Group Dynamics

Posted: October 17th, 2013

Group Dynamics




Group Dynamics

Group dynamics essentially entails the behavioral traits exhibited by individuals within a group environment. Hence, such traits may include the personalities, behavior and struggle for control and power exhibited by individuals within the group interactions. Employees are usually driven by the presence of motivation. Such is possibly achieved through group efforts. This is based on Douglas McGregor’s X and Y Theories, whereby Theory Y provides that employees are self-motivated and responsible, whereas Theory X provides that motivation is provided by the organization (Akintayo, & Faniran, 2012). Hence, prosperity of the organization should be in line with the prosperity of the employees. Understanding the employees’ needs and providing motivation could be provided through the establishment of groups for providing independence to employees and their needed motivation or higher productivity.

There are two types of groups: formal and informal within an organizational setting. The two types of groups are formed with the aim of performing varied tasks. A formal group is formed with the aim of performing a specific task, whereas an informal group is formed because of a natural response by members to either their interests or interests of the organization. Hence, group dynamics entails the behavior exhibited by members in ether formal or informal group settings, all of which are formed in response to specific needs in the organization. Group dynamics help to understand the functioning of the group and interactions by the members (Akintayo, & Faniran, 2012).

Communication stands out as an important factor in the interaction between members, in a group setting within an organization. Communication is defined as an activity as well as a skill, which is part of human knowledge. Therefore, within a group setting, members seek to share and make the knowledge, ideas and opinions that they possess known to the rest of the members. This is vital in that it enables members actualize their roles in the group. Hence, in an informal group setting members use their natural communication skills to share ideas and knowledge for their interests or the interests of the organization. Furthermore, members within a formal group setting use their formal communication skills to actualize their roles of purpose within the group (Hogg, 1993).

The behavioral traits exhibited by members and the type of communication between members in formal and informal groups are varied. Communication is made up of eight distinct components: source, message, channel, receiver, feedback, environment, context and interference. In a group setting, informal or formal, the source is tasked with the delivery of the message using an appropriate channel to reach the desired audience. The audience is considered as the recipients since they are part of a group that accrues information that is vital for the fulfillment of their roles in the group such as the performance of a specific task (Bushe, & Coetzer, 2007).

The ability of the recipient of the information or audience to respond or give feedback is determined by other components such as the environment, context and possibilities of interference during communication such as noise from members (Akintayo, & Faniran, 2012). The environment of communication varies in both informal and formal groupings in an organizational setting. In a formal setting, the environment is usually accommodative for communication and group activities. The context, such as the organizational setting, or the formation of a group for the performance of a task provided by the management, ensures that the audience is able to exercise their roles in the group. On the other hand, an informal group is usually a haphazard formation that is used to address the interests of the organization of the members (Bushe, & Coetzer, 2007).

An informal group lacks a definite environment and usually actualizes its activities based on the convenience of the members. Members usually communicate based on an understanding of each other. This is determined by factors such as the size of the group or number of group members. Larger groups tend to have lower understanding in an informal group given the presence of diversity in terms of ideas and information. Hence, this results in a breakdown of the larger group into smaller groupings. Such smaller groupings are based on the ability of the members to understand each other. Informal groups are usually driven by the presence of diverse interests resulting in lack of understanding between members. Furthermore, the members are usually divided based on the similarities of their interests in the smaller groupings, in an entire group. On the other hand, members in formal groups setting are usually driven by the presence of a precise task of a specific goal, which should be achieved through collective contribution by all the members in the group (Hogg, 1993).

Any form of grouping within an organization should be driven by the presence of conformity in terms of its purpose and interests among the members. This is vital in the minimization of conflicts among the members. Scholars such as Aristotle identify that there are three key facets of communication namely, pathos, ethos and logos. These facets are vital for success communication and for the audience to derive an inference from the conversation delivered by a speaker in both group and non-group settings (Akintayo, & Faniran, 2012).

