Group dynamics, team building, and conflict management
Types of groups in an organizations, group behavior, group influences, organizations influence in group behavior, teams in an organizations, the trouble with teams, high performing teams and effective teams, the team building approach, when it is needed, aspects of team building efforts, improving ongoing work teams, building new teams, conflict within the teams, conflict in an organizations, managing conflict, team methods for resolving conflict, stress management.
Types of groups in organizations,
Meaning of groups
|1||Group is defined as minimum two or more than two individuals who come together to complete particular task(s) usually towards achievement of goal(s).|
|2||These individuals normally related to each other by some organizational or social relationships.|
|3||The group may be of two types:
– informal group and
– formal groups
|4||The behavior of individuals in a group may get modified to certain extent as compared their behavior when they are independent of the group. This is due to the interactions between the members of the group and their influence on each other|
These groups may get formed within an organization or outside an organization. They do not necessarily follow the rules and guidelines of the organization. They informally follow the guidelines of the informal group. These groups are called interest groups, friendship groups, reference groups etc
These groups are formally created in an organization and follow the rules and guidelines prescribed by the organization. These are:
- Command groups
They are explained by a formal organization structure and depicted on the organizational chart. A company’s organization network starting with the chairman of board of directors through its various levels of managers right down to the workers is a typical command group example.
- Task groups or task forces
People working together to achieve a common task form a task group or a task force. Members are grouped together either from the same department or cross-functionally to complete some specified goals on a timeline. These task forces are appointed for a specified periods and disbanded after the goals are achieved.
- Functional groups
Functional group is created to carry out specific functions in an organization. These are normally on-going departments of an organization and are permanent till re-structuring of organization is undertaken.
A group is formed, developed, and divided. The member of the group interacts within the group and outside the groups. All these activities can be termed as group behavior.
A group is stronger than an individual so people forms groups. A group has voice, for example, a teacher has no strength individually but teachers union can give pressure to government. Labor unions in many countries have strong influence in the government.
Organizations influence in-group behavior
Organizations make different teams. Many committees are formed to help organizations to solve problems related to quality, and productivity.
Teams in an organization
Team is a group, which shows the cohesiveness of members of than the members of groups. The works of members of the team is interdependent with the works of other team members. The works can be independent in case of groups. The works of one-team members is influenced by the success other members.
Teams and groups are living organisms with certain predictable stages of development. One characterization of the progression of team development has been depicted by a series of steps on a graph. One axis represents success with tasks that are more and more complicated, and the other represents the amount of time and effort that the group has invested in becoming a team. The graph looks like this:
“Forming” is the initial stage of development, when team members may often have differing ideas about purpose. There is relatively little trust. People tend to be careful about what they say, and how they say it. Everyone is on his or her “best behaviour.”
“Storming” represents the arguing that will likely occur as the team defines itself.
There may be conflict about the purpose, leadership, and working procedures. During this stage people often feel the team will never “come together.” This stage is similar to the human developmental stage of adolescence.
“Norming” is the stage that occurs when the team members are developing a shared vision and are setting goals and objectives. People are getting to know one another’s strengths and are learning how best to work together. The team experiences more stability and productivity.
“Performing” indicates that the members now have a clear, shared sense of purpose, high trust, and open communication. The team is effective within the existing paradigm. Camaraderie, relationships, and team spirit are high.
“Transforming” occurs when the team is at such an effective level of functioning that it can redefine its shared purpose and respond quickly to change. The leadership within the team is shared, trust is high, and communication is open.
The trouble with teams
Forming a team is not easy job. The selection of leader, division of works, development of norms to get works done, balancing ego and values of each members, and lead them towards common goal are some task of the team, which is very challenging. Many times, it has been observed that team gets dissolved before it fully develops. And many times it is seen that team cannot do jobs because of infighting.
High performing teams and effective teams
Creating a high-performing team is not something that just happens overnight. To be effective a team requires hard working, skilled, and fully devoted members along with the right coordinating mechanism of their efforts.
- Set a clear goal
- Unify the team
- Have a mission
- Pick the right team members
- Pick the right team members
- Provide support and resources
- Encourage collaboration
- a) Honesty
- b) Openness.
- c) Respect
The team building approach,
The GRPI model of team development
The goal of team development is to shorten the time teams spend in their forming and storming phases, thus improving team effectiveness, ensuring productivity, efficiency and quality and at the same time enhancing the way members work together. This can be accomplished by utilising the GRPI. GRPI is an acronym describing the different dimensions characterizing a team, arranged in cascading priorities towards performance:
Improving ongoing work teams,
- Clear Expectations
- Creative Innovation
- Cultural Change
Building new teams
Team building requires several carefully managed steps and is an ongoing cyclical process. The team-building process offers members of a work group a way to observe and analyze behaviors and activities that hinder their effectiveness and to develop and implement courses of action that overcome recurring problems.
Conflict within the teams,
During his work as a organizational development and transformation consultant, Noel Tichy analyzed team conflicts based on the GRPI framework, underlining the cascading character. He observed a ratio of 80:20 per cent of conflicts accumulating at each level:
- 80% of conflicts in teams are attributed to unclear goals.
