Meaning, Definition, Factors affecting group behaviour

Group Behaviour Meaning

Group behaviour in an organization is quite complex. Group behaviour directs to the circumstances where people interact in large and small groups. The study of group 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 group behaviour, 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, satisfaction, and effective performance.

Factors affecting group behaviour

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

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 of the organisation. 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, 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: Personality traits of group members can define the attitude of the group and group behaviour. The qualities that have a positive association tend to be positively related to the productivity, morale and cohesiveness of a group.

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 of its members. 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, generally contribute more and more likely to emerge as the group leaders, and are more satisfied if their talents are effectively utilised by the group.

3) Group Structures: A group is not an unorganised mob of few individuals but a conscious and purposive creation. 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; 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 continuingly.

5) Group Tasks: Tasks may be simple, routine and standardised or they may be complex, non-routine, and novel. The nature of the task moderates the group operation and affects group performance and member satisfaction.

For certain kinds of tasks, large groups are more suitable while for some jobs smaller groups are desirable. More excellent interaction among group members is required when there is a high degree of interdependence among the tasks 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 when tasks are simple. This is because, for three reasons, factors affecting group performance are given below:

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

ii) Complex task is perceived as meaningful.

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