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Group Behavior and its Origins Essay

Group behavior originates from causes that contribute to a group’s effectiveness, for instance, a well-defined structure with defined role, strong cohesiveness, and effective leadership.

Kono & Clegg (1998, p.11) argue that a group behavior might refer to an organization as a whole or to a certain group formed to tackle specific tasks. Groups always interact, compete, or even cooperate with other groups; as a result, a bond or a conflict is created. Nevertheless, people join groups for different reasons such for security purposes, whereby an individual feels stronger and protected while in a group.

Status can attract one to join a group, whereby, a certain group is recognized and respected by others. In addition, self-esteem draws individuals to a group, as it provides a sense of self worth to its members. Power is also always associated with a group and rarely achieved individually. Achievement is also an added advantage of being in a group, as some tasks require a pool of talents to be completed (Thenmozhi, N.d).

Groups are part of an organization, hence understanding a group behavior is very important (Zeit, Tan, & Zeit, 2009, p.33). In organizations, people join groups voluntarily, due to shared work practices, beliefs, interest, and knowledge. Therefore, being a member of a certain group influences an individual’s work traits, behavior, and quality of work.

In addition, groups impose expectations and rules on their members (Rana, N.d). Importantly, an employee or group behavior and attitude can determine the success or failure of an organization; when an organization is comprised of more than one person, it is definitely a group.

Therefore, such groups embrace their members, and when an issue affects one of them, it definitely affects the whole organization. Moreover, groups share a common goal, while group formation is influenced by some dynamics, for instance balance theory, which entails individual who have the same goals and objectives.

Groups may be informal and formal; whereby, formal groups are formed within the organization with an aim of accomplishing some tasks. Formal groups include command group, which is permanent in nature, where members report to one manager.

Task groups are formed with an aim of accomplishing certain tasks and are temporary, such that, when the task is accomplished, they are dissolved. Informal groups are formed by employees, and they may include friendship and interest groups mainly for social purposes (Griffin & Moorhead, 2011, p.241).

However, working in a group may hinder an individual’s expertise, since many talents are involved. In addition, decision-making process takes a long time, since ideas from all members have to be gathered (Friday, 2003, p.84).

Groups determine members’ behaviors due to their norms, culture, and rules. A group has five stages of development, with formation stage being the initial stage. The second stage is the storming stage that involves inter-group conflicts in a group. The third stage is norming involving the development of close relationship within the group, hence decision-making may require compromise.

Fourth stage is performing stage, which involves functions conducted within a group, whereby, members show how effectively they can achieve positive results together. Adjourning stage is the final stage of the group development. Here, termination and disengagement from social behaviors is evident (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2007 p270; MacKenzie, 1997 p43).

An effective team gives quality results; therefore, the stages of group development are vital for any group, as they aid the group to grow. Group development is related to a toddler, especially in the first stage whereby, group members are unsure of the structure (Taylor, 2003).

Group Behavior Theoretical Concept

According to Witter & Davis (1996, p.254), being part of a group means that an individual is under the influence of other team members. The question lies as to whether an individual should trust the information given of the other group members, or on their expectations on an individual’s behavior even when he has no direct information form the group members. Here are some theories that are related to group behavior:

Reference group theory

According to Dawson & Chatman (2001), reference group theory provides a way that interprets both normative and cognitive aspects within a group. This theory refers to any group that influences an individual’s behavior, and it encompasses two dimensions; normative reference group behavior and comparative reference group behavior.

This is in relation to what each group teaches individuals, either to be comparative or be normative aspect. In addition, an individual’s perception on what she perceives that others think of her affects an individual’s personality; therefore, a group made up of different people can affect an individual’s attitude, norms, and behavior.

This theory ascertains that members of a particular group can be sensitive to issues that they view important. Therefore, individuals are influenced by their groups, since they view them important. They also use their groups as a guide of their behavior.

Groups are also used by their members as a comparison tool between them and others; certainly, individuals use groups as a point of reference to power. It is however evident that the reference group theory emphasizes on how a group has power over an individual’s perception on oneself.

Resource theory

According to Alexander (2002, p31), resource theory is a group behavior theory, which explains that the better a group is equipped, the more effective it is. Resources here refer to employees, experience, and finances; nevertheless, it is common for groups to face certain challenges in their operations. However, for a group to be successful, cooperation and effective leadership must be evident.

Bornewasser & Bober (1987, p.268) further explain that when individuals belonging to a group interact both individually and collectively with another group, an inter-group behavior is formed. Inter-group interaction is common among several groups.

White, Hogg & Terry (2002, p.92) argue that, attitudes and norms are not independent, thus influence behavior. In addition, norms are likely to influence attitude and behavior consistency in a group.

