Group Effectiveness sample essay
Due to the constantly changing business world companies are seeking to inspire their workers to be creative and work together, thus the emergence of group work (Bray & Brawley, 2002). The purpose of this essay is to show how Ancona’s model can be used to analyse a group’s effectiveness thus presenting an understanding of factors, which facilitate and hinder effectiveness. In this essay I argue how my team was highly effective due to “fit” of personality, utilizing diversity of skills and knowledge and show how effectiveness could have been improved by allocation of roles, specifically that of a clear leader.
Furthermore, I acknowledge that I function more effectively in a well structured and compatible team. Individual and team surveying as well as scholarly articles will be utilized to provide further insight into group effectiveness. Effectiveness defined as “a measure of the degree to which objectives are achieved and targeted problems solved” (Moore, 1996: 348), can be evaluated by, but not limited to group performance, member satisfaction, team learning and outsider satisfaction (Ancona et al. , 2004) (Appendix 1).
In the context of my group, effectiveness involved; high interaction, learning and overall efficiency of task. Sources of group feedback, external marking criteria and a team effectiveness survey were enlisted to help quantify group effectiveness in these areas (Appendix 2-5). A mark of 14/15 was a primary indication of the group’s performance, indicating the task had been completed with great process, content and presentation (Appendix 2), Furthermore, post assessment group discussion and surveys concluded members were individually pleased and had learnt from the experience.
A mutual rating of strongly agree on of team learning, satisfaction as a member of the group and superior quality of work as well as a strongly disagree with respect to inability to integrate our viewpoints, indicate that members individually believed that the collective context and processes of the group were effective. Ancona’s model states that effectiveness is a direct result of great skill of context and process of group (Ancona et al. , 2004). This theory will be examined through the analysis of the factors which facilitated and hindered my groups effectiveness.
Ehrhart (2004) furthering Ancona’s model, focuses on the design of a group, specifically compatibility of members with organization to increases proficiency of task. From the outset the task was handled with values of high performance, learning and engagement, all of which are congruent with that of the the organization (The University of Queensland) (University of Queensland, 2010). In line with Ehrhart’s theory this compatibility allowed efficiency evident in a comprehensive completion of task. Building once again on this notion of context is Monahan and Muchinsky’s person-group “fit” theory (1987).
It specifies that efficiency is created when members’ goals, values and personality traits are similar. This was evident in my group’s members initial attraction to join based on similar personality traits; maturity of age and extraversion. Hence this “fit” assisted us to work as cohesive and instil trust in one another. In contrast Monahan (Monahan and Muchinsky’s: 1987) complementary model suggests that, if managed correctly diversity of members skills, experience and personality type (introverted vs extraverted) can improve performance as members add unique attributes that are necessary for success.
Monahan specified that heterogeneous teams allowed for both strong and passive personalities improving team decision-making and learning whereas homogeneously extraverted groups lead to power struggles, thus decreasing effectiveness. Noticeably my group correlated with Monahan’s theory believing that diversity of backgrounds, skills and experience (a mother, HR manager, ex-navy engineer and third year student) assisted in achievement of goals. Furthermore as my group was unanimously extraverted there was difficulty in making decisions, creativity as well as conflict was an issue.
An example of this was the group’s inability to create workshop activities that excited and engaged participation from introverted class mates. This proved Monahan’s theory of necessity for diversity to foster effectiveness. Most important for effectiveness in my group was the establishment of affective group norms. Tagger and Ellis (2007) express that team norms can influence individual team member’s problem solving behaviours and organize the teams thinking.
The article specifically acknowledges that the absence of norms can detract from team effectiveness. My group’s norms, as set by group memorandum (Appendix 3) proved Tagger and Ellis’ theory creating an effective operating climate by structuring the task, setting objectives, expectations, rewards, retributions and deadlines. Initially setting norms of specific meeting times, email as a constant communication channel and recording minutes from each meeting ensured that members were continually aware as to what was expected and what would be accepted.
Hence an effective structure for the group was formed. While these elements of group context, compatibility, “fit”, diversity and group norms, were effective they were not maximized due to the problems in group processing, specifically those of role assignment and leadership. Team processes; decision making, communication, team leadership and conflict management, are all extremely important to group effectiveness (Ancona et al. 2004).
