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How people behave and perform as members of a group is as important as their behaviour or performance as individuals. Drawing on your own experiences and on the theory and research on groups, discuss critically how working in a group can be both psychologically rewarding as well as potentially demanding for the individual. For example, you could use your experience of working as a group on a project in a university or in your workplace
Aim of the Assignment
Individual behaviour and performance
People behaviour and performances as members of a group
Pros & Cons of working together for an individual
Critical Analysis & Conclusion
Aim of the Assignment:
The main aim of this assignment given to each individual is to analyze and research on how people behave and to observe closely their performance as an individual or members of a team which are equally important. Also considering our own experience being a team member or working individually on a task and analyzing how it would be rewarding both potentially and psychologically.
To understand it in a much simple way let me put the entire aim into a mathematical equation, which is as follows:
People Behaviour + Performance as a team member = Individual behaviour + Individual performance
This Equation would appear to be almost similar when we look at the Left Hand side & Right Hand Side, but it is not, because with my experience as an observer, when we look at people's behaviour and their performance as a team member, we can also make out their individual behaviour and their individual performance. If we understand any part of the equation, we can get to know that individual or assume the other part of the equation, as each part is interlinked with the other.
For example: To estimate the value of 'A' where C = A + B, and C = 10. We can assume B to be of x value and the value of A = 10 - x. It might appear to be little confusing and complicated but in my perspective if we understand or analyze a person in one aspect, we can predict the other aspects as well, wherein each aspect is equally important and rewarding.
It is very interesting to know or to predict how one individual reacts or behaves in an Organization. It feels very good when we can predict the behaviour of a person if we understand the circumstances well. Isn't it interesting? Well it is for me at least.
"What is Organizational Behavior?" (2006, Vandeveer, Menefee, Sinclair) It is the methodology to understand how individual, people or group behaves at workplaces. The whole concept is to understand and predict the human behavior in the organization.
In an organization we have managers who are the leaders and the individuals working under them are its followers. If we understand the behaviour of the followers and its leaders then it would lead us to the success of the organization as we would be able to know the approach of each in various situations.
Well now we get another question in our mind which is "Does Organisational Behavior require a systematic approach?" (2006, Vandeveer, Menefee, Sinclair) Many people think that it is just the common sense that we need to apply and many think it is just intuition, but how would this be defined. In my perspective, common sense is our own personal opinions which not necessarily be right and intuition is our own feeling which cannot be supported by any theory. Yes, there is a systematic approach for OB because the organizations change, competition increase, affect of technology on various individuals. So, we must change our thinking of predicting people by our common sense and intuitions to following up a systematic system to understand behaviour of organizations, individuals and groups.
I would take this as a privilege to share my experience as the School Leader for three years where I was also the President of the School Parliament and The Prefect to represent our Educational Society. It was a challenging role as I had to manage all the department and also report to the office with the behaviours of different cabinet members in the proper running of Various Houses. I had to monitor each subordinate who had a direct approach with the students, receiving their feedback and paying concern to their problems. Being immature I had to predict or assume few things in ways which did not had any theoretical support, but this was necessary to properly understand their behaviour and approaches to various situations to achieve the aim provided and accomplish the task anyhow. For example: If we analyze an individual on a particular task, we can assume that persons' approach to the other task.
There are also elements which act as base for a strong foundation of the organization where in the managements vision, philosophy, culture and goals are most important. There are used to set the organizations environment (Organizational Behavior. Available: http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadob.html. Last accessed 19 March 2010.) The people working in the organization as individuals contribute as the whole to deliver quality work. The outcome is the performance, development, satisfaction and growth of individual. All these elements together build the framework of the organizations' performance.
When I was working for Michael Dell as his resolution expert, I had to be a part of a group of experts where each individual performance was calculated knowingly or unknowingly. A track record of each individual was maintained and further performance was also forecasted. It gave everyone an aim to achieve, though with loads of pressure as the organizations performance was dependent on us irrespective of our psychological reward. We as individuals in a group learnt a lot as it gave us an excellent exposure, pleasant for few, and not for few.
