Motivation, Group Dynamics and Leading Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Passing to a deeper analysis (made through a cognitive and not behavioural perpective), the terms of value and expectancy can be replaced with the ones of "amount" and "rate." The cognitive approach underlines the fact that the importance of the variables mentioned above is not the same. Their impact varies from individual to individual and it is extremely difficult to accurately measure the personal value attributed to the elements under debate.

Amount is what the cognitive approach describes as the "perceived attractiveness or aversiveness of the outcome. Similarly, rate refers to the frequency that actions lead to rewards or, alternatively, the probability of acquiring the expected outcome" (Steel, Konig, 2006).

By establishing a relation of synonymy between amount and value as well as between rate and expectancy, the resulting equation moves the expectancy theory towards picoeconomics. Picoeconomics is a theory according to which people, when choosing from a multitude of actions with rewarding outcomes, favour the short-term positive results and not the long-term ones, even if in practice the latter ones are more important and with deeper impact (Steel, Konig, 2006).

Vroom divided the expectancy theory into two components, expectancy and instrumentality. "In this case, expectancy refers to whether the intended course of action can be completed successfully. Instrumentality refers to whether, having been successful, the expected rewards will be forthcoming" (Steel, Konig, 894). However, studies have shown that such division complicates things in a manner that does not seem to bring forth important advantages.

Group dynamics

The second major theme of the paper is represented by group dynamics. The complexity of the issue is obvious when taking into consideration all the involved variables and keeping in mind the relation between motivation, groups and groups dynamics. Groups are gatherings of people. Teams are also groups, but groups which consist in more than the sum of the individuals.

The relations between the members of a group/team are complex and of high importance when it comes to the efficient and efficacious functioning of the group itself. The roles played by the individuals, the status that they have, as well as the actual behaviour towards one another are all key variables in the discussion of group dynamics. Even if the functioning of a group is usually regulated by rules, this does not mean that these rules are always strictly followed (people have changing needs and feelings, they can not function like mere robots).

Uniformity among the members of a group has been proved to be counterproductive. Efficient outcomes of group actions have been demonstrated to rely on the diversity and multiplicity of skills. Usually, the members of a team are characterised by different expertise levels. This, for the team is both an opportunity and a challenge.

On the opportunity side, expertise differences can enhance learning within a team when more expert team members share knowledge and skill with less expert team members - to promote individual learning- or when different areas of expertise are combined to generate novel insights - to promote tea learning " (Van der Vegt, Bunderson, Oosterhof, 2006). As far as the challenging aspect is concerned, the issue is how to stimulate individuals in order to have them working at maximum capacity and at the same time maintain the group forces in synergy.

Bruce Tuckman conceived a model attempting to better explain the manner in which a team reaches maturity. He identified various stages through which a group passes. The changes underwent by the group are actually the changes underwent by the style of leadership. "Beginning with a directing style, moving through coaching, then participating, finishing delegating and almost detached. At this point the team may produce a successor leader and the previous leader can move on to develop a new team" (Tuckman, (

The stages recorded by the transformation of the group are called forming (the creation of the group), storming (searching for the best manner to function), norming (deciding upon the best norms to be respected), performing (doing the actual tasks) and adjourning.

The first stage is characterized by a high dependence on the team leader, while the roles and tasks of the team members are not yet very clear. The second stage is characterized by a certain difficulty to take decisions. It is important in this phase to focus on what is best for the efficacious fulfilment of the team task rather than on the emotional issues which may occur. The norming phase is characterised by a successful collaboration among team members, while the performing stage has the team "strategically aware" and "with a high) degree of autonomy" (

The different skills, capacities and knowledge that the members of a team have can be called expertise diversity. " Expertise diversity has been shown to promote team effectiveness when members emotionally identify with their team, when team members engage in debate and dialogue, when expertise domains overlap, and when task environments are nonroutine" (Van der Vegt, Bunderson, Oosterhof, 2006).

It has also been proved that teams tend to obtain better results when their members are highly skilled and talented. Nonetheless, taking into consideration the fact that a team is more than the mere sum of its members, factors such as the communication and the collaboration between group members must be taken into consideration.

The roles and status of the team members, as well as their perceived roles and statuses play an important part in the dynamics of the group. The skills of an individual which refer to his capacity of performing a certain action are indeed important, but not enough when the individual is required to achieve his task as part of a team. Further skills are needed in order to make communication and collaboration possible and efficacious. From this point-of-view, it is easier to understand the challenge represented by the motivation of teams.

When analyzing groups dynamics, it is important to bring into discussion the theory according to which the perceived level of expertness regarding a certain task has the tendency to structure "the patterns of the interpersonal relating within the group" (Van der Vegt, Bunderson, Oosterhof, 2006). In other words, it is not the real status of the group members that plays the central role in the development of relations within the group, but the perceived value of each individual.

Under these circumstances, there are two types of interpersonal relations that must be mentioned. The first one is the interpersonal commitment while the second is represented by interpersonal helping. The latter one is supported by the former one. At the same time " the perceptions of expertness constitute a source of power and status within a group and tend to be associated with greater opportunities for involvement and influence" (Van der Vegt, Bunderson, Oosterhof, 2006).

Those who are perceived as the best in a certain field of activity are considered valuable by the others because they contribute to the efficacious accomplishment of the team's task. Various studies have demonstrated that individuals have the tendency to feel more connected with the other people on whom they rely on for resources that are considered valuable. The direct consequence of this circumstance is that people who are perceived as better experts tend to help the other people who are also considered experts (Van der Vegt, Bunderson, Oosterhof, 2006).

There are several basic rules which are meant to render the functioning of a group efficacious. Among the, communication plays a fundamental part, ensuring that everyone is speaking about the same thing when deciding upon a certain matter. Another rule refers to the proper matching of people and positions. Group dynamics implies that individuals move up or down the hierarchy road according to their skills and competencies. It is important for the team managers to be able to put people in the positions where they belong and not give them tasks which are below or over their capacities.

While diversity is the engine of group dynamics, its is important for this diversity to be used in a positive, constructive manner. Diversity may very well give birth to conflict. On the one hand. On the other hand, teams characterised by diversity are said to expect conflicts and therefore, be more prepared to handle them compared to the homogenous teams (Credit Union Magazine, 2006).

Conflict, as a component of group dynamics is a positive trait when it occurs under the form of intellectual conflict and debate, otherwise being a threat for the good functioning of the team. And speaking of conflict, one could also bring about the matter of cohesion, which is a fundamental component which regulates group dynamics.

Cohesion is defined as the tendency of a group to stick together and remain united in the pursuit of instrumental objectives and the satisfaction of members' affective needs"(Forrester, Tashchian, 2006). Research has demonstrated that cohesion influences the amount of effort that a team makes. In addition, it influences the effectiveness of the team functioning.


Sources Used in Document:


Boyaztis, R. McKee, a. & Goleman, D. (2002). Reawakening your passion for work. Harvard Business Review, 80(4), 87-94.

Boynton, a., Fischer, B., Leading all-star teams, virtuoso teams get virtuoso results, Leadership Excellence

Chen, Y., Lou, H, Student's Perceptions of peer evaluation: an expectancy perspective, Journal of Education for Business

Forrester, W.R., Tashchian, a.,(2006),Modeling the relationship between cohesion and performance in student work groups, International Journal of Management, vol.23, no.3, part 1, 5.

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