Throughput Factor-Group Effectiveness-Organization Behavior

This refer to all aspects of the group processes and dynamics that result in task performance and member satisfaction. Some of these are the norms developed on groups, group cohesiveness, decision making processes used by the group and the extent of task and maintenance activities performed by the group members.

I.            Norms and cohesion: we have seen the relationships among the variables of group size. Group members' characteristics,, homogeneity among the group members in terms of their needs, values and motivations to belong to the group, and the development of norms and group cohesion. Where cohesive group members subscribe to the same norms and goals as the company, the task performance of the group will be high both in terms of quantity and quality. Such groups will also experience high morale and satisfaction, as members continue to be committed to the group goals. On the other hand, groups in which members do not subscribe to the same norms, and extensive polarization regarding values and work orientations exists among the members, the groups will lack cohesion and experience low morale and a high level of dissatisfaction.

II.            Decision making processes as a throughput: decision making is important for successful task performance in any organizational system and decisions will be effective only under the conditions discussed earlier in the section on group decision making processes. Leadership abilities, task attributes, status issues, group members' characteristics and the group decision making process itself, are all important determinants of the quality of decisions. The decision making style and process influence how the decisions made are accepted and implemented. All these factors, then, determine how effectively tasks are performed and member satisfaction and commitment to the group are achieved.

III.            Task roles: in effective groups, at least six task roles are undertaken by group members as they work towards their group goals. They are the roles of idea initiator, information seeker, information provider, problem clarifier, summarizer and consensus tester.

a)      Idea initiator: is the group member who plans the tasks and sets the goals for the group, identifies the problems to be solved and also suggests procedures for solving them.

b)     Information seeker: is the member who requests, seeks and gathers the information necessary to continue with the tasks at hand. He attempts to clarify issues, checks foe factual accuracy and seeks expression of the opinions and concerns of all members to ensure that everyone in the group participates and different viewpoints are expressed in the group to avoid groupthink.

c)      Information provider: is the individual who provides information to the group about the problem puts forward ideas and proposes several alternatives to solve the problem.

d)     Problem clarifier: is the member who provides clarification when doubt or confusion arises, defines terms, interprets ideas and gets the group on track whenever it stays away from the main points and issues under discussion. She also attempts to coordinate the activities of members.

e)      Summarizer: is the one who pulls together all the ideas discussed by group members and offers a conclusion for the group to consider. Summarizing the ideas at the end of the discussions helps the group to concentrate on vital issues and focus on problem solving.

f)       Consensus: tester is the member who asks questions of the group to see if all members are thinking on the same lines as a decision is being reached, thereby testing whether or not a consensus is near at hand.

One or more members may play these roles in the group. In groups where status differences are minimal, these roles are likely to be played by different members at different times, depending on the issues under consideration and the expertise of group members, in some groups the role might be exclusively confined to the high-status group members.

The performance of task roles is a function of group dynamics and, when carried out diligently and effectively, has a significant impact on how jobs are handled and executed by group members, which in turn influences group effectiveness.

IV.            Maintenance roles: maintenance activities take care of the socio-emotional side of group members. At least five major roles are undertaken to ensure proper performance of the maintenance activities in the group. The roles played are those of the harmonizer, gate keeper, supporter, compromiser and standards monitor.

a)      Harmonizer: is the member who reconciles disagreements among group members as and when they arise, reduces tensions in the group, and ensures that the differences among the group members are duly considered and resolved satisfactorily.

b)     Gate keeper: the gate keeper keeps the channels of communication open so that all group members express their opinions, makes sure that everybody gets a chance to participate and encourages information sharing among group members.

c)      Supporter or encourager: is the member who exudes warmth and friendliness, is enthusiastic and responsive to others ideas and acknowledges the contributions made by individual members of the group.

d)     Compromiser: is the member who is ready to resolve the conflicts that surface when his or her ideas differ from those of the others in the group . the compromiser is willing to yield on issues or modify the stance taken, so that group cohesion is maintained and further progress made.

e)      Standards monitor: the standards monitor sets the standard for the quality of the group processes and is vigilant that it is satisfactorily maintained, the member thereby ensures that the group members are treated fairly and that group cohesion continues to be maintained.

For groups to be effective, attention must be paid to both the task and maintenance roles. It is possible that some members in the group, at least initially, engage in self-oriented roles (described below) and hinder the progress of the group. They have to be firmly handled to prevent such a contingency, and for the group to make progress.

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