Individual behaviour and performance:
Martin Goodyer (2009) (is an experienced professional coach and behavioural change practitioner. He is a corporate coach with a background of 17 years in senior business management and development) talks about transforming attitude and behaviour problems into assets. He says that all individuals in some point or the other have problems with their behaviour which directly or indirectly affects them at their workplace with the change in performance level. Some directors with their individual behaviour problems drive their organization backwards. This is a common thing which we see around us, not only with directors but also with other staff members who are trained to deliver and also provided support but they are not able to deliver the task well due to some behavioral or attitudinal issue, that's stopping them moving forward. Realizing this is the first important thing and second is what could be done in solving the problem and converting it into rewards/assets. All individuals in the organization couldn't be an asset but some of them are who could turn themselves from the behavioral problem and can add value to the organization, instead costing the organization.
There is no common sense or logic in solving the problem as humans are driven by their emotions and not by logic because emotions control our behaviour. So, it is our emotions that cause a change in our behaviour which affect us psychologically and potentially. In order to perform well in a group, each individual must sort their own behavioral problem which could arise by itself or while being a part of the team. We can find that issue which is affecting our performance and do something about it. Some individuals change their behaviour or undergo an emotional stimulation under the influence of other person's behaviour in order not to experience the pain or to make them feel better from insight. We can also analyze them and observe what they are doing and why they are doing it and understand their behavioral framework in order not to get a poor performance level. Even in the most challenging circumstances we must maintain a good level of communication in order to build a rapport with everyone so that we can know the problem which is costing organization and individual in performance.
Tom DeMarco (2008) talks about different patterns of Behaviour, where he says, how good a human brain is in recognizing patterns. It records different patterns which controls our behaviour. Our mind tries to remember various patterns unconsciously by various names or characteristics which we react accordingly when our mind identifies a similar situation again. So far there have been 88 different patterns over 37 years across 25 countries which are recognized, each of which has been given a snappy name to remember and an essay about it to recognize a pattern and how to proceed. The behaviour which we adapt might be good or very good in fact, but sometimes it might be destructive and leads to frustration.
In my own experience as the School Rep as mentioned earlier, I had to undergo many emotional stimulation and observe various patterns in order to adjust my behaviour suitable with everyone so that the performance level does not go bad. I had to maintain a proper oxygen level with everyone around so that everyone could breath well and there persist no resistance. An individual differ from the other in opinions, attitudes, beliefs, commitment, communication, experience, culture, values, education, intelligence, emotions, age and life style, and I got to know these different aspects with the experience or exposure which I got.
The main thing is communication skills and only through open and transparent communication skills we would be able to carry forward information well with proper clarity and deliver it well. It helped me a lot while undergoing this, as this helped me to be emotionally flexible and recognizing my potential as a leader with a boast of confidence. It was a challenging task, though interesting and cherishable throughout.
"Abilities such as being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustration; to control impulsive and delay gratification; to regulate one's moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think; to empathize and to hope." (Daniel Goleman). It is not an easy task to motivate our self when we are distressed or not feeling good. But, if we master in this then it becomes very easy to make right decisions and perform better as it is observed that emotions change rapidly at work, due to the circumstance or situation in which we are. OB is very complex as it deals with key things like motivation; it deals with stress which is a main concern these days. Some individuals find it easier to display or to suppress certain emotions or stress and consequently can have less negative effects. (Totter dell & Holman, 2003, Call Centre Employees).
People behaviour and performances as members of a group:
According to Donelson R. Forsyth (2006), a group is connection of two or more individuals who are connected to one another by social relationships. Usually we find that different writers come out with their own definition of what a group is because they write in regards on their work.
Some definitions of a Group:
"Conceiving of a group as a dynamic whole should include a definition of group that is based on interdependence of the members." Kurt Lewin (1951: 146)
"We mean by a group a number of persons who communicate with one another often over a span of time, and who are few enough so that each person is able to communicate with all the others, not at second-hand, through other people, but face-to-face." George Homans (1950: 1)
"To put it simply they are units composed of two or more persons who come into contact for a purpose and who consider the contact meaningful." Theodore M. Mills(1967: 2)
"A group is a collection of individuals who have relations to one another that make them interdependent to some significant degree. As so defined, the term group refers to a class of social entities having in common the property of interdependence among their constituent members." Dorwin Cartwright and Alvin Zander (1968: 46)
"Descriptively speaking, a psychological group is defined as one that is psychologically significant for the members, to which they relate themselves subjectively for social comparison and the acquisition of norms and values, ... that they privately accept membership in, and which influences their attitudes and behaviour." John C Turner(1987: 1-2)
"A group exists when two or more people define themselves as members of it and when its existence is recognized by at least one other." Rupert Brown (1988: 2-3)
What I feel, a group is a set of different individuals who are involved in the group and has a special bonding amongst them so that they can execute the task well by showing excellent performance. Considering my experience so far for working in various groups at School, College, University or work place; to deliver excellent quality work:
We should be able to understand each other well in a group because we are sailing 'in the same boat' (Brown 1988: 28), so it is good to understand each other psychologically.
