SUSS PSY 201 ORGANISATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY STUDY UNIT 4 WORK GROUP &…
SUSS PSY 201 ORGANISATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY STUDY UNIT 4
WORK GROUP & ORGANIZATIONAL ISSUES
Work Groups and Teams
is two or more individuals engaged in social interaction to achieve some goal
Basic Group Processes
Several basic social processes that occur in all work groups help to hold the groups together, regulate group behavior, coordinate group activities, and stimulate action by group members
is the process of adhering to group norms
As these norms are important to a workgroup’s identity, members will face the pressure to conform.
Failure to do so can result in ostracism from the workgroup.
is the degree of attraction among group members.
increases member satisfaction, but only increases productivity when it is work related.
increases when members have equal status.
increases with increased stability of group membership.
intragroup cohesiveness created by the existence of a common threat, which is typically another group
a group’s shared belief that they can attain organizational outcomes
COOPERATION AND COMPETITION IN WORK GROUPS
the phenomenon whereby individuals working in groups exert less effort than when working alone
involves group members working together toward shared common goals,
the tendency for persons to pay back those to whom they are indebted for assistance
the degree to which an individual’s task performance depends on the efforts or skills of others.
Helps increase cooperation
the process whereby group members are pitted against one another to achieve individual goals. i.e. Competition in sales group
CONFLICT IN WORK GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS
refers to behaviour by a person or group intended to inhibit the attainment of goals by another person or group.
key element in the definition of conflict is that the conflicting parties have
Levels of conflict
is conflict that occurs when an individual is faced with two sets of incompatible goals.
is conflict that occurs when two people are striving to
attain their own goals, thus blocking the other’s achievement.
is conflict that arises when a person or faction within a group attempts to achieve a goal that interferes with the group’s goal attainment.
is conflict that occurs between two groups trying to attain their
is conflict between organizations with incompatible
Sources of conflict
The scarcity of resources
Individual and group interdependence
“we-versus-they” feeling (e.g., unions vs managers)
Inter-personal conflicts between two powerful individuals
Younger workers are more conflict-prone than older workers
Positive outcomes of conflict
energize group members, increasing work motivation
stimulate creativity and innovation (trying to out perform competitors)
improve the quality of decision-making (more critical in decision making)
Negative outcomes of conflict
reduce group cohesiveness
hamper effective communication
lower group member satisfaction
cause group goals to become secondary to infighting
Conflict resolution strategies
: persisting in conflict until one party attains personal goals at the expense of the other’s
: making a sacrifice to resolve conflicts
: both parties give up some part of their goals
: parties co-operate to reach a solution that satisfies both
: withdrawing from or avoiding a conflict
Group Decision-Making Processes
Ways of making decisions in a group
decision making: a process by which decisions are made by group members based on majority-rule voting
: decision making is based on 100% member agreement
decision making: the leader solicits information from group members but still holds the final say
decision making: a process by which group decisions are made by the leader alone, based on information the leader possesses
slow (can be a problem in a crisis situation)
creates intra-group conflict
certain members, such as leaders, may dominate the decision-making process
the potential for groupthink and group polarization
works from a broad knowledge base
decision is accepted by members
decision is highly critiqued
aspects of problem can be divided among members
refers to a syndrome characterised by a concurrence-seeking tendency that overrides the ability of a cohesive group to make critical decisions.
The Eight Symptoms of Groupthink
Illusion of invulnerability
Illusion of morality
Illusion of unanimity
Shared negative stereotypes
Direct conformity pressure
is the tendency for groups to make decisions that are more extreme than those made by individuals.