Whilst in the majority each of these elements were dealt with effectively, as indicated by the teams overall mark of 14/15 (Appendix 2), issues did arise which threatened the cohesion of the group. Belbin’s team roles survey revealed group members to be spread across most roles (Appendix 4). As such members were not allocated specific roles, rather slotting into any role necessary. Simultaneously there was no clearly defined leader, instead the leadership position shifted continuously (Appendix 5). Whilst in the short term this was effective, long term it could create task ambiguity.
As Bandura (1997) stated, “if one does not know what demand is to be fulfilled one cannot accurately judge whether one has the requisite abilities to perform the task… Discrepancies between efficiency belief and performance will arise when either the tasks or the circumstances under which they are performed are ambiguous (p. 64). ” Thus, using Bandura’s reasoning, task efficieny was decreased as a result of task ambiguity due to the lack of defined roles, specifically that of a clear leader. Furthermore survey results (see appendix) highlight that communication was an issue.
In today’s fastpaced world virtual communication use is crutial, however with it comes disadvantages; namely lack of nonverbal communication and misunderstandings (Hortwitz et al. ). Hortwitz et al. highlights therefore the importance of a leader to observe and track these virtual interactions. Without a clear leader, decisions can be poor, conflict can arise and overall effectiveness decreased. This was evident in our group as we did not have a clear leader, thus virtual communicaton was poorly structured leading to duplication of work, confusions with decision-making and planning difficulties.
Thus, it is evident by these compounding elements of process that clearly defined roles and communication are essential for group effectiveness. These factors combined with a clearly defined leader and an effective group context lay the foundation for group effectiveness. While grading well, effectiveness of the group could have been improved. Group context was beneficial, mixing both homogeneous personalities with heterogeneous skills and backgrounds created a fun and creative atmosphere (Appendix 5). However this does not necessarily facilitate outsider satisfaction.
This was the case with our group workshop whereby class interaction was difficult to initiate. As all group members were like-minded, we did not think our product would not work on less like-minded participants. If there was diversity, introverted and extraverted, members could have collaborated more effectively, made better quality decisions thus produce a more engaging performance. Furthermore we didn’t utilize external devises to our advantage. By simple actions of talking with past students, our lecturer or testing our workshop on other class members we could have improved our mark and learnt more about our task, thus been more effective.
Most importantly, the group’s effectiveness was severely decreased by task ambiguity created by the lack of clear leadership. While this was not a major issue it was agreed that if the task involved a monetary reward, conflict would have arisen, further decreasing effectiveness. This group experience has taught me alot about myself and how I work in teams. I have learnt more about the theory of how a group’s context and operations affect effectiveness but more importantly how these elements can be manipulated to increase effectiveness.
Primarily I noticed the benefits of group norms in setting a code of behaviour as well as guiding me personally. I found that within the group environment these norms helped me to understand more clearly the extent to which my group members regarded the assignment and work accordingly. Furthermore as norms were set early there was a higher cohesiveness within the group that allowed me to learn and to participate to my full potential. I have the weakness of being overly controlling with group work. With group norms setting out guidelines and expectations I was able to be less dominating, instead concentrating on the task at hand.
More importantly, this experience has highlighted the importance of a group leader. I have the potential to be doubtful and over analytical about my work, hence a specific leader is essential for me to get on track with a task as without one I tend to withdraw due to anxiety. A clear leader is therefore essential for my performance as they can guide and react to circumstances or perceived threats. Furthermore the use of homogeneity of personality, hetrogenity of skill and formed group norms is diminished if there’s no clear governing body to overlook, present feedback and aid communication.
Thus in group situations I will concentrate on personality testings to ensure selected members have compatible personalities as well as concentrating on leadership development and cementing progressive norms, setting the way for successful processes and thus an effective group. Therefore, as evidenced by the application of Ancona’s model of effectiveness for the above study, it can be seen that it is a useful tool in providing detailed insight into group effectiveness.
Throughout this essay the analysis of group context and processes were particularly helpful in providing an understanding of key factors that affect effectiveness. Highlighted were the need for group context to include compatibility, ‘fit’, diversity and norms as well as processes with a clearly defined leader and effective communication. Hence with this insight it can be expected that a group that adopts these concepts into their group dynamic is likely to be considered an effective group.