Behaviour of individual in a group

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"The line of study and understanding of individual and group behaviour, and patterns of structure in order to help improve organisational performance and effectiveness." (Robbins, 2007). Organisation is one of the most important parts and serves important needs of the society. So the decisions and actions of management in organisations have an increasing impact on individuals, other organisations and the community (Mullins, 2008). Hence it is important, to understand how organisation functions. For that we need to learn the behaviour of people, how do they behave and perform as members of a group and as individuals.

This report is discussing the performance and behaviour of an individual while working in a group. The report emphasise on three interrelated parts which are concerned with: describing the formation of the group, differences between group and team, how individual perform in a group and their performance as an individual, and finally some conclusions on importance of the behaviour and performance of an individual in a group.


Groups are any number of people who interact with one another; are psychologically aware of one another; and perceive themselves to be a group (Schein, 1988). A group is two or more individuals interacting with each other to accomplish a common goal (Ivancevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, 2008). Any ways groups are not same as that of teams. Teams are mature groups which are motivated and they are interdependent on each other for a common goal. Team can be of fixed size but groups can defer on purpose of the work. All teams can be a group but all groups can't be a team.

Advantages and disadvantages of a group


  • Learn to listen others point of view of other member in a group and take their considerations.
  • Learn a lot from individuals personalities.
  • Learn group co-ordination and Mutual understanding.
  • Learn to divide work and complete the work faster.
  • Learn to interact with different kind of people.


  • If there are many people in a group then there may be group conflict.
  • There may be different opinions on doing same thing so sometimes it takes time to start the work.
  • Every member of a group should know its role and should work accordingly.
  • Self esteem of a person can be heart while his opinion is not taken or not implemented.

Why do people join groups?

Humans are social animal, they can't stay alone. They want someone to interact with each other. People join clubs, different groups and societies just for interacting with each other. This is human psychology that they can't stop communicating with each other. Working in a group is an excellent way of building the effective interpersonal relationship that organisation needs (Heller, 1997). There are some of other reasons why people like to be in a group and they are: Security, Task achievement, Social needs and Power (Ellis & Penny, 2000). People feel safety while they are in a group for an example working in an organisation some decision has to be taken people feel safe to take decision in a group rather than taking individually. Task achievement is also a main reason why people join groups there are many task which cannot be done alone. Some people join groups for social needs say by forming a group they are forming some special relationship. Power is the main reason people form a group for an instance if many people are doing a particular talk it can be done easily but that's not true for individuals.

Reasons for formation of a group in an organisation

People join groups because groups are able to accomplish things that individuals cannot accomplish working alone and working in group fulfils the social needs of people. The functional theory of the formation posits that groups are the only way to survive the demands of the environment (Stewart, Manz, & Sims, 1999).

  • Environmental factors

As jobs become more complex due to technology or other factors, groups become a good way to handle the complexity (Levi, 2001). Moreover, joint management has a strong ability to attract capital beyond the founders or owner's resources from private and venture capital backers (Timmons, 1999). I feel some work in an organization can't be done by individual it requires a group of people for better understanding of a complex situation.

  • Poor performance, crisis and survival

The urge to try something new and to change the course of action increases when the performance is low (Boone, C; van Olffen, W; vanWitteloostuijn, A; De Brebander, B, 2004)

Hence there is a fear of failure when a individual is working alone but that's not always true when groups are working. People know their own responsibilities while working in a group and they try to fulfil each and every thing.

  • Growth

A small business owner may not have the sufficient knowledge and skills to ensure significant organizational growth (Weinzimmer, 1997). When the firm sizeincreases, more people are needed for effective management (Weltman, 2001). Groups are responsible for the development of an organisation. Hence group should always think about the growth of the organisation.

  • Profitability and better firm performance

The benefits of teamwork in management relate to both work and firm performance (e.g. (Hunsaker, 2001; Eisenstat & Cohen, 1990)No human is perfect, but groups can be. Human has some or other areas where they cannot work. But while working in a group human can hide their weaknesses.

  • Social issues

Companionship can help in problem solving and to diminish demanding working conditions as support arises among the team members (Hunsaker, 2001). One of the most compelling reasons why people join groups is because they believe membership in a particular group will help them to satisfy one or more important needs.

