Influence of Groups on Individuals Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Group Influence:

Groups or teams in a workplace play a crucial role in promoting and enhancing the ability of an organization or company to accomplish its desired objectives. In most cases, the groups are usually structured in different ways depending on various factors such as the number of people in the team, the established objectives, and the duration for the accomplishment of these objectives. Moreover, the structure and purpose of the team is influenced by the type of organization where they are formed i.e. either profit or non-profit organizations. An example of a departmental meeting at a workplace is the marketing team meeting at The TYPO3 Universe Company. The firm provides highly flexible, customizable, and scalable products for Web Content Management. The marketing team or group meeting is vital because of the significance of this department in promoting the firm's productivity.

Observation of the Marketing Team Meeting:

As previously mentioned, The TYPO3 Universe Company provides customizable, scalable, and highly flexible products for Web Content Management. The firm's products in turn provide the foundation for intranets, websites, and web and mobile applications across the globe. The reason for TYPO3's provision of these products is its constant focus on the existing needs of businesses and public institutions or organizations. One of the most important departments in this company is the marketing team or department because its roles and functions have a direct link to the company's bottom line and productivity. In order to enhance TYPO3 productivity and success, this department conducts various meetings annually including the regular monthly meetings that are carried out online (Ende, 2013). In addition to this, the team meets face-to-face at least three or four times annually.

The recent meeting was held to discuss internal and external communication based on a talk provided by Volker Graubaum, a great motivator who plans the organization's Developer Days and the TYPO3 conference in Stuttgart. In addition to Graubaum, the meeting had five other participants including the leader of the marketing team i.e. Berit Hlubek. It was a boardroom meeting where the participants faced each other and contributed to the interactive discussion. Apart from having one female member, the team or group was made of professionals in the firm's marketing department who are between 30-40 years old except the invited guest who is 55 years old. Notably, the five-member marketing team at TYPO3 has a leader who is responsible for organizing meetings and leading discussions during the meeting.

As a long-term group in this company, the aim of the marketing department is to ensure that the organization's products are availed to targeted customers at reasonable prices. The group usually conducts market research and analysis to understand customer preferences inform product development as well as identify new markets for these products. The one-hour meeting focused on discussion of internal and external communication, which is part of its agenda for sprint dedicated marketing. The team also discussed other issues regarding the TYPO3 conference and the need for regular meetings between various departments including Public Relations, Editorial, Marketing, and Community Management (Ende, 2013).

Generally, the marketing team members share a sense of identity with on another because of their interests in marketing and experience in this field. However, some of them were vulnerable to Groupthink because of the desire for conformity. This was particularly evident in discussions regarding sprint marketing since none of the members raised any concerns or questions on its effectiveness. Notably, individual attitudes and group's effectiveness was influenced by collective group behavior. Most of the group members focused on the issue at hand and would regularly look at their computers when making contributions to the discussions. The influence of collective group behaviors was also evident in how the group keenly followed the presentation made by the guest. The guest was very enthusiastic when giving the talk, which made the members to be enthusiastic too. Actually, at the end of the meeting, the members reported feeling enthusiastic and having a sense of achievement as they look forward to future accomplishments and results.

Analysis of Observations:

Group environment can primarily be described as the social interaction between at least two individuals as evident in these observations. According to Myers (2010), groups tend to have the power or ability to influence the perspectives of people in social events. The extent of influence or impact that a group can have over individuals is beyond the basic development of interpersonal relationships between the group members. Based on observations of the marketing team at TYPO3, behaviors and attitudes of group members contribute to group dynamic and impact the subconscious levels of each other.

Given the significance of the marketing department to the company's productivity and success, group participants demonstrated strong social involvement and unity. The unity and strong involvement was not only influenced by the agendas for the meeting but also brought by the shared sense of identity and interests. The shared sense of identity and interests in turn provide the basis of social interactions between the team members. Social interactions essentially improve the cognitive skills in the individual and groups in various aspects including language skills, intellect, communication, knowledge, and problem-solving skills. However, the impact of social interactions can be positive or negative depending on the eventual goals of the external influences. Myers (2010), states that the positive or negative impact in turn affects the future behaviors of the individual.

One of the major ways through which groups influence an individual is through the social interactions that enhance cognitive skills. The marketing team meeting at TYPO3 serves as a platform for team members to enhance their cognitive skills by interacting with one another to develop their competence in marketing processes and initiatives. For instance, this meeting enabled team members to enhance their competence in sprint marketing and envision its role in improving the effectiveness of marketing as a whole. In addition, the team members enhanced their knowledge regarding the significance of internal and external communication in marketing processes and initiatives. This demonstrates that a group acts as a supportive environment and atmosphere where individuals' cognitive skills are developed and enhanced. In this case, the group members acquire new knowledge and skills as they develop new goals and objectives. Notably, social interactions enhance cognitive skills when the group members act together, especially in relation to shared goals and objectives.

Group norms are usually formed on the premise that there is an appropriate response to every situation and an abiding expectation for every member to base their response on the appropriate or right foundations (Friedkin, 2001, p.167). Based on this belief, a normative assessment of a thought or action is likely to emerge when individuals think that their positive or negative attitudinal evaluation is shared by others. Individual behavior explanations have mainly been based on the fact that people usually define specific feelings, thoughts or actions as right or wrong in certain situations. These expectations act as the basis of formulating social norms that have considerable impact on conduct. While trying to create strong unity among members, the marketing team also promoted individuality as members were encouraged to share their views and concerns regarding the agendas being discussed. When sharing these concerns and views, the members were honest and authentic as they respected each other's opinions.

The process of personal change i.e. individual behaviors is sometimes influenced by the process of interpersonal influence that occurs on the basis of conformity in a group (Cialdini & Trost, 1998, p.151). As previously mentioned, the group members demonstrated conformity, which was largely influenced by the established objectives, agenda, and goals of the meeting and the entire department. Conformity can be defined as changing or adopting attitudes and behaviors that appropriate in order to fit with the social norms in a social environment or group. The outcome of the marketing team meeting was…

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