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Group Development: The Formation Of Informal Work Groups

1741 words - 7 pages

Group Development: The Formation of Informal Work Groups

“Informal groups have a powerful influence on the effectiveness of an organization, and can even subvert its formal groups. But, the informal group’s role is not limited to resistance. The impact of the informal group upon the larger formal group depends on the norms that the informal group sets. So the informal group can make the formal organization more effective, too.” Informal groups can either be a manager’s best friend or worst enemy. Group Development: The Formation of Informal Work Groups Informal work groups are part of any working environment; how they form, the leadership within the group and how these groups communicate, follow the same basic model. “Groups are particularly good at combining talents and providing innovate solutions to possible unfamiliar problems.” “There are five stages of group development. The first is forming,which is where the group first comes together. Everyone is usually polite. Conflict is seldom voiced directly. Individuals will be guarded in their own opinions and reserved.” The second form of developmentis “storming a chaotic vying for leadership and trailing of group operates.” The third is norming as the second stage evolves the rules of engagement for the group becomes established, and the scopes of the group’s task or responsibilities are clear and agreed. Fourth is performing,not all groups reach this point. Everyone knows each other well enough to be able to work together. And the fifth stage is adjourning; this is about the completion and disengagement of the tasks and group members. The formations of informal work groups are employed by an organization to perform specific functions. Informal groups almost always arise if opportunities exist. Although the whole person joins an organization, attention is usually focused on the partial person, the part of the individual doing the job. Because people have needs that extend beyond the work itself, informal groups develop to fill certain emotional, social, and psychological needs. “Several major functions are served by informal groups. For example, the group serves as a means of satisfying the affiliation needs of its members for friendship and support. People need to belong, to be liked, to feel a part of something. Because the informal group can withhold this attractive reward, it has a tool of its own to coerce compliance with its norms.” Groups also provide a means of developing and confirming a person’s sense of identity and self-esteem. “Another function of groups is to serve as an agent for establishing and testing social reality. For example, several individuals may share a feeling that their manager or supervisor is a horrible boss and or their working conditions are inadequate. By developing a consensus about these feelings, group members are able to reduce the anxiety associated with their jobs.” “The informal group serves as a defense mechanism against forces that group...

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