Two explanations for group polarization:
The individual is presented
with persuasive arguments
by other members that bolster the individual’s original positive or negative stance on the issue.
adopts the values of the group
by going along with the viewpoint of the group, becoming even more positive (negative) about an idea than he would be alone by himself.
is an interdependent workers with complementary skills working toward a shared goal
Role and Norm
Within work groups (and teams), members can play various roles.
patterns of behaviour
that are adapted based on
about the functions of a
beliefs concerning the responsibilities and requirements of a particular role
the process by which group members learn to perform various roles
a sense of uncertainty over the requirements of a particular role
that results when the expectations associated with one role interfere with the expectations concerning another role
are rules that groups adopt governing appropriate and inappropriate behaviour for members
ORGANIZATIONAL SOCIALIZATION: LEARNING GROUP ROLES AND NORMS
The process by which new employees learn group roles and norms and develop specific work skills and abilities.
Includes three important processes
organizational socialization occurs in 3 stages (New comer- to a well assimilated worker)
involved in org socialisation
The first process—learning specific work skills and abilities—is the main goal of personnel training. The other two processes—the acquisition of roles and role behaviours and the learning of group norms—focuses on group roles and norm
(b) the acquisition of a set of appropriate role behaviours
(c) adjustment to the work group’s norms
(a) the development of specific work skills and abilities.
Typically, organizational socialization occurs in stages, as one moves from being a newcomer to a fully functioning and contributing member of the work group.
The first stage is anticipatory socialization. Here newcomers
a set of
concerning the job and the organization and determine if the organization will provide the right match with their abilities, needs, and values
The second stage in the process is accommodation. In this stage, new employees learn about the various roles that workgroup members play and about their own specific roles in the group. They
important work group
norms and standards
develop interpersonal relationships
with other group members.
3. Role management
In the third stage, role management, newcomers make the transition to regular members or insiders, mastering the tasks and roles they must perform
refers to the arrangement of positions in an organization and the authority and responsibility relationships among them
Dimensions of an Organisational structure
Command and control
Chain of Command.
Important dimensions of organizational structure are the
number of authority levels in an organization
, or chain of command
Span of control
is another key dimension. It allueds to the number of workers reporting to a single work supervisor,
Functional Vs divisional
an organizational structure that divides the organization into departments
based on the functions or tasks
For example, a manufacturing firm may be made up of a production department, sales department, and finance department
. an organizational structure that divides the organization according to
types of products
Each division may perform the same range of functions, but those functions only serve the goals of the particular division.
For example, a major motion picture company might have multiple products—one that focuses on films for theatres, another producing movies for television
Traditional VS Non-traditional
are characterized by their flexibility, adaptability, and lack of formal authority lines.
a nontraditional organizational structure consisting of a team of members organized around a particular project or product
Collaboration among workers.
Employees in team organizations share skills and resources, working collaboratively to get the job done.
Broadly defined job scope
. workers have broadly defined jobs, not the narrowly specialized positions common to traditionally structured organization
Tendancy toward group decision making
. Team members have considerable input into organizational decision making
Project task force
a non-traditional organization of workers who are assembled temporarily to complete a specific job or project
structures tend to be stable and rule driven
a traditional organizational structure typified by a well-defined authority
governing work behaviour
Characteristics of Bureaucratic organisation
Formal rules and procedures
—In a bureaucracy there are strict rules and regulations to ensure uniformity and to regulate work behavior.
Everyone’s job is well defined, and procedures for coordinating activities with other workers should be clearly established
—In bureaucracies, behavior is based on logical rather than emotional thinking. This means that personal preferences and emotional factors do not have a place in any work-related decisions.
A well-defined authority hierarchy
—Bureaucracies are characterized by a pyramid-type arrangement in which each lower position is controlled and supervised by the next higher level.
Every position is under the direct supervision of someone higher up, so that there is no confusion about who reports to whom
Employment decisions based on merit
—Hiring and promotion decisions are based on who is best qualified for the job rather than on the personal preferences of those making the personnel decisions
Specialization of labour
—The complex goals or outputs of the organization are broken down into separate, well-defined tasks. Thus, each person becomes a specialized expert at performing a certain task.