Group members are driven by the presence of enthusiasm and passion towards understanding the statements, information or ideals communicated by an individual in the group. The emotions of the audience are paramount in the act of communication since the audience is driven by their emotions towards their receptiveness of the information delivered by the speaker in a group. Therefore, a speaker is driven by the need to ensure that he or she is able to appeal to the emotions of the audience by assuming a popular stance in an informal group and stance, which will enable the group achieve its goals such as in a formal group (Bushe, & Coetzer, 2007).

On the other hand, ethos, the ethical appeal usually appeals to both informal and formal groupings in an organization. Hence, it is paramount to appeal to the values or the positions assumed by the members in a group for eventual success of the group. The presence of uniformity in terms of the views assumed by the members is paramount to ensure that the members are able to gain an understanding of the positions assumed by other members. An ethical appeal is usually in relation to the overall view of the members towards a specific task in a formal group and towards general interests of members in an informal group setting (Hogg, 1993).

Understanding within a group is usually derived from the use of reason and logic by the members towards understanding the position assumed by a given speaker. Logos is assumed as the use of logic to make a conclusion as to the acceptance of a view assumed by a speaker. Group discussions are usually marked by contributions by members, which could be considered as argumentative in nature as members seek to popularize their views to other members in the group. Because of the presence of diversity in terms of opinions and views there is usually dire need for compromise between the members with an aim of achieving an equal perspective towards a specific task in a formal group and interests in an informal group (Hogg, 1993).

Achievement of compromise is usually achieved using mediation skills possessed by a speaker. This is because group discussions are usually marked by conflicts in terms of interests, power struggles between members and the diversity in terms of views and opinions. Hence, the use of mediation is aimed at ensuring that all the identified factors are accommodated for eventual success of the group in terms of achievement of the overall goals and objectives for the formation of a group. Conflicts in a group are usually driven by competition for power or supremacy resulting in deviations from the purpose of formation of a group. In addition, this could also be an indication of the presence of existing and unresolved conflicts between members in a group. Hence, a group provides such individuals with an avenue for display of their unresolved issues resulting in unwarranted conflicts, which seek address (Akintayo, & Faniran, 2012).

In essence, the term understanding is predominant and paramount in group relations and interactions between members. This is the main determining factor for the success of the group towards its achievement of its purpose of goals and objectives for establishment. This is paramount as modern organizations give growing emphasis towards group and teamwork by the employees. This is because groups encourage the presence of healthy competition in terms of creativity, innovation and execution of tasks delegated to individuals. Hence, presence of understanding provides synchronism in terms of execution of tasks and enables healthy relations and interactions between the members (Hogg, 1993).

An understanding between members is usually achieved using basic virtues such as respect and responsibility among members. Respect ensures that all members are able to contribute equally or as mandated by their roles in the group. In addition, the presence of responsibility ensures that all individuals are able to execute their roles as mandated. Hence, observance of such virtues ensures that all members are able to play their roles towards the achievement of the goals and objectives for the establishment of a group. This involves the use of the three components of communication defined by Aristotle: ethos, pathos and logos towards achievement of understanding between the members as well as the understanding of the goal of establishment of the group (Bushe, & Coetzer, 2007).

Conclusively, an understanding of the employee needs could be achieved through both informal and formal groups as this provides employees with an avenue to highlight their interests, encourage productivity, innovation and creativity due to the autonomy provided in a group. This is paramount for achievement of the interests of the employees and those of the organization.



Akintayo, D. I., & Faniran, J.O. (2012). “Analysis Of Group Dynamics And Interpersonal Relations Among Employees: The Case Of Nigerian Breweries In Oyo State” International Review of Business and Social Sciences, 1 (7).Pp.37-45

Bushe, G. R. & Coetzer, G. H. (2007). “Group Development and Team Effectiveness Using Cognitive Representations to Measure Group Development and Predict Task Performance and Group ViabilityThe Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 43 (2), Pp. 184-212.

Hogg, O. L. (1993). “Communicative capacity within the group and Sociability” Journal of Applied Psychology, 68, 61-75.


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