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Discuss the functions of formal and informal groups. How does each contribute to the organization? with examples
Formal groups are organizations that have a fixed set of rules, structure and have procedures that leave little room for interpretation, and must be followed. As well, they have status symbol, limit activities of individuals in the group, set objectives and policies and coordination between people. They have rules that are readily observable through documents or rules that are written and determined or executed through formal position, like authority or ownership. The function of formal organizations is for the individual and group. For the organization and individuals, they are assigned work to reach the objective of the group, facilitate coordination of different activities in the organization, people have a definite role and hierarchy to establish an authority relationship, divide work in the group and create group togetherness in the organization. Examples of a formal group are universities, companies like Apple, Johnson and Johnson, and activist groups like Greenpeace and Peace Corps.
Informal groups are the social structure of how people work together in an organization. It consists of individual's behaviors, interactions, connections built either through work or personal. The functions of informal groups are to maintain cultural and social values of the organization through interpersonal interactions, for example, sorority groups or dorm residency. In addition, informal groups provide social status and satisfaction that might not be present by formal organizations, and gaining self-esteem and self-worth. For example, people may share jokes, hang out and work together, and feel unique.
2. Explain the open system concept as it pertains to group effectiveness. With examples
The open system concept is where a distinct being or object in an organization takes in resources from the environment; process them to produce an output. In order to last, the open system is dependent on the environment and interpersonal interactions. Open system pertains to group effectiveness in that for a group to succeed, it depends on the success of individuals in the organization, and how they get along with their environment, whether informally or formally. The open system is dependent on how people work on their own, accomplish and do their assignments and responsibilities, and how they get along with other people in the group. Overall, open system is a process that trades material, energy, people, money, and information with its environment. It is a system that continuously connects and contacts with the environment. Such contact can be taken and transferred in the form of information, energy, or material in and out of the organization. The transport and input of an entity will change the behavior in how the group or individuals respond to the outside environment. Organizations and groups are rarely as simple as open or closed. Basically, open system makes contact with its users in order to contribute, manipulate, edit, use, reuse, and create or change, for example, a product.
In an open system, people interact with the environment, and the environment, for example, can be the public. So, say a marketing department is an open system since it interacts with the public by talking to consumers, and the use of media. The marketing department pertains to group effectiveness in that it is responsible for how people feel about a product and it's a way to collect data, which in turn will help the company or organization improve a product and how people respond to it. At the end, the way people work and the company's output will produce better output and workflow. As well, another form of open system is a company allowing and spreading media accessibility from the public and receiving feedback through mediums like Facebok, Twitter, YouTube, Yelp, and blogs. In addition, certain food and technology companies form focus groups to reach out and see out potential consumers would react, for example, to a new product that will be introduced to the market. At Pepsi Co, they conduct several trials of focus groups, talk to their demographics, and take notes to see what the people think about the drink, what they liked or didn't, and then take that information to modify their drink profile.
3. List the five stages of group development and discuss the management challenges for each stage. With example on each stage
The five stages of group development are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Forming is the polite stage where members get together and the group is created. The individuals in the group want to be accepted as part of the team so members want to avoid drama and conflict. Therefore, discussions do not involve personal or informal issues but rather about work and the task at hand. At this stage, a patterned behavior is established to determine the roles of individuals. As well, people collect information between each other and form ideas about each other. They are getting ready to know each other and attempt to form a relationship. Members aren't comfortable with each other yet so they work by themselves, are on their best behavior, and look to the supervisor for directions and as a guide. For example, joining the marketing department at a company for the first day and just getting to know everybody who works there in a cordial manner. The management challenge is not knowing how people work and getting to learn how they respond under pressure. As well, the challenge is putting someone silently in charge before knowing how they really function and get along with the group, and just a difficulty to identify some of the relevant problems in this stage. Furthermore, there is so much going on at this stage that members may not accomplish as much pertaining to the objectives.
In storming, members become comfortable, the silent leaders battle each other for control and reins of the group, and people will begin to disagree and blame the team concept when it does not work out. A management challenge is the need to coach people so members can work past their differences. People's feelings come into play like them resisting the job, resisting quality improvement approaches suggested by other members, and a definite difference in attitude bout the team and the project's chance of success. As well, management has to deal with arguing between work members, issues of competition and defensiveness and just choosing sides in the work place. Furthermore, the team will begin to question the group leader along with working through tension and jealousy. Another challenge is that due to the mixed emotions and pressures and issues at the work place, members have little energy to work towards the objective of the organization. An example is in the marketing department, I was put in charge of a work assignment and members did not like that I was in charge, and they did not like how I delegated tasks. As a result, members start to question my leadership and side with other silent leaders who believe their ideas are better.
In norming, the team has bypassed the storming stage and members are working together in a positive way. Members are feeling very good about working together but it is common to jump between the storming and norming phase when conflicts arise. The management challenge isn't as intense as the prior stages because regressions are fewer and fewer, natural leaders emerge, and the team still takes management direction but not as much as they did in storming. The behaviors involved in this stage are where members are able to express criticism constructively, accept being part of the team, achieve harmony, avoid conflict, increased friendliness, share personal problems, and sense of team cohesion and spirits. As well, ground rules and boundaries are formed, members begin to work out their differences, and they now have more time to focus on the project.…[continue]
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