In general terms, a group is said to be in a state of cohesion when its members possess bonds linking them to one another and to the group as a whole. Groups that possess strong unifying forces typically stick together over time whereas groups that lack such bonds between members usually disintegrate.
Advantages of cohesive groups
Firstly, members of cohesive groups tend to communicate with one another in a more positive fashion than non cohesive groups. As a result, members of cohesive groups often report higher levels of satisfaction and lower levels of anxiety and tension than members of non cohesive groups.
Secondly, group cohesion has been linked to enhanced group performance in non laboratory based groups. This bi directional relationship is strongest when the members of a group are committed to the group’s tasks.
Limitations of cohesive groups
Membership in a cohesive group can also prove problematic for members. As cohesion increases, the internal dynamics (e.g., emotional and social processes) of the group intensify. As a result, people in cohesive groups are confronted with powerful pressures to conform to the group’s goals, norms, and decisions. In many instances these pressures to conform are so great that members suffer from groupthink. Individuals who refuse to yield to the ways of the majority are typically met with additional negative consequences, including hostility, exclusion, and scape goating.
... does not yet understand how to incorporate meeting the individual group member's needs into the process of effective team building. ... has been left out of a secret group meeting by virtue of observing a cohesive group simply engaging in an impromptu lunch ... good leadership and team cohesion. An effective team is one that achieves high levels of task performance, member satisfaction, and team ...
Furthermore, group cohesion can trigger distress and mal adaptive behavior in members following changes to the structure of the group (e.g., loss of a member).
The five stage model of group development
Stage 1: Forming
In the Forming stage, personal relations are characterized by dependence. Group members rely on safe, patterned behavior and look to the group leader for guidance and direction. Group members have a desire for acceptance by the group and a need to be known that the group is safe. They set about gathering impressions and data about the similarities and differences among them and forming preferences for future sub grouping. Rules of behavior seem to be to keep things simple and to avoid controversy. Serious topics and feelings are avoided. The major task functions also concern orientation. Members attempt to become oriented to the tasks as well as to one another. To grow from this stage to the next, each member must relinquish the comfort of non threatening topics and risk the possibility of conflict.
Stage 2: Storming
The next stage, called Storming, is characterized by competition and conflict in the personal relations dimension an organization in the task functions dimension. As the group members attempt to organize for the task, conflict inevitably results in their personal relations. Individuals have to bend and mold their feelings, ideas, attitudes, and beliefs to suit the group organization. Because of “fear of exposure” or “fear of failure,” there will be an increased desire for structural clarification and commitment.
Although conflicts may or may not surface as group issues, they do exist. Questions will arise about who is going to be responsible for what, what the rules are, what the reward system is, and what criteria for evaluation are. These reflect conflicts over leadership, structure, power, and authority. There may be wide swings in member’s behavior based on emerging issues of competition and hostilities. Because of the discomfort generated during this stage, some members may remain completely silent while others attempt to dominate. In order to progress to the next stage, group members must move from a “testing and proving” mentality to a problem solving mentality. The most important trait in helping groups to move on to the next stage seems to be the ability to listen.
Team B was a small group of people with interchangeable skills who found themselves responsible for a common purpose and goal. Learning Teams can get more complicated projects done at a more rapid pace than an individual assigned project because decision-making is more effective in a team environment. Our team was some what complex. We were a successful group of people who were cooperating, ...
Stage 3: Norming
In the norming stage, interpersonal relations are characterized by cohesion. Group members are engaged in active acknowledgment of all members’ contributions, community building and maintenance, and solving of group issues. Members are willing to change their preconceived ideas or opinions on the basis of facts presented by other members, and they actively ask questions of one another. Leadership is shared, and cliques dissolve. When members begin to know and identify with one another, the level of trust in their personal relations contributes to the development of group cohesion. It is during this stage of development that people begin to experience a sense of group belonging and a feeling of relief as a result of resolving interpersonal conflicts.
The major task function of stage three is the data flow between group members: They share feelings and ideas, solicit and give feedback to one another, and explore actions related to the task. Creativity is high. If this stage of data flow and cohesion is attained by the group members, their interactions are characterized by openness and sharing of information on both a personal and task level. They feel good about being part of an effective group. The major drawback of the norming stage is that members may begin to fear the inevitable future breakup of the group; they may resist change of any sort.
Stage 4: Performing
The Performing stage is not reached by all groups. If group members are able to evolve to stage four, their capacity, range, and depth of personal relations expand to true interdependence. In this stage, people can work independently, in subgroups, or as a total unit with equal facility. Their roles and authorities dynamically adjust to the changing needs of the group and individuals. Stage four is marked by interdependence in personal relations and problem solving in the realm of task functions. By now, the group should be most productive.
Possess a common social identification Two or more people possessing a common social identification and whose existence as a group is recognized by a third party. The process of becoming part of a group often provokes anxiety. The reconnaissance Process occurs before entering the group. A common motivation underlying this activity is an assessment of the rewards and costs associated with joining ...
Individual members have become self assuring, and the need for group approval is past. Members are both highly task oriented and highly people oriented. There is unity: group identity is complete, group morale is high, and group loyalty is intense. The task function becomes genuine problem solving, leading toward optimal solutions and optimum group development. There is support for experimentation in solving problems and an emphasis on achievement. The overall goal is productivity through problem solving and work.
Stage 5: Adjourning
The final stage, adjourning, involves the termination of task behaviors and disengagement from relationships. A planned conclusion usually includes recognition for participation and achievement and an opportunity for members to say personal goodbyes. Concluding a group can create some apprehension in effect, a minor crisis. The termination of the group is a regressive movement from giving up control to giving up inclusion in the group.