Group norms

According to Sherif (1936), norms are the "customs, traditions, rules, values, fashions, and any other criteria of conduct which are standardised as a consequence of contact with individuals". Later, (Steers, 1981) called norms a shared group standard which regulates member behaviour. Norms also have been identified as the informal rules that groups adopt to regulate and regularise members' behaviour (Feldman, 1984).

Although norms generally exist in the formal context of group functioning, rarely appear in written form, and are seldom discussed, they still have a very powerful and consistent influence on group behaviour (Hackman, 1976). After analysing all this definitions I feel norms are rules which are made by individuals which work in a group for its smooth working.

Norms are made by a group, so there can be different norms for different types of a group. For example, there are groups of people who are in a university every group will have its own norms. Secondly, there are various degrees of acceptance by a group member. That means some norms are followed by every group member and other norms are restricted to some people only. Some of the norms are also applied all group members and some norms are applied for few people in a group. For an instance, a group is working in an organisation, some norms are followed by all group members and some norms are only for the position holders, say managers in a group (Ivancevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, 2008).

Different types of group

Organisation has two different types of groups they are formal groups and informal groups. The major difference between both this types of groups is that there is friendship between the members of the group. In informal group the entire member knows each other so they know what strength and weaknesses each individual has according to that everyone can work out knowing each other. And formal groups are made by the organisations they don't know each other they are formed for a specific goal. "A planned system of cooperative effort in which each participant has a recognized role to play and duties or tasks to perform" (Katz, 1965). These types of groups are made only for smooth functioning of an organisation. People don't know each other so there are less chance of getting friendly environment, and getting better results. According to Palazzolo (1981), "a collection of individual whose common work experience result in the development of a system of interpersonal relations beyond those expected of them by values of their employment". In this type of group people know each other and they are friends with common goals so they can coordinate with each other without any problem. There is no communication gap between the people, so work can be done in better way. The only problem with this type of group is that it has friendly environment so many times it does not work for a organisation. But informal groups are better than formal groups.


"A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the member's strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically

Appraise alternative courses of action" (Janis, 1972). With the idea of Groupthink group behaviour and performance can be increased. Groupthink can make any kind of decisions in an organization. As we have notice individual does not take any decisions, all the decisions are been taken by the organisation are discussed before implementing it. This is because all individual has different way of thinking in an organisation so everyone should know what is going on and can get ideas from everyone. By doing this the chances of implementing a risk gets decrease and on one in an organisation can regret the fact after implementing the new project.

Numbers of specific symptoms on groupthink are as follows.

  • There is an illusion of invulnerability with excessive optimism and risk-taking.
  • The discounting or discrediting of negative feedback which contradicts group consensus results in rationalisation in order to explain away any disagreeable information.
  • An unquestioned belief in the inherent morality of the group which leads members to be convinced of the logical correctness of what it is doing and to ignore ethical or moral consequences of decisions.
  • The group's desire to maintain consensus can lead to negative stereotyping of opponents or people outside the group, or to the acceptance of change.
  • There is pressure on individual members to conform and reach consensus so that minority or unpopular ideas may be suppressed.
  • Each member of the group may impose self-censorship in order to suppress their own objectives, or personal doubts or disagreements.
  • As a result of self-censorship, there is an illusion of unanimity with a lack of expressed dissent and a false sense of unity.
  • In the unlikely event of dissent or contrary information, this will give rise to the emergence of 'mind guards' who act as filters, guarding group leaders, deflecting opposition and applying pressure on deviants. (Mullins, 2008)

Individual behaviour as a group member

Psychological research on creativity has tended to focus on individuals and intra-individual factors (e.g., motivation; Amabile, 1982). Ford's (1996) Theory of Creative Individual Action also links the work environment with intra-individual factors to explain individual creativity. Ford's theory describes three individual characteristics which overlap conceptually with the components of Amabile's (1988, 1997) model, via: sense making, motivation, and knowledge and ability. Individual personality makes a big impact on his psychological behaviour in an organisation. Also all the employees has to be motivated by some or the other ways. There may be some of the differences while working in a group but individual has to ignore them. All the group members are there for a common purpose so everyone should know their role and accordingly they have to perform while they are in a group.

