Meaning, Definition, Factors affecting group behaviour

foundation of group behaviour

Table of Contents:

Group Behaviour Meaning

Group behaviour in an organization is quite complex. It directs to the circumstances where people interact in large and small groups. The study of mass behaviour is essential for an organization to achieve its goals and objectives effectively. Personal and group behaviour differ from each other.

In 1920, Elton Mayo and his associates conducted the Hawthorne experiments and came to know that group behaviour has a significant impact on productivity.

The importance of group behaviour has been recognised from time to time. Human behaviour consists of people, who move in groups. The knowledge of the group, as well as individual behaviour, is necessary for a manager.

He must understand group psychology and should also understand personal behaviour in the context of group behaviour. The group in which he moves influences individual work, job satisfaction, and effective performance.

Factors affecting group behaviour

Various factors that affect group behaviour are shown in the image:

Foundation of Group Behaviour

Factors affecting group behaviour are as follows:-

1) External Factors

Several groups exist in an organisation; each group is a sub-system. These groups interact with other sub-systems and organisation systems. The organisation system affects the group members through organisation structure, corporate strategy, rules and regulations, organisational resources, performance appraisal and reward system, staffing policies, workplace culture, and physical work environment such as lighting, layout, seating arrangement, interior decoration,  temperature, etc.

2) Group Member’s Resources

To a considerable extent, group performance depends upon the number of resources, which includes:

i) Personality Characteristics: Group members’ Personality traits can define the group’s attitude and group behaviour. The qualities that have a positive association are positively related to the productivity, morale, and cohesiveness of group decision making.

These include qualities such as sociability, self-reliance, and independence. In contrast, negatively considered characteristics such as dominance, authoritarianism and manipulation tend to harm group performance in the long run.

ii) Abilities of Members: The performance of a group may be influenced by the task-relevant intellectual abilities of each member. Research proves that individuals who hold crucial skills for attaining the group’s task tend to be more involved in the activities of the group structure, generally contribute more, and are more likely to emerge as group leaders. They are more satisfied if the group effectively utilises their talents.

3) Group Structures

A group is a conscious and purposive creation, not an unorganised mob of a few individuals. Therefore, the group has a structure just like an organisation.

Related Article:- Group Decision Making 

4) Group Processes

Group processes refer to how the group is communicating: who talks with whom; how much each member is contributing; which members, if any, are being ignored; who is emerging as a leader, and whether the information is being suppressed; and so on. Thus, in other words, it refers to how group behaviour is constructed continuously.

5) Group Tasks

Tasks may be simple, routine, standardized, complex, non-routine, and novel. The nature of the job moderates the group operation and affects group performance and member satisfaction.

Large groups are more suitable for certain kinds of tasks, while smaller groups are desirable for some jobs. More excellent interaction among group members is required when there is a high degree of interdependence among the functions that group members must execute.

Related Article:- Organisational Culture

6) Performance and Satisfaction

Group performance and satisfaction tend to be more on complex tasks than simple ones. This is because, for three reasons, factors affecting group performance are given below:

i) The group task requires members to take initiative and use various high-level skills.

ii) Complex task is perceived as meaningful.

iii) Task accomplishment would increase the prestige of the group.

Exploring Group Behaviour

Group behaviour refers to situations where people interact in large and small groups. Group dynamics focuses on small groups that may reach a consensus and act in a coordinated manner. Prominent groups in a given area may simultaneously engage in collective action, known as herd behaviour, to achieve a goal that differs from what individuals would do when acting alone. A sizable group, such as a crowd or mob, is likely to exhibit examples of group behaviour when individuals gathered in a specific place and time act similarly—whether it be joining a protest, participating in a march, engaging in a fight, or expressing patriotism.

Distinct forms of significant group behaviour include:

1) Crowd “hysteria”.

2) Spectators: when a group of people intentionally gathers to participate in events such as theatre, plays, cinema, movies, football matches, concerts, etc.

3) Public: an exception to the rule that the group must physically occupy the same place. People watching the same television channel may react similarly, as they occupy the same type of place in front of the television, even if they are physically dispersed worldwide.


Group behaviour differs from mass actions, which involve people behaving similarly globally (e.g., shoppers in different shops). Group behaviour typically pertains to people in one place. When coordinated, it is termed group action. Swarm intelligence represents a particular case of group behaviour, referring to the interaction among agents to fulfil a given task. This type of group dynamics has garnered considerable attention from the soft computing community, particularly in the form of the particle swarm optimization family of algorithms.

Group action is a situation in which many agents take action simultaneously to achieve a common goal, with their actions usually being coordinated. Group action often occurs when social agents realize they are more likely to achieve their goal by acting together rather than individually. Group action differs from uncoordinated group behaviours and mass actions, which are more limited in scope.

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