Any effective group has three core activities:
1. Accomplishing its goals
2. Maintaining itself internally
3. Developing and changing in ways that improves its effectiveness.
Let us now try to understand the various dimensions of an effective group that facilitate the above mentioned three core elements to function properly which provide a sense of direction to the productive group.
a) Group goals: Must be clearly understood · Be relevant to the needs of the group members. Highlight the positive inter dependence of members. Evoke from every member a high level of commitment to their accomplishment
b) Communication: Must communicate their ideas and feelings accurately and clearly. Effective two way communication is mandatory for interaction
c) Participation and Leadership: All should participate and all should be listened to. Share responsibilities that eases the burden. Increases the cohesiveness of the group
d) Appropriate decision making procedure: Balance between time and member resources. Flexible decision making to suit the needs of the situation
e) Power and Influence:
· Should be equal
· Based on expertise, ability and access to information and not on authority · Coalitions must be formed between group members on the basis of mutual influence and interdependence
· Are to be encouraged as they promote involvement in the group’s work, improve quality and creativity in decision making.
· Minority opinions should be accepted and used
g) Group Cohesion:
· Needs to be high
· Level of acceptance, support, and trust among the members decide how cohesive the group is
h) Problem Solving:
· Problems should be resolved with minimal energy and permanently
· Existence of problems must be found out quickly and solutions should improve the effectiveness of group behavior
i) Inter-personal effectiveness:
· Needs to be high
· It is a measure of how all the consequences of your behavior match your intention.
This is defined as the average resultant force acting on members to remain in a group. The characteristics or criteria that determine group cohesiveness are as follows:
1. Degree of dependency on the group: The greater the number of individual needs are satisfied, the greater the cohesiveness
2. Size: If the size of the group interaction is low, it results in low cohesiveness. If the size of the group is small, the members tend to have free and more interaction, leading to high level of cohesiveness and vice versa
3. Homogeneity: Where the interests and background of the group is similar, you find greater cohesiveness.
4. Outside pressure: Outside pressure minimizes internal conflicts leading to high cohesiveness. You find people responding with greater cohesiveness during times of natural disaster and calamities
5. Competition: Competition between the members of the same group or intra group competition reduces cohesiveness but competition members of different groups or inter-group competition increases cohesiveness.
Group Cohesiveness can be encouraged by the following ways:
· Make the group smaller
· Encourage agreement with group goals
· Increase the time members spend together · Stimulate competition with other groups
· Give rewards to groups rather than to a single member
· Physically, isolate the group.