We should be able to communicate with each other in a clear way in order to get the right response, transmit orders, to recognize problems, to obtain or provide feedback, to know others perceptions and to resist conflicts. (Wendy Bloisi, Curtis W. Cook and Phillip L. Hunsaker 2007:355). With my experience, we must communicate in a proper which is very essential because it allows the team members to co ordinate various things, share information with clarity and satisfy each other needs well.
As we are given a task to execute as a group, we must perform it with high values and standards and instead of taking individual credit; we must remember that our team is defined by us as a whole and by others working with us as a team. As Benson (2000:5) says, "We must come together to work on common and for agreed purposes" which according to me is rewarding for all in the team.
Pros & Cons of working together for an individual:
Stephen P. Robbins (2005) gives us the reasons of why individual tend to form groups. His first reason is Security & Status which everyone is concerned today. None would like to endanger themselves. We feel secure as we are not executing the task alone and there are others in the group as well to provide creative input which gives a multi dimensional view to the task and which in return also yields better performance. It also helps us recognize our potential of working in a group, as in a group when we execute the task given to us; we get to know our capacity of performing that task which is also psychologically rewarding.
We also urge to be a part of the group because consciously we are aware of achieving the goal if we are a part of a group rather than working alone by our self where we are aware of not achieving the goal because of lack of diversity and inputs. (Stephen P. Robbins 2005). Hence, it is an opportunity to work together in groups on tasks. "The many are smarter than the few" James Suriwiecki (2004)
As we have seen in individual performance and behaviour section, individuals also get to know their behaviour towards other and how it can be altered to feel happy from insight. They tend to know them self much better with the feedback which they get, if it's taken positively by them or else it might lead to conflicts which is a downside.
There are also problems which teams face, such as: pattern of work, achieving the goal, lack in training or support, culture and communication. (Betty Conti and Brian H. Kleine 1997). The management of the organization must finalize a pattern or structure of work that best suits the organization. Sometimes there might be some problems in the organization or individuals own commitments which might disturb the agenda of the team. To overcome this we must always keep track of the goal to be achieved which is very important for the team's performance. The management must also provide proper training and support to the team players in order to expect good results from them. If they don't get proper support or possess lack of training, then it might lead to group's failure. Sometimes people from different culture may find it difficult to cope up with the situation and there could also remain some communication gap.
Robert Loo and Karran Thorpe (2002) mentions stress which is a factor to worry in team work caused due to time pressure or frustration. This definitely affects the performance as negative response is expected at stressful situations. Individuals working in a group are stressed due to non active participation of the team mates which increases work load.
Hence, we must take care of all these things in order to avoid teams' failure and obtain better results.
It is also beneficial for organization to support team work as it would attract more number of best people to join their organization so that the organization could perform better. My view is that, it depends all in the organization which pattern it adapts to yield profit and compete with the rest in the arena.
Critical Analysis & Conclusion:
Working in a group is more beneficial as it is a place where relations can grow and a place where people can find support which is rewarding personally. Many people, like me, like to socialize a lot and I always believe in group work because it yields quality work due to different individuals present in group with different mindsets and ideas, though it is a challenging task to manage them, as I have an experience of leading a few groups.
It is also potentially demanding as while working together we unconsciously compete with one another and tend to give our best which lets us know our ultimate potential and when each time we go beyond our potential it is beneficial for an individual's personality.
It is also psychologically rewarding due to the points mentioned earlier. None would wish to fail at any point and hurt their self esteem and status. Working is a group also helps us strengthen our self esteem, behaviour with others and control our emotions.
For us to make sure that a group delivers the effective work with efficiency, the team members in the group must be competent in using all their minute skills. "Humans are not born with these skills; they must be developed." (Johnson and Johnson 2003: 579; 581) This is the best thing which I liked the most while working on this. None of us have come out from the womb with some special skills; it is here were we learn; which is endlessâ€¦