Groups in Organization: Stages of Group Development

It could be argued that in order to be successful, modern organisations must actively develop strong and cohesive work groups. Why? Is it true that there is no room for the individualist in today’s organisation?

The fast advancement and development in the knowledge and skill of information and communication practical application of science to commerce or industry has led to contemporary organisation searching for new ways of working. One of these advance ways is using work group. Many, establishments are now becoming universal than ever, which signifies that they rely on extended teams to perform definite responsibilities (Nedelko, 2007). Although in the present days most occupations necessitate a degree of human being and group effort and it is left to the organization to recognize which technique might be suitable for the job (Belbin, 2007). This essay stresses and emphasises on how a group of people who work together can use work group to their benefit, and the several features that can have an effect on work group’s presentation. Besides, this paper will also be consider or examine when it is suitable to make use of work groups.

A group can be clearly characterized as ‘the number of individuals in an organization who (1) interrelate with each other; (2) are psychologically and physically conscious of each other and (3)be familiar with themselves to be a working group’ (Mullins, 2007, p.299). Certain jobs can only be done by a joined effort of a group. Organisation can use groups to carry out tasks which will help to realize its overall goal. On the other hand, for the working group in an organization to succeed they must understand what is anticipated of them and have the correct skill to perform or carry-out the task expected from them. (Mullins, 2007).

A group needs members who have a variety of skills. An organization must comprise of a group of employees with dissimilar manners of ability. For example an organization that deals with the field of engineering will need professionals in several areas of the engineering field. For the truth that the job has to carried out or implemented by a group means it requires employees with different working skills in the field of work.

Most often, the company or organization deliberately put groups together to serve stated organizational purposes. Informal groups, however, are another matter. They form more or less spontaneously on the basics of actions by their members and to serve that member’s self-interest, which may or may not concur to those of the organization.

Factors influencing the Formation of groups

The most important factors influencing the formation of groups in organizations are the goals of the organization, the opportunities for routine interaction and the psychological needs of potential group members.

Groups may be made up of persons who are very alike or very different. If the former, we describe the group as homogenous. If the latter, the group would be viewed as heterogeneous or dissimilar. Most groups have some degree of diversity and many have a great deal. The managerial has to ask them whether a greater amount of diversity within groups’ help will hinder such outcomes as turnover of membership and group performances. Research to date shows that there is simple answer to this question.

  • It shows that increased diversity has:
  • Negative effects on members’ reactions
  • Positive effects on increasing quality of the outputs of members thinking together as a group because a wider range of opinions and ideas are discussed.
  • Decreased frequency of communication within the group and more communication with those outside a group.

The challenges for managers is to capitalize on the major benefits that are possible by having group diversity and to try to reduce possible disadvantages by foreseeing what some of those might be and directly deal with them.

Stages of Group Development

Whether groups are formed by the organization or by intended actions of individuals, they are likely to move through different or specific development stages as they mature. One popular early statements on this issue uses an easy-to remember set of terms for such stages; ‘forming’ (knowing each other), ‘storming’ (stating different opinions), norming (agreeing on basic issues), performing (carrying out joint group actions (Biggs, 2003, p.130)

 Illustrating Stages of Group Development.
Fig 1.1 Illustrating Stages of Group Development.


New groups and their leader face some kind of challenges. In particular, in the formation or first stage, members need to know who is in the group, who is leading the group and where each person is coming from in terms of their approach to different point of views.

Early development

Following a group’s formation and first contact, an early-development stage settles and that may last for some time, depending on the nature of the group and its mission. In this stage, members learn what is needed from them, what behaviour is acceptable and how they can relate to each other. Naturally members carefully exchange and sometimes jealously guard information. It is also a time for learning about how opinions within the group go beyond or vary on important matters and as a result disagreements over group objectives or the means to reach them may arise.

Becoming a group

In this stage, at least a small amount of harmony about group issues begins to appear as well as a degree of individual identity with the group and its goals. How much consensus and group identity will actually emerge vary widely from group to group at this stage, depending in large part on how well the group is meeting members needs and on how well it is being led. In this stage organizations and managers can have considerable impact on a group’s development and help it to become a true team.

Performing as a team

In this stage, a group leader is able to perform like a team and take actions as an entity and not just as individuals. Internally, this means that the group is able to influence members’ attitudes and behaviour on matters of importance to the group and externally it means that others in the organization are being affected by its actions (Olmstead, 2002).

