Group Cohesiveness

by • 16/10/2011 • Chapter 16: GroupComments (0)773

Q.2. What is group cohesiveness? Also describe the factors influencing cohesiveness.


Group Cohesiveness

The term cohesiveness implies solidarity. Group cohesiveness may be characterized by the situation in which all members of the group work together to achieve a common goal or where every one takes responsibility to work for the group goals. Groups cohesiveness may be described as the force, which keeps the members of the group together. The main aim of the groups is to satisfy its members needs. The more needs are satisfies, the more attractive it becomes for the members of the group. Cohesion is essential not only for the existence of the group but also for the achievement of the group’s objective. If group cohesion is high, the interaction between members will high.
Cohesiveness has a direct bearing on group behavior. The greater the group cohesiveness, the greater will be its influence on the member’s behavior. A cohesive group is able to act as one body to achieve its goals. In a cohesiveness group, group members are apt to conform to group norms. Conformity to group norms is essential for the effective functioning of the group. Thus, conformity and cohesiveness are interrelated and are reinforcing factors. According to Shaw, members of highly cohesive groups are more energetic in group activities, are less likely to be absent from group meetings and are happy when the group succeeds and sad when it fails, where as members are not dedicated to the group and its purposes their loyalty and support are mediocre or variable.

Factors Influencing Cohesiveness

There are several forces that bring cohesion in the group:

1. Degree of Dependency on the Group

Members join the group because it satisfies certain needs. The more highly dependent a person is on the group for his need satisfaction the greater will be the group attractiveness and consequently greater is its cohesiveness.

2. Size of the Group

Size of the affects interaction among group members in inverse direction and also affects group cohesiveness. The larger the group size, the lesser the cohesiveness, due to problems of interaction among members of the groups, lack of appreciation of each other’s problem. Difficulty arises is achieving the common goals if the group. It is one of the reasons why informal group are smaller in size.

3. Homogeneity and Stable Membership

Groups whose members have diverse interests and different and also affects group cohesiveness. The larger the group size the lesser the cohesiveness due to problems of interaction among members of the group, lack of appreciation of each other’s problems Difficulty arises in achieving the common goals if the group is large. Hence the entire group dynamics revolves round the small group. It is one of the reasons why informal group are smaller in size.

4. Inter and Intra Group Competition

Competition among groups (inter-group) and competition among members of the groups (intro-group) have different effects on group get united and the group sets solidified. The solidarity continues among members of the winning group whereas the losing group gets weekend. Success resulting from inter-group competition increases cohesion further. The member of the losing group, if they have no hope of revival of prestige of the group, gradually leaves the group.

The picture is different when competition is among the members within the group. If the rivalry is healthy, members stand to gain. But, generally, intra-group rivalry among members takes the form of jealousy that results in the weakening to group cohesiveness. There may be three possible causes of intra group competition:

  • When members or sub-groups within the group adopt different methods to accomplish the same goal
  • When there are differences regarding the goal or goals of the group among members
  • When goals of individual members clash with group goals.

5. Outside Pressure

When there is outside pressure or threat to group survival, the group members sink all their differences and join hands together to meet the challenges to the group. Hence, outside pressure or threat is a cementing force and increase group cohesiveness.

6. Customs and Traditions

If members share the same customs and traditions, they become familiar with one another in no time and also they are benefited from one another knowledge and experience. This commonness prevents the entry of any other person who does not follow the same traditions. This develops a feeling among members that they are distinct from others. This increases interpersonal relationships among members.

7. Location

People who work at the same geographical location tend to be close to one another and have numerous opportunities to interact and exchange ideas, resulting in cohesiveness of the group. But groups are not cohesive when their members do not work within the same geographical limits.

Group Cohesiveness and Productivity

Group cohesiveness and productivity do not seem to be related. Highly cohesive groups need not necessarily be highly productive or vice versa. Researches also could not establish any relationship, positive or negative, between these two variables. However it has usually been observed that a cohesive group is more productive than a less cohesive group, the group’s attitude favors the goals of the organization. As the members of the group they follow the guidelines prepared by the group.

If the group supports the organizational goals, the members will tend to produce more. On the other hand, where cohesiveness is high but the group does not favor the organizational goals, productivity of the member’s declines. Where the group norms are not supportive of performance, cohesive groups are less productive. When resistance to organizational changes is greater and where proper leadership is not provided, such groups can affect productivity severely. If management wishes to minimize productivity, it must build cohesiveness, which does not directly influence productivity but only indirectly depending upon the alignment of group goals with the organizational goals.

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