May 25, 2024

Group Dynamics

Group Dynamics


 Stephen P Robbins defines the term group as ‘two or more individuals, interacting and interdependent, who have come together to achieve particular objectives.’

G.C. Homans defines the term group as ‘any number of people who share goals, often communicate with each other over a period of time, and are few enough so that each individual may communicate with all the others, person-to-person.’

In the modern days of information technology, people need not physically come together, but they communicate and interact with each other. Thus, there may be virtual coming together. They strive for a common goal. Thus, the bondage of the group is constructed around the common goal or objective. The members of the group share their skills and other resources and achieve their goals through the integrated effort.

With this background, we define the term group. Group is the combination of two or more people with a purpose of achieving their common and shared goals through their integrated effort.

Group Dynamics


  • the branch of mechanics concerned with the motion of bodies under the action of forces.( in mechanics)
  • the forces or properties which stimulate growth, development, or change within a system or process. Example: “the dynamics of changing social relations”

Group Dynamics:

  • How a small group interacts with each other.

An example of group dynamics is how the people in the finance department get along.

  • Interaction of complex intra- and inter-personal forces operating in a group which determine its character, development, and long-term survival.
  • Field of study concerned with determination of laws underlying group behavior.

Features of group

The following are the features of the group:-

  1. TWO OR MORE PERSONS – A group should have at least two people. With a single individual there cannot be a meaningful interaction.
  2. COLLECTIVE IDENTITY – Each member of the group must believe that s/he is a part of the group and be aware of his membership. If not aware, there will be no meaningful interaction.
  3. INTERACTION – Each member should share her/his ideas with others through communication, at least occasionally.
  4. SHARED GOAL INTEREST – Every group has a common objective. The shared goal interest/s brings the group members together.

Need for Formation of Group

Formation of groups is necessary as man is basically a social being. Most of the people prefer to live and work in groups. In addition, the following factors are also responsible for the formation and development of groups:

(i) Security: Groups provide security to its members from others in the society, from the threats posed by other groups, insecurity caused by the environmental, climatic, life, economic, social and other factors.

(ii) Empowerment through sharing of Resources: Groups provide facilities and opportunities to the members to exchange their skills, knowledge, talents, values etc. This process enables the individuals to gain more knowledge and acquire expertise. Thus, members gain expert power. Thus,

the group empowers the members.

(iii) Becoming a Leader: People with leadership skills and with a desire to become a leader form the groups. They at least initially lead such groups. For example, outside political leaders used to form groups and convert these groups into trade unions during 1940s to 1960s. Some of these important leaders are Jayaprakash Narayan, V.V.Giri, Khandubhai Desai, George Ferandez and Shankar Dayal Sharma.

(iv) Synergy: Groups provide the benefit of synergy. The outcome of the group effort is greater than the sum of the individual contributions of the group members.

(v) Goal Attainment: Most of the organisational goals can be achieved by the group effort as they need the integrated effort of the employees.

(vi) Status: People possess enhanced status as a member of a group rather than as individuals.

(vii) Affiliation Needs: Group membership satisfies belonging and affiliation needs of the employees.

(viii) Self-esteem: Group membership provides a feeling to the members that they are more worthy as a member of a group than individually.

Types of Groups

Different people join groups with various purposes or due to the forces of different factors. Consequently, different types of groups are formed.

They are:

(i) Formal Group: When two or more individuals join together as a group due to the official job structure and relationship in an organisation, this a group is called formal group. Group of production manager, materials manager and quality control manager of a company is an example of formal group.

(ii)  Informal Group: When two or more individuals join together as a group in order to satisfy their social needs but not due to official job structure and organisational requirements, such a group is called informal group. Informal groups are formed out of the common interests, aptitudes, values, opinions, ideas and characteristics of the people. For example, three employees from production department, marketing department and the finance department gather in the company’s meeting hall and discuss current economic issues – this is an example of informal group.

(iii) Command Group: A command group is composed of subordinates who report directly to a common supervisor e.g. a production manager & his subordinates in his department.

 (iv) Task Group: A task group is usually formed to solve a problem. It is comprised of the employees who work together to complete a particular task.