- From the remaining 20%, 80% are assigned to unclear roles.
- From the remainder there is again 80% to be found in the field of unclear processes.
- Finally, only 1% of the conflicts in teams can be attributed to interpersonal relationships.
Ambiguity at one level has an impact on the ensuing levels and problems at a lower level are often symptoms of conflicts at a higher level.
- If goals are not clear, uncertainties in the individual roles will arise.
- If roles are unclear, this will result in cumulative conflict within the processes.
- If processes are unclear, accumulated conflicts at higher levels will appear at people level.
Therefore, it is crucial to establish absolute clarity at each level and to put in place a foundation of shared commitment by installing ownership of and commitment to those goals across the team and by identifying and addressing any issues, which restrict the team from reaching their goals.
Conflict in organizations,
Conflict is inevitable whenever two or more people interact, whether in the workplace or at home. Conflict can occur between two or more individuals, two or more groups, or an individual and a group. When dealing with conflict in an organization, it is important to remember to address the issue, not the people. Types of conflict that can occur in any organization include unclear definitions of role responsibility, conflict of interest, lack of resources and interpersonal relationships within the workplace.
Definition of Responsibility Unclear
When it is unclear who is responsible for what area of a project or task, conflict can occur. Territorial issues arise when decisions are made that appear to cross boundaries of responsibility. To prevent this from happening it is imperative that the roles and responsibilities of all the players are spelled out clearly and agreed upon by everyone involved before the project is started.
Conflict of Interest
Understanding how personal interests and goals fit within the structure of the organization will alleviate conflict of interest problems. When an individual’s personal goals are at odds with the goals of the organization, the individual may be tempted to fight for his personal goals, creating a conflict situation that will hamper success of the project.
Not Enough Resources
Competition for resources, including money, time and materials, will cause the teams to undercut each other, leading to conflict between departments or other work groups. Valuable resources need to be protected, as well as distributed fairly among all the groups. Starting out a project with a clear picture of the resources available will help waylay some of this conflict.
The personalities of the people involved in the organizational structure play an important part in conflict resolution. Often the conflict is a result of interpersonal relationships where the parties to the conflict are unable to resolve personal issues with each other. It is not always easy to set aside personal prejudices when entering the workplace, but it is important to recognize what those prejudices are and deal with them before conflict arises.
Conflict and conflict management
Conflict may be defined as a struggle or contest between people with opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals. Conflict on teams is inevitable; however, the results of conflict are not predetermined. Conflict might escalate and lead to nonproductive results, or conflict can be beneficially resolved and lead to quality final products. Therefore, learning to manage conflict is integral to a high-performance team.
Conflict management is the principle that all conflicts cannot necessarily be resolved, but learning how to manage conflicts can decrease the odds of nonproductive escalation. Conflict management involves acquiring skills related to conflict resolution, self-awareness about conflict modes, conflict communication skills, and establishing a structure for management of conflict in your environment.
Simply stating conflict is disagreement among parties. It can be considered as an expression of negative attitudes and misunderstanding. Different writers have defined conflict in different ways.
According to Joe Kelley, “Conflict is opposition or dispute between persons, groups or ideas”.
According to Stephen P. Robbins, “Conflict is a process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affects, something that the first party cares about.”
According to James Stoner, “Conflict involves disagreement about the allocation of scarce resources or a clash of goal, status, values, perception or personalities.”
Conflict is an integral part of an organization. Wherever there is interaction among people, there is conflict.
Optimal Conflict Level
Low Conflict High
Conflict and Performance
If conflict is too little, performance of the employees tends to be low. If it is too high, it can be a disruptive force. Optimal level of conflict can be good for the health of an organization.
Types of conflict:
Conflicts can be of two types:
- Functional conflict: This type of conflict is issue- oriented, generally of administrative or technical nature. It results in improvement of performance.
- Dysfunctional (personal): It is personality oriented consisting of deep-rooted personal feelings and attitudes. It has negative effect on performance.
Approaches to conflict:
- Traditional Philosophy: All conflicts are negative and potentially destructive for the organization. Conflict should be eliminated.
- Behavioral Philosophy: Conflict is inevitable in organizations and should be accepted as a part of organizational life.
- Integrationist Philosophy:
- Conflict is essential to the survival of the organization.
- Conflict should not only be accepted but encouraged in organizations.
- Effective conflict management includes both stimulation and reduction of conflict.
- Conflict management is a major responsibility of the manager.
Team methods for resolving conflict,
Important conflict management skills
The competing conflict mode is high assertiveness and low cooperation.
Times when the competing mode is appropriate are:
|• Arguing or debating
• Using rank or influence
• Asserting your opinions and
• Standing your ground
• Stating your position clearly
|The avoiding mode is low assertiveness and low cooperation. Many times people will avoid conflicts out of fear of engaging in a conflict or because they do not have confidence in their conflict management skills. Times when the avoiding mode is appropriate are :
|• Ability to withdraw
• Ability to sidestep issues
•Ability to leave things unresolved
• Sense of timing
|The accommodating mode is low assertiveness and high cooperation.
