"How can the existence of a group affect the behaviour of the individual worker?".
Groups are found in all situations inside and outside the working environment, and play a large part in the everyday working of companies. If management wish to ensure they can influence the behaviour of their employees, then they must be aware of and understand how groups work and what kind of impact they can have if not handled well. This essay will cover the theory of groups, focusing on work groups, and how they affect individuals within them. Aspects to be covered will be definitions of what groups are, the different stages in the formation ad development of groups, classification of groups, the structure of groups, sociograms which show the relationships between people within the group, how relationships can affect performance. Also explained in the essay will be communication, which will discuss the work of Dr. Janet Bavelas, the effect of groups on individuals, Norms, Conformity and Deviance, the benefits of groups, and will also mention the Hawthorne Studies. .
A number of definitions can be found which attempt to describe what a group is. According to Mullins (2002) "Groups are a characteristic of all social situations and almost everyone in an organisation will be a member of one or more groups." A popular definition of a group has been given in psychological terms by Schein (1988). He defines a group as "any number of people who (1) interact with one another; (2) are psychologically aware of one another; and (3) perceive themselves to be a group." Another definition, provided by Adair (1986), is that a group is "a collection of people who share most, if not all, of the following characteristics: a definable membership; group consciousness; a sense of shared purpose; interdependence; interaction; and ability to act in a unitary manner." .
There are a number of different types of group, which can be classified under the following terms: primary group; secondary group; formal group; informal group; reference group; large group and; small group.