Communication is paramount, and it shapes the communication network of a group. Placement of a member within a communication network and the role they play often influences their status within a group. Fantasy is important since it defines how groups can create their culture. The principle of symbolic convergence suggests that humans create a shared reality, deal with uncomfortable issues and meaning through talking or make decisions on what actions to take in what is often referred to as fantasy chains. Groups also establish group climate through bonding and cohesiveness among its members thus contribute to its productivity. Normally an effective group will end up developing a supportive group climate whereas an ineffective one creates a defensive climate. Keeping all these in mind, this paper focuses on a handful of research work done on communication in groups and factors affecting such communication.
1. analysMcEwan D, Ruissen GR, Eys MA, Zumbo BD, Beauchamp MR (2017) The Effectiveness of Teamwork Training on Teamwork Behaviors and Team Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled Interventions. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0169604. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0169604
Teams have become commonplace across all sectors in the contemporary society. Group work or rather teamwork is highly encouraged in any scenario from football squads to special operations corps and political parties. For these groups to be effective and achieve their aims, the members need not only to be highly skilled but also work well together like a well-oiled machine.
The purpose of the review was to quantify the effects of the preexisting controlled experimental research of interventions that occur in teamwork training on teamwork as well as team performance. The objective of this paper was to conduct a systematic review as well as a meta-analysis of teamwork interventions that were conducted with an aim to improve teamwork and elevate team performance by use of controlled experimental designs. The research delved into numerous articles from various databases including Journal of applied psychology, Medline, and PsycINFO among others. The number of articles used by the end of the study was 51 and comprised of 72 (k) unique interventions. The random effects model was utilized with 8439 participants.
The results indicated that teamwork interventions had a considerable effect on teamwork and team performance. On removing outlier studies, medium-sized effects were experienced on both teamwork and team performance. Some notable findings were also revealed upon additional subgroup analyses.
Limitations include lack of enough reliable data on variables thus possibility of conducting inappropriate subgroup analyses. Also, some information such as contact time between participating teams and interventionists and the duration of the intervention was not provided consistently. Finally, there was also a significant amount of variability within various coded categories. The paper concludes that team performance and teamwork can be fostered through teamwork training.
2. Kozlowski, S., & Ilgen, D. (2006). Enhancing the Effectiveness of Work Groups and Teams. Psychological Science In The Public Interest, 7(3), 77-124. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1529-1006.2006.00030.x
People have been working together in groups for a common purpose since time immemorial. Human social organization was spearheaded by our ancestors when they would bond together to accomplish tasks including hunting game and defending their territories or communities. In fact, human history is to a large extent a tale of individuals working together in groups to conquer, explore, and achieve certain ends. Teams impact on lives every day and their effectiveness across a wide range of societal functions cannot be overlooked. Yet, the contemporary society seems to recognize work as a collection of individual jobs and not group work. Nevertheless, various global forces over the years have pushed organizations throughout the world to restructure work around teams to curb the unexpected. The restructure has made team effectiveness a conspicuous yet significant organizational concern.
This monograph aimed to filter through the thousands of psychological research studies conducted over a period of 50 years that were focused on influencing and understanding the processes relating to team effectiveness, to identify the known and the unknown in an effort to improve the effectiveness of teams and work groups.
The study starts by defining team effectiveness and illustrating the conceptual foundations of its approach. It then turns to review which focuses fundamentally on topics that have reliable theoretical and empirical foundations. It then focuses on affective, behavioral, and cognitive team processes that make team members merge their resources to accomplish task demands thus be effective. The study later turns to interventions that can align group processes, thereby providing tools necessary to improve team effectiveness.
Findings of the research reveal an emerging science related to workgroups and suggest several approaches to improving the effectiveness of a team. The study concludes by summarizing the primary findings and highlighting specific research and policy recommendations for elevating the effectiveness of teams and work groups.
3. Parayitam, S., Olson, B., & Bao, Y. (2010). Task conflict, relationship conflict and agreement‐seeking behavior in Chinese top management teams. International Journal of Conflict Management, 21(1), 94-116. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/10444061011016641
The study was conducted by three researchers from the Charlton College of Business (University of Massachusetts) on agreement seeking behavior, relationship conflict, and task conflict in Chinese top management teams. The purpose of the study was to look into the effects of task conflict on interpersonal conflict as well as agreement seeking behavior. It also focused to establish the role of trust on the impact of agreement seeking behavior alongside interpersonal conflict on the means of handling conflict including third-party interventions, collaboration, and avoidance.
The paper used a structured survey tool to gather data from 252 senior executives from Mainland China. The researchers then used the regression technique to analyze the data to determine how interpersonal trust among executives affects the relationship between conflict and the mechanisms of conflict response. They also examined the link between relationship conflict, agreement seeking behavior and task among these senior executives.
The findings of the study illustrated that interpersonal trust among executives impacts on conflict responses to better the organization. The results also indicated that task conflict among top management groups is negatively linked to agreement-seeking behavior but positively linked to relationship conflict. Data from the study concurs that intra-group trust affects the relationship between collaborating responses and agreement-seeking behavior such that low‐trusting teams will have lesser collaboration than high‐trust groups. The result also agrees that intra‐group trust affects the link between third-party responses and agreement‐seeking behavior such that low‐trusting teams will have lesser third‐party responses than high‐trust groups and vice versa.The paper suggests that there’s need for administrators to concentrate on interpersonal trust while dealing with the implications of relationship and task conflict.
