To start to understand the way people behave differently in group settings, we first need to define exactly what a group is. Now, there are a lot of different academic and sociological ways to do this, but the simplest version breaks down like this: A group is two or more people connected together by social relationships.1
Next challenge: what exactly IS a “social relationship”? If any collection of two or more people who have something in common can be considered a group, then anything from a family of 4 to a football stadium during a home game can be considered a group, and yet these two collections of people function and relate to each other in very different ways.
Groups can be broken down into 4 categories:1
- intimacy groups
- task groups
- weak associations
- social categories
Intimacy groups are collections of people like families, romantic couples and close friends, which exist in intimate social settings and are expected to last over a long period of time. A group of football fans would fall under the category of weak association, along with audience members at a concert or riders on a crowded train. Social categories are broad, over arching collections of people like “Christians” or “LGBT+ People” or “American Citizens.” While people within weak association groups and social categories may feel a vague sense of kinship with each other, they can’t be expected to know every other person within their group.
Task groups, which is the kind of group we’re going to focus on, are the kinds of groups you’re most likely to find within an office setting. Task groups can include sports teams, parent groups, work groups – basically any group of people that is working together is to accomplish a goal. This kind of group exists for different reasons than an intimacy group, and requires more structure than a weak association group, because they are striving towards a common purpose.
Structure is an important element of all groups, but especially so in task groups. The way in which groups are structured determines their dynamic, and how they function, and how they rely on each other. For all group structures, there is a certain amount of interdependence, or a sense of relying on each other in some way. However, the forms of this interdependence can change as the structure of the group changes.
The images1 to the left show several different structural forms groups can take. The first features one group member in a position of influence over the others, the second a sequential form of influence where the task pass along from member to member. Third, we see a kind of interdependence where all group members rely on each other equally. Lastly, were have a two-level structure, where tasks or information flow down through mediators, rather than directly from the source.
The ways that individual people react within these structures reflect how they define their member roles2. All people bring different experiences to the table, have different strengths and weaknesses, and these can dictate how well they can do in certain roles. Personality types can very strongly affect the success or failure of any given group. Group members who block communication, by shifting responsibility and blame to other member or by being too accommodating and unable to drive forward motion, can cause the structure of interdependence to fall apart.
Groups with members who are naturally inclined to be supportive of the others within their structure, or are particularly good at mediating conflicts, have as profound an impact on a group as their negative counterparts2. One of the tricks to making a task group function smoothly is identifying the people within the group with personality traits which will encourage productive workflow and putting them in positions within the group that will allow them to do so. The strength of the interpersonal relationships within a group can determined how well they function as a whole.
Continue on to the next post to learn more about interpersonal relationships!
One of the most crucial factors in the success of your business is how well your team works together. Corporate team building can be an effective and transformative strategy for helping business executives and their employees to feel more invested in their careers and each other.
How to embrace team collaboration? For an organization to run smoothly and meet its goals, it is important to foster a work environment that supports collaboration amongst colleagues. Unfortunately for most organizations, this does not occur naturally, and thus you must make an effort and take steps to help build and sustain a cooperative work environment.
TeamBonding is re-defining the world of company culture. We know that the key to company growth and positive company culture is to invest in your team through team building. In our 25+ years of experience, it’s not surprising that it’s in our nature, which is ultimately what has defined our success. The Founder, David Goldstein has been actively building his team for years, so it’s no secret he’s got the best team! Not only does David plan activities for his team to enjoy, but he also began a whole engagement committee to toss around ideas for his team to do… and the sky is the limit.
A Company Culture One of the most important aspects of any successful organization is to have a clearly defined company culture. Office culture can influence and be influenced by many things including the type of communication within an organization, the types of events you hold for your employees, and the standards you hold your employees, too.
Know each other as people, not just professionals. We’re all so much more than our job titles. We have interests that may have drawn each of us to our roles and help us excel within them. There are easy team building icebreaker activities for work that will help you and your team bond and get to know each other as more than just your role in the office. (more…)
Believe it or not, you can have fun at work! Switch things up at the office and try some new, fun team building activities for work to get everyone energized.
Communication affects teamwork in positive and negative ways. The quantity and quality of communication within a team and from leadership affects teamwork. The more collaboration your projects require the more assertive and intentional your communication should be. Every member of the team needs to take the initiative to communicate. When a team is not actively communicating, their work is at stake. It’s important for everyone to learn how to communicate effectively to improve teamwork. (more…)
Enter your email and we’ll add you to our newsletter of helpful tips, tricks, and techniques.