Dividing Activities and Forming
Unless the way in which your unit,
or group, is organized is suitable for its purposes and the people in it,
failure will result. Once you have
set the objectives, analyzed the activities, decisions, relations
needed, and classified the work, divide it into manageable activities and
further divide the activities into manageable jobs. Group these units and
jobs into an organization structure, select people for the management of
these units and for the jobs to be done.
"But beware – groups can either be
built into highly effective
teams or become obstacles to progress that reinforce conformity and kill
The Principle of
Research findings consistently
validate the "principle of participation" in the
team building – i.e. group
members more readily accept new ideas and new work methods when they are
given the opportunity to participate in making the decision to
change and to
participate in deciding how to implement the change.
practicing participative management can use varying degrees of group member
participation. This requires knowledge of specific skills and methods: how
to listen so that group members talk about their problems; how to conduct
efficient meetings; how to get group members to set performance
Formal and Informal Groups
Organization is a combination of
interrelated groups. These groups can be classified, according to their
orientation, as formal and informal ones.
Formal groups are those
designated and sanctioned by the organization. These groups possess
legitimate power within the organization, and generally are formed to
accomplish a designated task or function.
Informal groups are ones
created by employees themselves, not sanctioned by the organization. These
groups can be created around a work place issue (interest groups) or an
activity outside the work place (friendship groups).
Basic Forms of Groups
Groups, classified according to
their purpose, can be functional groups;
task forces created to complete a specific task; interest groups
formed within the work place by a common interest; peer groups joined
friendship outside the work place; and formal committees.
Formation and Development of
As groups evolve through the four
stages of mutual acceptance, decision making, group maturity, and control,
their ability to deal with different and increasingly complex problems also
evolves. Management should be aware of the progress of a group and assign
tasks accordingly. As a group matures and grows, it evolves standards of
expected behaviors and attitudes. These are the group norms that are very
important in the reinforcement of group loyalty and identity.
Group Behavior Norms
Behavior within a group conforms
to the expectations of its members. This expected behavior takes place
within a range defined by upper and lower performance standards accepted by
the management and the group members. If management wishes to increase
worker productivity within the group, it must change both the lower and
upper performance standards.
The status of a group within the
organization is dependent upon four major factors: the importance of the
task assigned; the success of the group; the status of the individual
workers; and the nature of the rewards to the group's members by the
organization. An organization should enhance the status of a group if
it wishes willing and enthusiastic participation by the workers.
Techniques to increase
and generation of new ideas by a group include brainstorming, nominal group
technique, and the Delphi technique.
is used with a small group to generate a large number of alternative
solutions to a problem, defined by management, in a short period of time.
During the alternatives generation phase, no criticism may be voiced
because this would interrupt the generation of potential solutions. During
the evaluation phase, each potential solution is evaluated in detail
by the group.
Nominal group technique is
used in conjunction with the planning activities
of management to create managerial contingencies and future projections. In
this technique, a problem, defined by management, presented to a small
group. Each member individually generates as many solutions to the problem
presented as possible, in writing. There is no communication between group
members. After a given period of time, group members present their ideas.
The ideas of each presenter are recorded. The group members can ask the
presenter to clarify the ideas, but no criticism is voiced during these
presentations. After all group members have completed their presentations,
the recorded ideas are discussed and criticized. After the group discussion,
each participant is asked to rank the ideas in writing and anonymously.
Delphi technique is
suitable for identifying future trends. It may be used when personal
interaction may influence the quality of the information generation. Experts
constituting the group do not meet physically. The Delphi group coordinator
sends questions to the individual group members in writing. Each member is
asked to answer these questions anonymously. Evaluation of these answers by
other group members is also done anonymously. Coordinator tabulates and
summarizes the answers and returns the summaries to the group members, who
are asked to examine the criticism and modify their original answers if
necessary. At no point does any group member know who proposed a
specific idea or who criticized it. The focus is exclusively on the merits
of the idea, never on the individual personality.