MGMT 100 AMU Week 7 lesson Social Interactions Human Relations American Military University
- Lesson Overview
- Have you ever been placed in a work group or group project and realized that your task is almost impossible? Now, don’t panic, I’m not assigning any group projects here, but I do want us to think about how we can work effectively in groups.
By the end of this lesson, you will be able to:
- Identify effective interpersonal skills and specific features of cognition, personality and intelligence, necessary for understanding human behavior in a work setting
- Define key leadership traits and strategies, for developing leadership potential
- Examine motivational climate in work situations and apply appropriate motivation strategies
- Apply tactics for improving relations with coworkers and customers
In this lesson, we will discuss:
- Working in groups
- Managing relationships
- Friction and group cohesion
The following activities and assessments need to be completed this week: Week 7 Paper
Week 7 Forum
You’ve been tasked by the government to put together a group.
Have you ever been placed in a workgroup or group project and realized that your task is almost impossible? Now, don’t panic, I’m not assigning any group projects here, but I do want us to think about how we can work effectively in groups.
Types of Groups
A group is two or more people interacting on a regular basis that have either formal or informal rules and roles of behavior. There are basically two types of groups: formal and informal. Formal groups are governed by a formal structure of an organization, whereas informal groups form together around common interests, personalities, hobbies and habits (Lamberton and Minor, p192).
Most people are placed into formal groups as subject matter experts, or because they have skills and knowledge that leaders of an organization feel will lead to the success of the group. People join informal groups for some of the following reasons: Affiliation, they want to be with other people; attraction, people are drawn to people who have similar interests and values. Others join informal groups for the activities, that is, you share common hobbies, such as a running club or chess club. There are also people who join groups for assistance, such as a Weight Watchers or Alcoholics Anonymous. And others join groups out of proximity, such as a neighborhood group or because they work within the same office.
Lussier states that there are three ways of classifying group roles. The primary group roles are group task roles, group maintenance roles, and self-interest roles.
- GROUP TASK
- GROUP MAINTENANCE
Group task roles are acted out by members who do and say things that are for the accomplishment of the objectives decided upon (either formally or informally) by the group.
What makes a tight group? What is the glue that binds it? This is group cohesiveness. According to Lussier, there are six factors that influence group cohesiveness.‹ 1/6 ›
- The objective of a group matters. The stronger the commitment and agreement to achievement of the group’s purpose or objectives, the better the cohesion.
Not all groups are formed easily and there are some growing pains, let’s take a look at the stages that a group goes through each time people are brought together for a purpose. Lamberton and Minor describe the four stages of group formation as Forming, Redefining, Coordinating and Formalizing (p 194). For a group to form it first must establish the “norm” which is the standard of behavior expected of the group members.
Not all groups are successful are and there are some barriers and hindrances to group dynamics. One of these is known as hidden agenda. A hidden agenda of a group member can undermine the efforts of a group towards goal accomplishment. People often accomplish hidden agendas while pretending to care about the group. An example of this could be someone who works with non-profit or church groups to gain business contacts. They are more concerned with advancing their career than helping the organization with its goals.
Groupthink is another set of faulty thinking method that can undermine the effectiveness of a group. Irving Janis (1982) has defined Groupthink as “a mode of thinking…when members’ strive for unanimity overrides their motivation to realistically appraise course of action”. In other terms, the group wants to reach an agreement so quickly as possible, which causes some members of the group to not speak up and stop the agreement process for fear of being an obstructionist.
GROUPTHINK AT NASA
How to Reduce Groupthink
In our text, Janis mentions some of the symptoms of groupthink. I’d also like to cover the 8 steps to consider in reducing groupthink by Janis.‹ 1/8 ›
- Assign CriticsThe leader of each group should assign participants to be critical evaluators of decisions in the group process. There should be encouragement of objections and doubts.
Another concept that I would like to introduce is the difference between Groupthink and the Abilene Paradox. Take a look at the article of some of the examples of each:
Teams vs. Groups
Assignment to a group can be quite rewarding or quite painful. Being assigned to manage one can make that experience tenfold. Now that we have taken a good look at groups, let’s look at teams and ways that they differ from groups.
Work groups are made up of sets of whose work keeps them together. Teams are groups of people who work together to achieve a specific task. There are some different dynamics between teams and groups, however, in most business literature, teams and groups are terms that are interchanged between scenarios.
Here’s a great example of teamwork (Lussier, p216) and it is evident in nature every fall and winter. You’ve seen geese flying in formation heading south for the winter and grew up learning that is was a more efficient method for flying. Scientists have recently discovered some interesting statistics about the flying formation of geese and lessons we can learn from them.
When each bird flaps its wings it creates uplift for the bird following. In a “V” formation the flock’s flying range is 71 percent greater than if each bird flew alone.
People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker by easing the trip for one another.
Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it is suddenly is affected by drag and resistance of trying to go it alone. The goose will get back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power if the bird immediately in front.
Traveling in the same direction as others with whom we share a similar goal provides strength, power, and safety in numbers.
When the lead goose gets tired, it falls back and another goose flies point in the formation.
It pays to take turns doing the hard jobs.
The geese toward the back of the formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
We all need to be encouraged from time to time with active support and praise.
When a goose gets sick or is wounded and falls out, two other geese drop out of formation and follow it down. They stay with the downed goose until the crisis resolves then launch to join their own formation or another passing one.
We need someone to stand by us in times of need.
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What a great analogy of teamwork that the geese show us! Now, let’s move on to chapter 12 and the final part of the lesson to close out this course.
Being aware of roles and role relationships can help you effectively manage and lead others. The quality of relationships can be improved simply through knowing what ego state a person is in. The ego states as listed by Hayes in our text are Parent, Adult and Child. You initiate transactions from one of these states. You can go from one state to another very easily. As a matter of fact, we will sometimes manipulate others by taking on a state that causes the most favorable reaction in them. Recognizing what ego state your workers are operating from at a given point in time and knowing where you ego state currently sits is valuable information. Let’s take a look at the definition and example of each of these.
The parent ego state is a set of feelings, attitudes, and behaviors that you have observed from parental figures. Most the interactions that we had at an early age was with someone in a parental context and these interactions are not forgotten. We remember the ways that we were parents and copy these when in our parent ego state. Our interactions with others when in the parent state are sometimes seen as condescending or overbearing. Frequent use of the words “should,” “shall,” and “don’t” have also been observed.