Times when the accommodating mode is appropriate are:
· to show reasonableness, develop performance, create good will, or keep peace.
· Some people use the accommodating mode when the issue or outcome is of low importance to them.
|• Forgetting your desires
• Ability to yield
• Obeying orders
|The compromising mode is moderate assertiveness and moderate cooperation. Some people define compromise as
“giving up more than you want,” while others see compromise as both parties winning. Times when the compromising mode is appropriate are when
you are dealing with issues of moderate importance, when
• Finding a middle ground
• Assessing value
• Making concessions
|COLLABORATING||Collaboration has been described as “putting an idea on top of an idea on top of an idea…in order to achieve the best solution to a conflict.” The best solution is defined as a creative solution to the conflict that would not have been generated by a single individual.
Times when the collaborative mode is appropriate are:
|• Active listening
• Nonthreatening confrontation
• Identifying concerns
• Analyzing input
Summary of approaches of conflicts
|Approach||Objective||Your Posture||Supporting Rationale||Likely Outcome|
|Forcing||Get your way.||“I know what’s right. Don’t question my judgment or authority.”||It is better to risk causing a few hard feelings than to abandon a position you are committed to.||You feel vindicated, but other party feels defeated and possibly humiliated.|
|Avoiding||Avoid having to deal with conflict.||“I’m neutral on that issue. Let me think about it.”||Disagreements are inherently bad because they create tension.||Interpersonal problems don’t get resolved, causing long-term frustration manifested in a variety of ways.|
|Accommodating||Don’t upset the other person.||“How can I help you feel good about this encounter? My position isn’t so important that it is worth risking bad feelings between us.”||Maintaining harmonious relationships should be our top priority.||Other person is likely to take advantage of you.|
|Compromising||Reach an agreement quickly.||“Let’s search for a mutually agreeable solution.”||Prolonged conflicts distract people from their work and engender bitter feelings.||Participants become conditioned to seek an expedient, rather than effective solution.|
|Collaborating||Solve the problem together.||“This is my position. What is yours? I’m committed to finding the best possible solution.”||The positions of both parties are equally important (though not necessarily equally valid). Equality emphasis should be placed on the quality of the outcome and the fairness of the decision-making.||Participants find an effective solution.|
Unhealthy ways of coping with stress
These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage in the long run:
Dealing with Stressful Situations: The Four A’s
|Change the situation:
||Change your reaction:
Stress management strategy #1: Avoid unnecessary stress
Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed. You may be surprised, however, by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.
- Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, refuse to accept added responsibilities when you’re close to reaching them. Taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress.
- Avoid people who stress you out – If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can’t turn the relationship around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person or end the relationship entirely.
- Take control of your environment – If the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off. If traffic’s got you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.
- Avoid hot-button topics – If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list. If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.
- Pare down your to-do list – Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.” Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.
Stress management strategy #2: Alter the situation
If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn’t present itself in the future. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.
- Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.
- Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same. If you both are willing to bend at least a little, you’ll have a good chance of finding a happy middle ground.
- Be more assertive. Don’t take a backseat in your own life. Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them. If you’ve got an exam to study for and your chatty roommate just got home, say up front that you only have five minutes to talk.
- Manage your time better. Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. When you’re stretched too thin and running behind, it’s hard to stay calm and focused. But if you plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself, you can alter the amount of stress you’re under.
Stress management strategy #3: Adapt to the stressor
If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.
- Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favorite radio station, or enjoy some alone time.
- Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
- Adjust your standards. Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.”
- Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective.
Adjusting Your Attitude
How you think can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical well-being. Each time you think a negative thought about yourself, your body reacts as if it were in the throes of a tension-filled situation. If you see good things about yourself, you are more likely to feel good; the reverse is also true. Eliminate words such as “always,” “never,” “should,” and “must.” These are telltale marks of self-defeating thoughts.
Stress management strategy #4: Accept the things you can’t change
Some sources of stress are unavoidable. You can’t prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.
- Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control— particularly the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.
- Look for the upside. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.
- Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist. Expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation.
- Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments. Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on.
Stress management strategy #5: Make time for fun and relaxation
Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by nurturing yourself. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stressors when they inevitably come.
Healthy ways to relax and recharge
Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury.
- Set aside relaxation time. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.
- Connect with others. Spend time with positive people who enhance your life. A strong support system will buffer you from the negative effects of stress.
- Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be stargazing, playing the piano, or working on your bike.
- Keep your sense of humor. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways.
Stress management strategy #6: Adopt a healthy lifestyle
You can increase your resistance to stress by strengthening your physical health.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension.
- Eat a healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day.
- Reduce caffeine and sugar. The temporary “highs” caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy. By reducing the amount of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar snacks in your diet, you’ll feel more relaxed and you’ll sleep better.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary. Don’t avoid or mask the issue at hand; deal with problems head on and with a clear mind.
- Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.