The study provides crucial insights into top management group literature but has its fair share of weaknesses. The major limitation is that self-report measures may contain bits of inherent social desirability bias. All in all, the study significantly contributes to both practicing managers and strategic management literature. Also, despite the fact that the study was conducted on Chinese executives, the findings of the study (that agreement-seeking behavior and interpersonal conflict are affected by task conflict) greatly contribute to strategic decision-making literature.
4. Stone, J., & Kwan, V. (2016). How group processes influence, maintain, and overcome health disparities. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 19(4), 411-414. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1368430216642612
The paper presents new theory and research on how group processes impact, maintain, and overpower health disparities. The researchers present eight papers that illustrate the causes as well as consequences of health disparities from subjects including disadvantaged and stigmatized groups as well as health care providers interacting with patients. Few papers describe interventions and other factors with the potential to lessen differences in health and well-being. The research aims to inspire other researchers to consider how their work on intergroup relations and group processes can develop solutions and help mitigate disparities in health outcomes for individuals that are disadvantaged.
5. Dreu, C., & Weingart, L. (2003). Task Versus Relationship Conflict, Team Performance, and Team Member Satisfaction: A Meta-Analysis. Web.mit.edu. Retrieved 27 March 2018, from http://web.mit.edu/curhan/www/docs/Articles/15341_Readings/Negotiation_and_Conflict_Management/De_Dreu_Weingart_Task-conflict_Meta-analysis.pdf
Teamwork is prevalent in organizations worldwide, yet the challenges of working in groups and teams still prevail. One of the biggest challenges is conflict that often stems from the tension among team members due to perceived or real differences. Conflict in groups or teams is often concerned with task and relationship issues since members of a team contribute to it through task inputs and social inputs.
The paper used meta-analysis to conduct a quantitative review of team conflict literature in order to investigate the extant contrasting perspectives on the link between relationship conflict, team member satisfaction, task conflict, and team performance. Team conflict literature was very instrumental in the study. The researchers included satisfaction as a dependent variable to establish whether conflict impacts on team performance or satisfaction.
The results of the study aligned with past theories indicating both strong and negative correlations between team member satisfaction, relationship conflict, and team performance. However, the results differ from what has been popularly indicated textbooks and academic research by revealing a strong and negative (rather than an expected positive) correlations between team member satisfaction, task conflict, and team performance. As expected, conflict indicated a stronger negative association with team performance in highly complex tasks such as projects and decision making than in less complex tasks such as production. Lastly, task conflict and relationship conflict were weakly (rather than perceived strongly) correlated whereas team performance and task conflict were less negatively related.
The paper concluded that the results were clear about the correlation between relationship conflict and task conflict on one hand and team performance on the other. Both types of conflict revealed a negative yet moderate correlation with team performance. Yet there were no differences detected between the two forms of conflict. Researchers caution that findings should not be considered as conclusive evidence that suggests no positive or functional side to conflict. Instead, they recommend that future research should emphasize on how members of a team manage their relationship conflicts as well as tasks. New research should also focus on detecting positive implications of conflict which usually occur in specific circumstances. Most importantly, the general assumption that team performance is improved by task conflict and destroyed by relationship conflict should be thwarted.
6. Lee, I., Pratto, F., & Johnson, B. (2011). Intergroup consensus/disagreement in support of group-based hierarchy: An examination of socio-structural and psycho-cultural factors. Psychological Bulletin, 137(6), 1029-1064. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0025410
The most common form of a stable society is believed to be group-based hierarchies. However, history has continuously indicated that all movements started by oppressed groups to fight dominant groups takes place in communities that allowed and legitimized certain social groups to become superior due to potent cultural ideologies. Such a historical record makes it hard for people to embrace group-based hierarchies or comprehend what social conditions could lead to its rejection. Despite an extensive empirical research and formation of social theories on the topic, social sciences still lack an answer as to when individuals agree or disagree with people in powerful groups thus approve or reject group-based hierarchy. The solutions to these challenges are crucial to the dynamics and psychology of social justice, equality, and intergroup relations among other topics.
The paper conducted meta-analysis research to investigate the extent to which psycho-cultural, as well as socio-structural characteristics of the society, align with how much ethnic groups and gender differ in their support of group-based hierarchies. Women opposed group-based hierarchy to a large extent than men. Lower power ethnic groups also firmly opposed group-based hierarchy more than higher-power racial group members. As expected according to social dominance theory, gender differences were considerable, less variable, and larger from one sample to another than differences between racial groups.
Racial group members and the subordinate gender greatly differed with dominants in their opinion on group-based hierarchy in societies that enjoyed more gender equality and those that can be regarded as more modern and liberal. The link between racial groups and gender are discussed, and implications for relative deprivation theory, social identity theory, social dominance theory, realistic group conflict theory, system justification theory, social role theory and biosocial theory are developed.
7. Horne, C. (2008). Norm Enforcement in Heterogeneous Groups. Rationality And Society, 20(2), 147-172. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1043463108089543
Research indicates that two factors are crucial for norm enforcement in homogeneous groups. These are; the implications of a group member’s behavior for other members and the interdependence of those group members. Horne extends extant theory to make relevant predictions about norm enforcement. She uses experimental methods to test predictions for both heterogeneous and homogeneous groups. The findings illustrate that the two causal factors in homogeneous groups interact to affect enforcement as well as compliance with social norms. The factors lead isolated minorities to administer majority norms but not follow them in heterogenous groups. They also prompt majorities to follow norms but not impose them.
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