No individual should back-off at last movement while working in a group. By doing this he can develop psychologically as well as potentially. He can get different ideas from all other group members. He won't be restricted to a limit, and also can work better as a group member. This is because we know no individual is perfect and group can be, this says group members can hide weaknesses of a individual. But for performing better in a group individual should be motivated all the time. Maslow's theory of motivation gives an idea how individual can be motivated.


Motivation is the factor that every group leader should give to their group member. Motivation is better explained by Maslow's theory.

Maslow's theory

Abraham Maslow attempted to formulate a needs-based framework of human motivation and based upon his clinical experiences with humans.From Maslow's theory of motivation, modern leaders and executive managers find means ofemployee motivationfor the purposes of employee and workforce management. According to this theory humans are motivated by unsatisfied needs and certain lower needs. All individuals should fulfil physiological needs first. If these needs are not satisfied then there are chances for an individual to leave the organisation, as he is de-motivated from the organisation. After completing these needs other higher level needs should be completed like he should be safe from other things which are in and out of the organisation. And the hierarchy goes on till Self-Actualization. Hence Abraham Maslow's model indicates that basic, low-level needs such as physiological requirements and safety must be satisfied before higher-level needs such as self-fulfilment are pursued. (Anonymus, Abraham Maslow Biography, 2005)

Peer Pressure

Peer pressureis a change inattitudes,values, orbehaviourin person toconformto groupnorms (Anonymus, 2010). This person cannot be the member of the group. Peer pressure can be because of change in anything in the organisation. This can be a environment change or change in need. And because of this pressure group member leaves the group and may join other group which he don't like to be a member of that group, and thus they behave adversely concerning that group's behaviours. Peer pressure can cause people to do things they would not normally do, e.g. start drinking, may take least interest in the organisation, etc.

Group Conflict

Group conflict can occurs when there is difference in opinions within the group member. Conflict in a group can occur because of following reasons age, race, gender, education, functional background, and tenure. And because of this some time we feel to stay away from a group. This type of conflict can be seen in formal group. But that's not a case of informal group all the group member knows each other so they are understanding and many a times informal group may be of same age group and same kind of education so due to this reason the rate of conflict reduces or many times conflict does not take place. There is also conflict in the informal groups but this type of conflict does not last for more than a day.


This I can say with my own experience, I have been a member of a informal group while I was in my college, I was a member of cultural committee of the college from five years. Till completed my graduation. We used to organise the college festival called Utkarsh, I always took part in event handling stuff. And for last couple of years I was elected as a co-ordinator of Roars, with is IT and comp-science festival under Utkarsh. There were almost 15-20 peoples group who used to be a member if Roars and Utkarsh, so while organising a festival there are always conflict between a group members that which event will take place and where will it be held in the college, this is because there are almost 4000 people turning up for the event hence every one want to keep more event and all the event at one place hence there are conflict between group members. But once everything is solved there are no personal regrets in any one's mind. This is a big advantage of been a member of a informal group.

In informal group also there should be a person who manages the group. In my case I been a co-ordinator had to look after the group. I had to look after personal problems with some other group members some other problems group member has while organising the festival. In intra group conflict I had to manage to solve the problem. This I was doing on the Maslow's theory. If they need any necessary things for the event I typed to fulfil that by demanding it from the college authorities. The authorities should give them some safety measures by asking professors to take the lectures which they have missed and don't mark them as absent while they are working for the college festival as well as providing them with equal standards so that everyone gets a chance to give their own opinion. To provide them a self esteem so that they can also be confident while working for a college festival.


Work done by individual always talk time then work done by a group. Everything depends on the individual personality and his psychological and potential behaviour. Say now there is a word written "impossible" one individual may read it as "impossible" and other may read it as "i m possible". Hence it depends on how the individual think. But working in a group always helps for individual to development himself. He gets to know how other individuals in a group think and what is the approach of other people on a particular work. There is always conflict in a group individuals should take these in a positive way as the group conflict is because of the betterment of the work which group is doing. The conflict in a group can be minimised if the group is an informal group. This is because all the group member knows each other and they are almost of same age so there thinking are also almost same. There should be a leader in a group to control the group. Group leader should always motivate people so that people can work in better way. Finally, I think group is always a better option to work rather than working as an individual.


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