysfunction. One of the most challenging aspects of the course will be that you will study group behaviour while working in a group. With thoughtful reflection you may learn something about your own behaviour in a group.
2.Introduction to the Course
‘Madness is rare in individuals – but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.’ (Friedrich Nietzsche)
The moment an organisation evolves beyond two or three members we see the emergence of the ‘group’ or ‘team’. As it continues to evolve members are organised into teams with the objective of achieving organisational goals. The assumption being that teams are more effective than individuals working alone. There is a plethora of definitions that attempt to capture what constitutes a group but the common features are individuals must see themselves as in a group (Bales 1950, Schein 1965). There is a standard set of role relationships and a set of norms (McDavid & Harari, 1968), individuals feel rewarded by membership (Bass, 1960) and there is interpersonal interaction over time (Homans, 1950).
The formal group is recognised by the organisation but informal groups evolve in response to shared interests rather than a function of deliberate organisational design. They develop their own norms and roles and may facilitate or frustrate organisational objectives (Roethlisberger & Dickson, 1939; Shaw, 1976).
However we define groups it is inescapable that they are made up of individuals who in turn have their own psychology, ‘There is no psychology of groups which is not essentially and entirely a psychology of individuals’ (Allport, 1924 cited in Brown, 1988:p3)
‘We need to see group forces arising out of the actions of individuals and individuals whose actions are a function of the group forces that they themselves (or others) have brought into existence. We must see group phenomena as both the product and condition of actions of individuals’ (Asch, 1952 cited in Brown, 1988:p4)
This course will give you insight into how to best manage the complexities of the group. However, true insight will come through recognising and reflecting on the dynamic you contribute to the group.