Cognitive skills on developing strong and cohesive work groups

The term cohesion means “the state of unity or sticking together” in other words, the ability of group members to be together for the good of the organization. It had been anticipated that both gauges of group output standards would show the predicted relationships between group interconnection and within-group sameness yet only one of the measures conformed to the prediction. It is not possible to determine the reasons for this although two possibilities can be mentioned:

  1. It is possible that individual differences in perceived reasonable productivity are less ‘visible’ than differences in actual productivity, and hence less controversial and less subjected to the group influences.
  2. The measure of perceived reasonable productivity may be relatively less

Practical and professional skills on developing strong and cohesive work groups

People belong to groups and teams for many reasons. Some look for membership because of the social, financial, or professional benefits it may grant. Social is when a person is attracted to a group as a group as opposed to an individual. Financial/professional benefit is when there is monetary value attached to being in the group by specializing in a field where you are good in. Others involuntarily assigned by a supervisor to a work group, may have neither a sense of commitment nor a real understanding of the roles and expectations of other group members. Socially unified groups tend to function at much higher levels of efficiency than groups that are not consisted. In other words, people who get along and both value and take pleasure in their group or team roles more will likely accomplish their shared goals more quickly and resourcefully.

Groups stay together for a number of reasons: Shared values, agreement of targets and objectiveness, external social pressure, common cultural norms or practices, and not surprisingly personal compatibility. Teams that fail to develop a sense of social unity will go through greater levels of dysfunctional clash and, in all possibilities, fail to attain the goals they’ve set for themselves or those that have been set for them by the organization (Yarbrough and O’Rourke, 2008, p.75).

As members of a group or team work and interact with one another, they come to know and understand the dissimilarities that separate them. They also develop typecasts or homogeneous images of those who are members of the group. The process that allows group members to bond with one another may encourage them to see outsiders not only as different from their group but also as very alike to one another.

Transferable and Key skills on developing strong and cohesive work groups

Sociological research tells us constantly that it is human nature not to be involved with people we don’t know. We might make a mistake, or look stupid, or be attacked. We will, however get involved with people we do know, help them with their problems and even protect them (Murray, 2008). One key to working and learning with other people is, therefore, the ability to break walls and become friends with would-be strangers, while recognizing differences and respecting different point of views. Furthermore, much has been said about transferable skills, or key skills, particularly including oral communication skills, problem-solving skills, self-organization skills, and reflection. Many of these skills can only be learned from, and with other people, and cannot be developed only by reading and studying what others have written about them. It is now increasingly accepted that the most important product of education and training are about developing people, and not just what they understand.

Employers and managers look for employees who are able to work well with others, and sort themselves out. Working in small groups can allow employees to embrace a range of interactive and collaborative skills which are often hard to develop in individual study situations. The small-group skills are exactly those required in employment and research where they will be able to:

  • Work in teams;
  • listen to others’ ideas sympathetically and critically;
  • build on others’ existing work;
  • collaborate on projects;
  • manage time and processes effectively;
  • be able to complete a project;
  • Cope with the normal difficulties in dealings between human beings (Mukherjee, 2005).

In conclusion, we find that it is true that there is no room for the individualist in today’s organisation, just because people have different opinions or ways of tackling problems does not mean people can’t work through it and find a solution and work together.

Reference List

Belbin, M. 1998. Teamrollen op het werk, Accademic Services, Germany: Schoonhoven

Biggs, J. 2003. Teaching for quality Learning at University (2nd ed). United Kingdom: Open University Press.

Mukherjee, S. 2005. Organisation & Management And Business Communication. New Delhi, New Age International.

Mullins, J. L. 2007. Library management and marketing in a multicultural world: proceedings of the 2006 IFLA Management and Marketing Section’s Conference, Shanghai, 16-17 August, 2006. The Hague, Netherland: Walter de Gruyter.

Murray, Rowena. 2008. The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. United Kingdom: Open University Press.

Nedelko, Z. 2007. Videoconferencing in virtual teams. Business Review, 7 (1), 164-170;

Olmstead, J. A. 2002. Leading groups in stressful times: teams, work units, and task forces. West port, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Philip, R., 2007.The lecturer’s toolkit: a practical guide to assessment, learning and teaching. New York, NY: Routledge.

Yarbrough, B. T. & O’Rourke, J. S., 2008. Leading Groups and Teams. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

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