People working together in order to accomplish a particular task form a group. Such a group is called task group. Task group boundaries are not limited to the particular department, but they may spread throughout the organisation, and sometimes spread even beyond the organisation.

For example, Human Resources Manager, Finance Manager and Production Manager form a negotiation group in order to settle a salary dispute of factory workers. This negotiation group is an example of task group.

(v) Interest Group:  People with common interests like maintaining and developing working conditions, recreational facilities, providing employee services etc., form a group. Such group is called interest group.

(vi) Friendship Groups:  People with common characteristics form groups. These common characteristics include hard working, work avoiding, smart working, status seeking, family orientation, risk taking etc. For example, Two employees from the production department and marketing department with a common character of work avoiding, making friendship and form a

group in order to defend each other’s behaviour is called friendship group.

(vii) Primary Groups: If the individuals with a feeling of comradeship, loyalty, intimacy, face to face association & co-operation a commonsense of values form into a group. Such group is called a primary group. Group of family members viz., father, mother, brother and sister is an example of primary group.

A secondary group is formal, may not have any interest in the problems & pleasure of others.

(viii) Coalitions:  Individuals from different groups form into an ad hoc group in order to achieve a specific task or goal. Such groups are called coalitions. The individuals have dual membership i.e., one in the original group and another in the coalition. The coalition gets dissolved after the goal for which it is formed is attained.

Stages of group formation

Tuckman proposed a model of group development consisting of five stages.

Stage 1 Forming

Individuals during the initial stage are not clear of the purpose for which they would like to form into groups, other members, structure of the group, group tasks, leadership and group process. This stage is characterised by uncertainty and confusion. Members observe others, various events and issues and decide what type of behaviour is acceptable. Thus, members ‘test the-waters’ during this stage and decide within themselves as part of a group.

Stage 2: Storming

Storming stage is characterized by conflict and confrontation among the group members. During this stage, members accept the group, but there would be conflict over the leadership. Members know the hierarchy and chain of command when the leader within the group is determined. This stage is complete when the members are clear about the leader and the hierarchy.

Stage 3: Norming

Members settle, start cooperating and collaborating with each other, develop close relationship among themselves, exhibit cohesiveness and prefer to identify themselves with the group during the Norming stage. Members formulate common goals and expectations of the group.

Stage 4: Performing

In this stage, people can work independently, in subgroups, or as a total unit with equal facility. Their roles and authorities dynamically adjust to the changing needs of the group and individuals. Stage four is marked by interdependence in personal relations and problem solving in the realm of task functions. By now, the group should be most productive. Individual members have become self-assuring, and the need for group approval is past. Members are both highly task oriented and highly people oriented. There is unity: group identity is complete, group morale is high, and group loyalty is intense

Stage 5: Adjourning

Adjourning, involves the termination of task behaviors and disengagement from relationships. A planned conclusion usually includes recognition for participation and achievement and an opportunity for members to say personal goodbyes

Group cohesiveness

  • Group cohesion is the sum of all the factors causing members of a group to stay in the group or be attracted to the group. You can think of group cohesion as the ‘social glue’ that binds a group together.
  • Cohesiveness is a measure of the attraction of the group to its members (and the resistance to leaving it), the sense of team spirit, and the willingness of its members to coordinate their efforts. 
  • Group cohesiveness is the degree to which group members are attracted to each other and are inspired and motivated to stay in the group.

Factors responsible for group cohesion

  • Interest in helping each other develop their skills
  • Desire to be on a winning team
  • Group members’ commitment to the organization’s performance goals
  • Identification with the Group
    Sometimes, our membership in a group becomes a very important part of our self-identity.
  • Psychological Needs of affiliation
    people may be attracted to a group in order to satisfy some deep-seated psychological need. Some people have a particular high need for affiliation with others.  A group member’s desire to satisfy such psychological needs may indirectly affect cohesiveness through its direct effect on group process.
  • Communication and status needs.

People desire to have high status in their groups. His idea was that most people have the psychological need to have status.

