Group Effectiveness Dimensions: The Five Key Factors That Contribute to Successful Group Work

1. Introduction:

In order to achieve effective group work, it is important to understand how the different dimensions of group participation contribute to group effectiveness. In this paper, we will discuss five such dimensions: verbal and nonverbal communication, group development over time, social vs. task interdependence, group roles and norms, and group maintenance behaviors. By understanding how each of these dimensions affects group work, we can develop strategies for more effectiveGroup communication is a process through which messages are exchanged between members of a group (Gallois, Ogay, & Pittam, 2002). This process can be either verbal (e.g., through spoken language) or nonverbal (e.g., through body language or gestures). Effective group communication requires that all members of the group be able to understand and interpret the messages that are being exchanged.

Group development is the process by which a group of people comes together to form a cohesive unit (Tuckman & Jensen, 1977). This process typically occurs in four stages: forming, storming, norming, and performing. Each stage is characterized by different patterns of behavior and communication among group members.

Social interdependence is the extent to which members of a group are mutually dependent on one another for achieving their goals (Carron, Widmeyer, & Brawley, 1985). Task interdependence is the extent to which members of a group need to coordinate their efforts in order to complete a task (restructuring or simple pooling; Jehn & Mannix, 2001). Groups with high levels of social interdependence typically have difficulty completing tasks effectively because members tend to focus more on maintaining social relationships than on accomplishing task-related goals.

Group roles are the sets of expectations that members of a group have about each other’s behaviors (Katz & Kahn, 1978). Group norms are the rules or guidelines that members of a group use to govern their behavior (Schein, 1968). Both roles and norms serve as social guidelines that help groups function more effectively by providing structure and predictability.

Maintenance behaviors are those actions taken by members of a group to keep the group functioning smoothly (e.g., attending meetings regularly, responding promptly to requests for information). These behaviors are important because they keep thegroup organized and focused on its goals.

2. Group Effectiveness Dimensions:

The following section will discuss five dimensions of group participation that contribute to group effectiveness: verbal and nonverbal communication, group development over time, social vs. task interdependence, group roles and norms, and group maintenance behaviors.

2. 1 Verbal and Nonverbal Communication:

Verbal communication is the exchange of messages through spoken language. Nonverbal communication is the exchange of messages through body language or gestures. Effectivegroup communication requires that all members of thegroup be able to understand and interpret the messages that are being exchanged.

There are several factors that can affect the ability ofgroup members to communicate effectively with one another. First, different people have different levels of communicative competence—the ability to use language effectively to convey meaning (Canale & Swain, 1980). Second, different people have different styles of communication—the way in which they typically prefer to communicate with others (Dixon, 1981). And third, different people have different filters—the personal biases or preconceptions that they bring to the process of communication (Berlo, 1960).

It is important to be aware of these factors in order to facilitate effective communication within a group. For example, if the members of a group have different levels of communicative competence, it may be necessary to provide additional explanation or clarification in order to ensure that everyone understands the messages that are being exchanged. Similarly, if the members of a group have different communication styles, it may be necessary to use a combination of different communication channels (e.g., verbal, nonverbal, written) in order to reach everyone in the group. And if the members of a group have different filters, it may be necessary to provide several different perspectives on an issue in order to help everyone see the issue from multiple points of view.

2. 2 Group Development over Time:

Group development is the process by which a group of people comes together to form a cohesive unit (Tuckman & Jensen, 1977). This process typically occurs in four stages: forming, storming, norming, and performing. Each stage is characterized by different patterns of behavior and communication among group members.

The forming stage is characterized by Orientation—the period during which members of the group become acquainted with one another and begin to establish relationships. The storming stage is characterized by Conflict—the period during which members of the group begin to disagree with one another about goals and objectives. The norming stage is characterized by Cooperation—the period during which members of the group work together to develop rules and procedures for accomplishing tasks. The performing stage is characterized by Productivity—the period during which members of the group work together effectively to accomplish task-related goals.

It is important to understand the characteristics of each stage in order to facilitate the group’s progress through the stages. For example, during the storming stage it is important to encourage debate and discussion in order to help the group resolve its differences. During the norming stage it is important to help the group establish rules and procedures that everyone can agree on. And during the performing stage it is important to provide support and assistance as needed in order to help the group achieve its task-related goals.

2. 3 Social vs. Task Interdependence:

Social interdependence is the extent to which members of a group are mutually dependent on one another for achieving their goals (Carron, Widmeyer, & Brawley, 1985). Task interdependence is the extent to which members of a group need to coordinate their efforts in order to complete a task (restructuring or simple pooling; Jehn & Mannix, 2001). Groups with high levels of social interdependence typically have difficulty completing tasks effectively because members tend to focus more on maintaining social relationships than on accomplishing task-related goals.

Groups with high levels of task interdependence typically have difficulty completing tasks effectively because members often have difficulty coordinating their efforts. In order to facilitate effective task performance in groups with high levels of task interdependence, it is important to provide clear instructions and guidelines for how the task should be completed. It is also important to assign specific roles and responsibilities to different members of the group so that everyone knows what their part in the task will be. And finally, it is important to monitor progress regularly so that any problems that arise can be addressed quickly.

2. 4 Group Roles and Norms:

Group roles are the sets of expectations that members of a group have about each other’s behaviors (Katz & Kahn, 1978). Group norms are the rules or guidelines that members of a group use to govern their behavior (Schein, 1968). Both roles and norms serve as social guidelines that help groups function more effectively by providing structure and predictability.

Roles and norms typically develop naturally over time as members of a group interact with one another. However, in some cases it may be necessary to actively create roles and norms in order to facilitate effective group work. For example, if the members of a group are having difficulty agreeing on how to divide up the work, it may be necessary to assign specific roles and responsibilities to different members of the group. Or if the members of a group are having difficulty following through on their commitments, it may be necessary to establish rules and procedures that everyone is expected to follow.

2. 5 Group Maintenance Behaviors:

Maintenance behaviors are those actions taken by members of a group to keep the group functioning smoothly (e.g., attending meetings regularly, responding promptly to requests for information). These behaviors are important because they keep the group organized and focused on its goals.

There are several different kinds of maintenance behaviors that can be useful in keeping a group functioning effectively. First, there are attending behaviors—actions taken by members of the group to make sure that everyone is participating in the discussion and that all important information is being shared (e.g., taking attendance at meetings, sending reminders about deadlines). Second, there are inquiring behaviors—actions taken by members of the group to make sure that everyone understands what is going on and that there are no misunderstandings (e.g., asking clarifying questions, checking for understanding). And third, there are monitoring behaviors—actions taken by members of the group to make sure that the discussion is staying on track and that the group is making progress towards its goals (e.g., setting agendas for meetings, keeping track of action items).

3. Conclusion:

The dimensions of group participation discussed in this paper contribute to group effectiveness in different ways. Verbal and nonverbal communication provide the means by which messages are exchanged between members of the group. Group development over time helps the group to establish a cohesive identity. Social vs. task interdependence affects the ability of the group to complete tasks effectively. Group roles and norms provide structure and predictability. And group maintenance behaviors keep the group organized and focused on its goals.

FAQ

The different dimensions of group effectiveness are task performance, interpersonal relationships, and collective impact.

These dimensions interact with each other in that they all contribute to the overall effectiveness of the group.

Groups can improve their effectiveness in each dimension by focusing on communication, goal setting, and conflict resolution.

Some common pitfalls that groups face when trying to be effective are lack of communication, not having clear goals, and not being able to resolve conflicts.