Definition of Group
Stephen P. Robins: “two or more individuals, interacting
and interdependent, who have come together to
achieve particular objectives.”
G. C. Homans: “any number of people who share goals,
often communicate with each other over a period of
time, and are few enough so that each individual may
communicate with all the others, person-to-person.”
In the modern days of IT, pple need not physically come
together, but they communicate and interact with each
other. i.e., virtually coming together.
They strive for a common goal, which
becomes a bondage.
The members of the groups share their skills
and other resources and achieve their goals
through the integrated effort.
Thus, we can say that the group is a
‘combination of two or more pple with a
purpose of achieving their common and
shared goals through their integrated effort.’
Features/Characteristics of a Group
1. Combination of two or more individuals.
2. Individuals are motivated to come closer physically, and/
or virtually for interaction.
3. They come closer to achieve their common and shared
4. Grp members achieve their common goals through
5. Perceive the group as a unified unit and stable structure.
6. Members contribute different inputs (skills, kn, effort, etc)
towards achievement of grp goals.
7. Reach agreement and disagreement through various
forms of interaction.
Need/Reasons for Formation of Group
Formation of grps is necessary as humans are basically social beings.
Most pple prefer to live and work in grps.
Some reasons cld be:
2. Empowerment through sharing of resources: exchange of
skills, kn, talents, values, etc.
3. Becoming a leader: pple with leadership skills can become leaders
to form the grps, lead the grps.
4. Synergy: outcome of the grp effort is greater than the sum of the
individual contributions of the group.
5. Goal attainment
7. Affiliation Needs
Types of groups
Different pple join grps with various purposes or due to the forces
of different factors.
– Hence different types of grps are formed
Formal Group: when two or more individuals join together as a
grp due to the official job structure and relationship in a org. ex:
grp of production managers, mtrls mngr, qlty control mngr,etc.
Informal Group: when two or more individuals join together as a
grp in order to satisfy their social needs but not due to official job
structure and org.l requirements. These are formed out of the
common interests, aptitudes, values, opinions, ideas and
characteristics of the pple. Ex: qlty circles.
Command Group: a grp of the superior and his/her subordinates.
i.e., it is a grp of individual employees and their manager to whom
they report. Ex: finance mngr and asst. finance mngrs.
Task Group: pple working together in order to accomplish a
Friendship Groups: pple with common characteristics like hard
working, work avoiding, smart working, status seeking, family
orientation, risk taking, etc.
Primary Groups: individuals with a feeling of comradeship, loyalty
and a commonsense of values form into a group. Ex: grp of family
members such as father, mother, brother and sister.
Coalitions: individuals from different grps form into an ad hoc
group in order to achieve a specific task or goals. Here the
individuals have dual membership, i.e., one in the original grp and
another in the coalition.
- the coalition gets dissolved once the goal is attained.
Stages of Group Formation
- characterised by uncertainty and confusion.
-members observe others, various events and issues and decide what type
of behaviour is acceptable.
- thus members ‘test the waters’ during this stage and decide within
themselves as part of a group.
- characterised by conflict and confrontation among the group members.
- members accept the group, but there would be conflict over the
- members know the hierarchy and chain of command when the leader
within the group is determined.
- this stage is complete when the members are clear about the leader and the
-members settle, start cooperating and collaborating with each
other, develop close relationship among themselves, exhibit
cohesiveness and prefer to identify themselves with the group.
- members formulate common goals and expectations of the group.
-group members exert all their energies towards functioning
and performing the tasks in order to attain the group goals.
- attention is directed toward wrapping up activities.
- the group prepares for its disbandment.
but, this may cause worry to some due to loss of friendship and
Groups @ the Work Place
• Work place is more prominent for the
formation and development of groups.
• Groups are formed both officially (formal
• unofficially (informal groups)at the work
A formal grp is one that is deliberately created to
perform a specific task.
-mgmt formulates the grps.
- These are relatively permanent grps.
- However, they get changed whenever there are
changes in org structure, job structure, job design, etc.
- A hierarchy of authority exists with specified
members, rules and regulations.
- Rules, regulations, incentives and sanctions guide the
behaviour of grp.
Two types of formal groups
1. Command/ Standing Task group:
a permanently specified in the org.l structure and consists of a
supervisor who exercises formal authority over subordinates.
2. Task Group:
a temporary formal group, is created to solve specific pblms.
- the grp comprises emp.es who work together to complete a
particular task or project, but who do not necessarily report to the same
- the emp.es belong to different depts.
- they stay together till the task is complete and once the work is
completed they disband and return to their respective task grps.
grps are formed out of social interaction, social
needs, attitudes, likes and
dislikes, values, opinions, personality traits and
other psychological factors.
It is outside the officially prescribed
relationships, line of authority and
responsibilities of the org.
These grps are formed within the structure of the
org, but by the members themselves.
They are important in the org.s from the point of
view of their members and they have a great
utility to the org.
Theories of Group Formation
Propinquity theory: individuals affiliate with one another becz of spatial or geographical proximity. ex: in the org, emp.es working in the same area would more
probably form into groups than those who are not physically located together.
Homan’s theory: George C. Homans
“the more activities persons share , the more numerous will be their
interactions and the stronger will be their shared activities and sentiments; and
the more sentiments persons have for one another, the more will be shared
activities and interactions.”
it is based on three concepts: activities, interactions and sentiments which
are directly related to each other.
the members share activities and interact with one another not just becz of
physical proximity, but also to accomplish grp goals.
the key element is interaction becz which they develop common sentiments
for one another.
3. Balance Theory: Theodore Newcomb
“persons are attracted to one another on the basis of
similar attitudes towards commonly relevant objects and
goals. Once a relationship is formed, it strive to maintain a
systematical balance b/w the attraction and the common
attitudes. If an imbalance occurs, attempts are made to
restore the balance. If the balance cannot be restored, the
both propinquity and interaction play a role in the
there must be a balance in the relationship b/w the
grp members for the grp to be formed and for its survival.
4. Exchange Theory:
based on reward-cost outcomes of interaction b/w
to be attracted towards a grp, a person thinks in terms
of what he will get in exchange of interaction with the grp
a minimum +ve level (reward > cost) of an outcome
must exist in order for attraction or affiliation to take place.
rewards gratify needs and costs incur
anxiety, frustrations, embarrassment, etc.
propinquity, interaction and balance theory all have
roles in the exchange theory.