Group Functions

PSYCH-105 Industrial Psychology

Chapter 8: Group Dynamics

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4



Three functions that influence the effectiveness and productivity of groups are task functions, maintenance functions, and self-interest functions.

Task Functions

This is the primary reason for the establishment of a group. To achieve the task, they must have members that fulfil some or all of the following roles: 

a) Initiating: By proposing tasks or goals, defining problems and suggesting procedures for a solution;

b) Information seeking: By requesting facts, seeking relevant information, and asking for suggestions or ideas;

c) Information giving: By offering facts, providing information, stating beliefs, and giving suggestions or ideas;

d) Clarifying ideas: By interpreting and clarifying input, indicating alternatives and giving examples;

e) Bringing closure: By summarizing, restating, and offering solutions;

f) Consensus testing: By checking for agreements and sending up ‘trial balloons’.

Maintenance Behaviour

Each group needs social-emotional support to be effective. Some members of the group will take the lead in providing this support which consists of the following:

a) Encouraging: By showing regard for other members and providing positive response to their contributions;

b) Improving:  Improving group by expressing group feelings, sensing moods and relationships, atmosphere: and sharing feelings;

c) Harmonizing: By reconciling differences and reducing group tension; 

d) Compromising: By admitting errors and looking for alternatives;

e) Gate-keeping: By attempting to keep communications flowing, facilitating the participation of others, and suggesting procedures for sharing discussion;

f) Standard setting: By reminding members of group norms, rules, and roles.

Self-interest Behaviour

This third function displayed by some individuals, members generally takes away from group performance and affects task achievement at the expense of the group. Activities that identify self-interest behaviour are as follows:

a) Dominating and by displaying lack of respect for others, cutting them off, controlling: not listening, and restating other members’ suggestions with a different meaning;

b) Blocking: By stifling a line of thought, and changing the topic either away from the point of view or back to his or her own interest; 

c) Manipulating: By providing self-serving information, or a single point of view designed to achieve a decision that is consistent with their position;

d) Belittling: Through put-downs, sneering at other’s point of view, or making jokes about another member’s contribution;

e) Splitting hairs: By nit-picking, searching for insignificant details that delay a solution, or undermining another person’s point of view.

Author – Dr. Niyati Garg

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