GROUP Meaning, Definition, Nature, Types

Types of Group

Group Meaning

A group is formed when two or more people interact, deliberately to reach a common consensus. Group members are mutually dependent and sensitive to the needs of other group members. There are groups in every organization that affect the behaviour of its members. They not only influence the behaviour of their members but also influence the other groups and the whole organisation. Such groups are formed by the organization, as well as by its members for their satisfaction. Therefore, these groups are necessary for the functioning of organisations.

Managers require groups to coordinate individual behaviour to achieve the goals of the organisation. The formation of groups can make the job of a manager easier because once the group is formed; he is not required to explain the task to each individual. A manager simply can give the task to the groups and let them coordinate among themselves, thereby managing the individuals indirectly and easily. However, the communication between group members should be productive so that it works effectively. Therefore, managers should remain attentive to the needs of individuals.

Group Definition

According to Stephen Robbins, “A group may be defined as two or more individuals, interacting and interdependent, who have come together to achieve particular objectives”.

Marvin Shaw states that, “A group comprises, of two or more persons who interact with one another in such a manner that each person influences and is influenced by each other person”.

According to Edgar H. Schein, “A group may be defined as a social phenomenon in which two or more persons decide to interact with one another, share a common ideology and perceive themselves as a group”.

According to David H. Smith, “A group is a set of two or more individuals who are jointly characterised by a network of relevant communications, a shared sense of collective identity and one or more shared dispositions with associated normative strength”.

Nature of Group

The nature of the group includes 

1) Two or More Persons 

There should be a minimum of two persons to form a group because a single person can interact. However, there is no definite limit on the maximum number of people in a group, but the group size may be determined by the rules and regulations of the organization in this context. It can even depend on the communication occurring between the members in the case of informal groups. 

2) Collective Identity 

Group members should be aware of their group membership. Each group member must know that he is a member of a specific group and hence should act as an active participant. It is the understanding of each other that differentiates a group from an unorganised collection of individuals the case of a collection of individuals, they are usually not aware of each other and even if they are aware they do not constructively interact with each other. 

3) Interaction 

Unlike individuals, group members interact among themselves. Interaction means that each member shares his ideas with other members, and this sharing of thoughts can take place in person, in writing over the telephone, through the Internet, or any other means of communication between group members, not all group members do not have to interact all the time, but each member mat interact time-to-time with other group members 

4) Shared Goal Interest 

Group members must support the achievement of shared goals. However, each member doesn’t need to support or agree with the overall objectives of the group. A group has a variety of purposes or interests, so each member of the group can share at least one of the concerns of the group. It is the consensus on the goals of a group, which connects the members and keeps them together.

Related Article:- Group Structure 

Reasons for Joining Group

Groups come into existence for several reasons, which are as follows: 

1) Personal Attraction 

Even informal group settings when people are expected to work together, the strength and unity of the group will be determined by the degree to which individuals are attracted to other members.

2) Group Activities

Groups allow members to interact and participate in group activities which are necessary for creating a sense of belongingness with others. 

3) Group Goals

Sharing a common set of goals is essential to create a sense of common purpose and the standards required for upholding a sense of identity and how the group distinguishes itself from others. 

4) Security and Social Affiliation 

Groups allow individuals to fulfil their belonging needs. Besides the need to feel loved, the group provides a feeling of protection by giving safety and security to its members

5) States and Self-Esteem 

Groups often build up a sense of value and status which in turn gives them greater self-esteem. These feelings are reinforced if membership is perceived to be restricted or complex. 

6) Power 

Groups can apply more power to deal with non-group members as compared to the collection of individuals. For example, trade union membership allows the group of employees to both defend and support the interests of employees.

Related Article:- Group Decision Making

Types of Group

Groups can be classified into the following types:

Types of Group

1) Primary and Secondary Groups 

Primary groups are characterised by close, face-to-face association and collaboration among members. Generally, there is a high degree of mutual dependency among members. Primary groups are also the fundamental source of socialisation in society. This is the central place for the development and maintenance of attitudes, values and guidelines, e.g., the family and peer group.

Secondary groups are marked by the large size and identification of the individuals through inherent values and beliefs rather than actual interaction. This group consists of members who are seldom in direct contact. They are usually large and formally structured, e.g., trade unions, membership organisations such as the National Trust etc.

2) Membership Groups and Reference Groups 

Membership groups are those, to which the individual truly belongs, e.g., clubs, cooperatives, workers unions, etc.

Reference groups are those with which an individual identifies or to which he likes to belong, e.g., friends, family, etc.

3) In-Groups and Out-Groups 

In-groups correspond to a group of people who hold the existing values in a society or at most occupy a central place in social functioning, e.g., team members, family members, etc.

Out-groups are the masses that are considered secondary or insignificant in the culture, e.g., street performers for office workers, and hawkers for a surgeon.

4) Interest and Friendship Groups 

Interest group consists of people who may unite to achieve a specific objective with which they are associated.

Friendship groups consist of people who have some common characteristics. People belonging to a particular region holding a particular point of view or speaking a similar language are inclined to form friendship groups.

5) Formal and Informal Groups 

When groups are formed by the organisations themselves for a particular set of goals or to complete certain tasks, these groups are called formal groups. Departments, divisions, task forces, project groups, quality circles, and committees are some examples of formal groups. 

Informal groups are the groups, which are formed in response to the need for social contact. These groups are internally formed within the organization and are formed spontaneously by the members themselves. They are created to meet the social requirements related to the job. Several common examples of informal groups are tea or coffee groups and clubs. 

6) Temporary and Permanent Groups 

Such groups are formed to fulfilling definite goals. They have a very small lifespan. They cease to exist after attaining the desired objectives. Problem-solving and discussing ideas are the main roles of temporary groups. Meetings, committees, and small groups are examples of temporary groups.

Permanent groups consist of group activities, group performances, job assignments, etc. A team is a permanent group. Trade unions and commercial associations are examples of permanent groups. 

7) Nominal and Non-Performing Groups

Nominal groups are given problems to solve. Group members exchange their ideas in a planned manner. Their different options are discussed to select the option. This is a nominal group because employees are members of the group only for the sake of the name. 

Non-performing groups exist only on paper. They are formed and developed without performance. They have some goals, but they do not make an effort to attain them.

Other Types of Group

There are various types of groups, and a few of them are outlined below:

1. Clique: An informal, tight-knit group, typically found in high school or college, shares common interests. Cliques often have an established but flexible power structure, and their effects can be diverse.

2. Club: A club is a group that usually requires a membership application. These clubs may be dedicated to specific activities, such as sports clubs.

3. Community: A community consists of people with commonalities or sometimes a complex network of overlapping commonalities. They are often, though not always, in proximity to each other, with some continuity over time. Communities often have some organization and leaders.

4. Franchise: An organization that operates multiple instances of a business in various locations.

5. Gang: Typically, an urban group gathers in a specific area, and a gang is a less formal group of people who often spend time together, resembling some clubs.

6. Group: It is a fundamental term for several people associating with each other. This versatile term has various applications.

7. Mob: Usually a group of people who take the law into their own hands, mobs are temporary gatherings formed for a specific reason.

8. Posse: Originally an American term for citizens banding together to enforce the law, a posse can also refer to a street group.

9. Squad: Typically, a small group of about 3-8 people works as a team to achieve a specific goal.

10. Team: Like a squad, a team may contain many more members and functions similarly to a party.

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