Group dynamics and organizational behavior refer to the various roles played by members of an organization, the ways in which they interact, share common goals and work together. Effective leaders must be aware of how these factors influence workplace relations and contribute toward productivity. By understanding group dynamics in the workplace, managers can place new employees in strategic positions that benefit the organization as a whole.
Leaders of organizations must be aware of group formation processes. This includes recognizing the roles that individuals play within a group, the rules they must follow and the conditions that allow groups to maintain their cohesiveness. Formal roles for members of an organization include titles such as president, director or treasurer. Newly hired workers must be made aware of an organization’s implicit and explicit rules such as appropriate conduct, dress and mannerisms. An essential component of organizational group dynamics includes the level of cooperation that develops between workers.
There are definite patterns of behavior that occur within groups in an organization. According to the Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education, during the first stage of group formation in the workplace, members seek safety and protection; their connection with other workers is superficial. In the second stage, members seek out individuals with similar interests. During the third stage of development, members begin to develop a greater sense of responsibility in their work; they develop a strong work ethic and a sense of autonomy. In their final stages, each member begins to identify with the group as a whole, including a leader or authority figure.
Leaders who understand the different characteristics of group formation within an organization can assist individuals in their transition through the different stages of development. In addition to an authority figure, other members of a group can also participate in the facilitation process. Group leaders and members must develop a conscious effort and awareness of the types of events and activities that take place at different stages of a group’s development. Group leaders and members can offer additional resources, or they can help to reduce any barriers and constraints that interfere during the transition process of group processes.
Effective leaders can easily identify different characteristics and behavior changes in a group. They can recognize individuals who are influential, assertive or possess strong leadership abilities. They often rank participants according to their level of interaction, consent and disagreement, according to the University of Kentucky. Being aware of these factors is especially important when making a decision that requires group input. Understanding group dynamics gives leaders an added advantage and the opportunity to delegate responsibilities to group members on the basis of their organizational roles. Understanding group dynamics also helps leaders identify and prevent dysfunctional group behavior.