Emphasis on written records
—To ensure uniformity of action and fair and equitable treatment of employees, bureaucracies keep meticulous records of past decisions and actions.
line–staff organizational structure
a traditional organizational structure composed of one group of employees who achieve the goals of the organization (the line), and another group who support the line (staff)
specialized employee positions designed to support the line
employees in an organization who are engaged directly in tasks that accomplish its goals. For example, in manufacturing organizations, line employees are the ones making products on the assembly lines
an organizational design that blends functional and product structures.
They tend to be best suited for projects and products that require creativity and innovation, but are less well suited for routine tasks that can be easily broken down into specialized components.
Routine tasks are better handled in more traditional organizational structures
In matrix organizations, workers have
two reporting lines:
one to a
, a person responsible for the worker’s area of expertise and
one to a
, who is responsible for the particular product being produced
Centralised VS Decentralised
alludes to the degree to which decision-making power rests at the upper levels of the organizational hierarchy
alludes to the process of taking the decision-making authority away from the top levels of the organisation and distributing it to lower levels
can be defined as the shared values, beliefs, assumptions, and patterns of behavior within an organization
ON ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE.
There are five key dimensions on which societal cultures differ
Gendeer: Masculinity versus femininity
—Represents the extent to which members of the culture value traits and practices that are stereotypically “masculine” such as assertiveness and competitiveness, or stereotypically “feminine” traits such as caring for others and being modest in presentation of accomplishments.
—Concerns the extent to which members of the culture avoid or tolerate
uncertainty and ambiguity
—Deals with the extent to which members of the culture accept and expect that there are differences in the way that power is distributed unequally among members.
Long-term versus short-term orientation
—This dimension concerns whether members of the culture emphasize long-term orientations such as perseverance and working hard today for future payoffs, versus short-term fulfillment of immediate needs.
Individualism versus collectivism
—Concerned with the extent to which individual interests and goals are emphasized versus a focus on the larger group, or collective.
the process of assisting organizations in preparing for and managing change
Phases of Organisational development
The first phase is usually a
of the organization to identify significant problems.
In the next phase, appropriate
are chosen to try to deal with the problems.
The third phase is the
of the interventions, or OD techniques.
Finally, the results of the interventions are
name for an OD practitioner, referring to the person’s role as a catalyst who helps organizations through the process of change
. an OD methodological model that applies social science research methods to collecting relevant organizational data that are used for solving organizational problems
How to Develop Effective OD Work Teams
If work teams or committees are to be effective in solving organizational problems, certain criteria must be met
Team members should
represent and inform
nonteam workers, to prevent any for of miscommunication or misconception.
The influence of team members on decisions should be
based on expertise
—i.e. based on relevant knowledge, not on organizational politics.
Team members should have the authority to
from their respective departments.
Work team conflict should be managed to
maximize the problem-solving process
—The conflict that arises in problem-solving committees should be functional and help to develop a high-level and highly critiqued course of action. It is important that
such conflict be controlled to avoid dysfunctional outcomes.
Team members should have knowledge and
to the decision - This involves including lower-level workers who have firsthand experience with the job.
Team members should have
good interpersonal skills and adequate leadership
—The success of a work team is going to be directly related to the smooth flow of communication among members.
The better their interpersonal skills, the better the group’s ability to reach high-quality decisions.
It is also important for the team leader to take an appropriate but not too dominant role to
facilitate team interaction
and to help resolve nonproductive conflicts.
The work team should include some persons of
who will be responsible for helping to implement any decisions made by the group
Team members should perceive their
participation as important
and personally rewarding— One way to do this is to offer some sort of formal rewards for contributions
Steps in the Action Research Process
Organization Recognizes Problem.
OD Consultant Called In.
Data Gathering and Diagnosis.
Feedback to Client Organization.
Joint Action Planning.
Action (Intervention plans).