Social identity theory

Individuals’ behaviors are mostly influenced by the group’s norms and attitudes; therefore, an individual’s behavior and teamwork skills are dependent on the social context. This theory entails that individuals can develop a personal self-principle, which involves unique information about themselves, and a collective principle that includes information about their member groups.

Social identity entails the extent to which an individual feels committed to his/her group; therefore, social identities are feelings, behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs that enable an individual to differentiate his group from other groups.

Hence, social identities within a group foster certainty and boost self-esteem for the members. In modern settings and organizations, an individual is able to relate to an organization they belong to; therefore, their perception and behavior is automatically affected.

Social identities arise from the similarities among group members. In addition, shared perspectives improve the wellbeing of group members, and hence, members feel supported and they can cope with any difficult situation. Therefore, it is important for individuals to identify themselves with their groups to avoid uncertainties, which may attract them to other rival groups.

This theory emphasis on trust among members of the same group, in that, trust is important among group members, as it enhances a sense of belonging and cooperation. It is rather evident that groups provide a sense of power and belonging (Moss, 2008; Witte & Davis, 1996, p.227).

Self-categorization theory

Self-categorization theory is involved in the group behavior; self-categorization of one self is a transformation of an individual in relation to the group phenomena, since the behavior of an individual is in line with the group (Terry & Hogg, 2000, p.123). This theory notes that the occurrence of self-conception is higher; indeed, self-concept involves comparison of an individual to others.

This theory helps to understand the conditions under which an individual’s behavior is consistent with his attitudes; indeed, sometimes similarities in a group can determine self-categorization. Nevertheless, under some circumstances, individuals may be unwilling to self-categorize themselves with a certain group.

Convergence theory

Groups are part of social life of individuals; they could be formal or informal and an organization can be referred to as a group. Nevertheless, the groups we belong to influence our behaviors as we continue to adapt to the culture and norms of the group. In addition, members of a certain group identify with the group and behave differently from non-members, due to the nature of the group (Charness, Rigotti & Rustichini, 2005, p.1).

Convergence theory assumes that individuals join groups to achieve satisfaction, and once members, their personal characteristics are influenced by the group. The theory assumes that individuals with similar needs and values tend to converge and form a group (Forsyth, 2009 p516).

Advantages of an Organization in Relation to Group Behavior

Groups are relevant especially in completion of tasks, since a pool of talents is involved, responsibilities are shared, and a task may be completed faster than expected. However, when it comes to decision making, a longer time is taken, as each individual’s contribution is considered.

However, solving problems in a group can be effective, where problems are tackled effectively, though the process takes a longer time than expected. There lies advantages when a variety of ideas are included in solving a problem; they include decrease in biasness, high level of risk taking, improvement in communication, and better solutions due to a variety of ideas.

Working as a group may prove to be competitive whereby, each member wants to be recognized, and hence sabotage may be evident in such a scenario. According to Nelson & Quick (2010, p.345), groups bring about knowledge and experience when it comes to problem solving, and group decision making. Nevertheless, a group’s behavior and performance affects its members.

Effective leadership is vital in a team, as it determines an organization destination. Since teamwork involves cooperation, a group or a team is formed to complete a certain task; therefore, teams can be regarded as groups formed with a specific aim, which may be either work related or social interest.

Therefore, a group behavior affects the effectiveness of task performed, hence, in a group, motivation of members is necessary to enhance commitment and effectiveness. According to Sniezek & Quick (2007), groups consist of people with similar goals and identity, as these factors distinguish one group from another.

Nevertheless, individuals join groups for different reasons. However, a member of a group is highly influenced by the leader of that group; cohesion is evident when members are pleased with each other’s contributions.

Members of a group need to be motivated; for instance, in an organization, motivation plays a huge role in group’s behavior. When workers are motivated, they attend to tasks willingly other than being forced to.

According to Breaux (2008), there is a relationship between behavior and groups; hence, an individual’s motivation can have great significance on a group. This is evident when an individual increases his/her performance because of motivation, thus benefiting a group or an organization, via higher returns.


Group behavior involves a situation where individuals interact in either small or large groups, who have the same goal. An organization can be classified as a group, as it consists of individual who work towards achieving similar goals. They are connected by the same culture and norms. Groups also affect an individual’s behavior, since an individual adapts to the culture and norms of an organization.

Therefore, in such a setting, a leader is required who must convey effective leadership; indeed, effective leadership involves considering the needs of employees. Motivation is the key factor in a group, as it affects an individual’s behavior. When employees are motivated, their performance level increases and in return, an organization benefits from the high returns.


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