  • Group members spend more time with each other
  • Small size of the group
  • Frequent interaction among members
  • Group members have common threats
  • Agreement on Common Goals
  • High competition with other groups
  • Personal attractiveness
  • members aim at increase in the group status
  • Favourable Evaluation
  • when they physically isolate the group

Effects of Cohesiveness

Effects of Cohesiveness:  Cohesiveness influences productivity. Cohesiveness alongwith induction and performance norms influences productivity.

  • High cohesiveness alongwith positive induction of the employee to the work, company, colleagues etc.
  • leads to high productivity
  • Low cohesiveness along negative induction leads to low productivity
  • High cohesiveness alongwith high performance norms result in high productivity
  • High cohesiveness alongwith low performance norms leads to low productivity
  • Low cohesiveness alongwith high performance norms results in moderate productivity
  • High cohesiveness alongwith negative induction results in low productivity.

Factors that Decrease Group Cohesiveness

  • Spend less time with each other
  • Large size of the group
  • Infrequent interaction among members
  • No Threats
  • Disagreement on Common Goals
  • No competition with other groups
  • Unpleasant experiences
  • Domination by one or more members

What are the important elements of group structure?

  • Status: It refers to the position or rank within a group. Different roles or positions in a group
    are associated with different levels of status. Members of groups which are high in status are
    viewed favourably by others. For example- the captain of a cricket team has a higher status
    compared to the other members, although all are equally important for the team’s success.
  • Role: Role is set of behaviours which the individuals occupying specific position within a group
    are expected to perform, e.g., father as a bread-earner.
  • Norms:  Norms are expected standards of behaviour and beliefs established, agreed upon
    and enforced by group-members. e.g., in family, there are norms which guide the behaviour of
  • Cohesiveness: All forces (factors) that cause group-members to remain in the group, such
    as liking for the other members and the desire to maintain or increase one’s status by
    belonging to the ‘right groups’.

Factors affecting group behavior

A group is defined as two or more individuals, interacting and independent, who have come together to achieve particular objectives. Group behaviors are affected or influenced by some significant variables or factors. The major variables are:

  1. Formal leadership: Almost every work group has a formal leader. The common titles of those leaders are superior, foreman, project leader, department manager, general manager, chainman or managing director etc. These leaders can play an important role in group’s success. They are also liable for the failure of group.
  • Roles: The world is a stage and all men and women are merely players. All group members are actors; they are playing different types of roles. A role is an expected behavior in a given position in a social unit. Different groups impose different roles on different individual. We can have different concepts about role in a group.
  1. Role identity: there are certain attitudes and behaviors consistent with a role. This is called role identity.
    1. Role perception: Group’s members need role perception. Role perception in an individual’s view of how he or she is supposed to act in a given situation.
    1. Role expectations: Role expectations are defined as how others behave the one should act in a given situation.
    1. Role conflict: Role conflict is a situation in which an individual is confronted by divergent role expectation.
  • Norms: All groups have some establish norms. Norms refer to the acceptable standards of behaviors that are shared by the group’s members. Formalized norms are written up in organizational manuals, and all the people in an organization are bound to follow that rules and regulations. But the majority of norms in organizations are informal.
  • Group status: Status may be defined as a social rank or position given in a group by others. We live in a class structured society. Status is important for group members.
  • Group size: The size of a group affects the group’s overall performance or behavior. Small groups are faster at completing task than are larger ones. If the group is encouraged in problem solving, large groups are perfect to small group. So if the goal of hand, smaller group is better in achieving productivity.
  • Composition of the group: Since group is association of different types of people with variety of skills and knowledge. When a group is heterogeneous rather than homogeneous in terms of age, gender, race, educational background, personalities, opinions, abilities skills and knowledge, it can be effective to complete a work.
  • Group cohesiveness: The degree in which members are attracted to each other and are motivated to stay in the group are called group cohesiveness. Group behavior are significantly affected by group are cohesiveness. The following suggestions can increase group cohesiveness:

i.      the group smaller

ii.      Make Increase the members spend together

iii.      Encourage agreement about group goals

iv.      Increase the status of the group

v.      Stimulate competition with other group

vi.      Give reward to the group rather than the members

vii.      Physically isolate the group

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