Popular OD Procedures/techniques
Team building - Task oriented
is an OD technique in which teams of workers discuss how to improve team performance by analysing group interaction.
similar to t-groups, but the focus is not on individual growth and skill development;
the focus is on improving team functioning
and goal attainment.
team building worked best when the focus of team building was on the skills and roles of team members than when it was focused on goal setting or on improving interpersonal relationships within the team
an OD technique in which a consultant helps a client-organization study its problems objectively and learn to solve them. process
Here, consultant, works as a teacher to assist the client-organization in learning how to use objective methods (i.e. survey instruments, structured interviews, or the collection of relevant performance data) to diagnose and solve its own problems.
specific steps in process consultation as follow:
1. Initial Contact.
The first step is the initial contact with the client-organization, which is usually initiated by someone in the organization who realizes that problems exist and is willing to try to solve them
2. Developing the contract
Through meetings with the client organisation’s top decision-makers, a formal contract is drawn up to
determine matters such as client time and compensation.
A “psychological” contract, which includes the expectations and goals of the organization as well as I/O consultants’ goals, is also formulated
3. Selection of a setting and a method of work
The third step is the selection of a setting and a method of work. A site for study is selected collaboratively with the client and is usually a unit near the top of the organization.
Those workers who are being observed by the consultant must be made aware of her presence and purpose
4. Data gathering and diagnosis
The fourth step is data gathering and diagnosis. By using interviews, direct observation, and surveys of employees, I/O Consultant tries to obtain an in-depth picture of the organization and its internal processes.
Through analysis of these data and consultation with relevant executives, specific problem areas are targeted.
For example, data from a sales company facing high turnover reveal that turnover is linked to three factors:
(a) Salespersons perceive their sales commissions rates to be lower than those in other sales positions
(b) salespersons feel they do not receive enough attention from sales managers; and
(c) some salespersons are hired without much experience, and CDE provides little specific training of new personnel
5. The next step is the intervention.
A variety of intervention strategies are used in process consultation.
Some are as simple as providing feedback of the consultant’s observations to workers.
Others may involve counseling work groups or individuals or setting agendas to increase a group’s awareness of its own internal processes.
6. Evaluation of results and disengagement.
The final step in process consultation is the evaluation of results and disengagement. A successful process consultation improves organizational performance by “changing some of the values of the organization and by increasing the interpersonal skills of key managers.”
If these goals are met, clients should see some changes in the organization’s perception of the value of the sales force and in the selection, training, and treatment of sales personnel.
T-groups (Training groups or sensitivity training) -
an OD technique that uses
unstructured group interaction
to assist workers in achieving
insight into their own motivations
and behaviour patterns in dealing with other organizational members.
This technique has been shown to improved employee attitudes and increased job satisfaction.
However it is not clear that gaining insight about one’s own behaviour, and developing communication skills in the “safe” setting of the t-group, will then translate into changes in a worker’s behavior in the actual work setting.
Management by objectives (MBO)
a goal-setting OD technique in which supervisors and subordinates jointly set performance goals; at the end of the goal period, their attainment is evaluated and new goals are set
Closely related with goal-setting. The basic rationales behind the procedure are that work-related goals must be clearly specified and measurable, and that employees should participate in setting them to become committed to their fulfillment.
For MBO to be implemented correctly, the following criteria must be met
Employees must participate
in setting personal performance goals
Employees cannot be too reserved and employers cannot be too assertive. This is a joint effo
concerning goal attainment must be provided
for improvement must be provided
Goals must be
The upper levels of the organization must
Individual, work group, and organizational goals must be
An OD technique whereby the consultant works with the organization to develop and administer a
that are fed back to organizational members and
used as the starting point
Requires considerable training to create valid and reliable employee surveys and to analyze and interpret the results.
One of the direct benefits of the survey is that it can increase the upward flow of communication from lower-level workers to management (Only works if feed backs are being addressed).
Small groups of volunteer employees from the same work area who meet regularly to solve work-related problems. Associated with Japanese management.
The failure of quality circle programs, and indeed of other OD programs, can often be traced to a lack of support from management and/ or workers or to poor training and preparation of participants