Validity and relevanceof research about groups and the Effectiveness of Groups and Individuals

Criticism of research conducted on group dynamics falls into various themes. Some of these are provided by Zaccaro and Horn (2003) in their review of “concerns with leadership theory and research” (p. 771). One of these is that research on group dynamics is more focused on an interpersonal level hence only applicable where group performance involves direct supervisory units . As such, critics argue that research conducted on this basis would be difficult to apply in organizations where the enormity of the entity or the entity’s multinational trait hinders direct interaction between subordinates and their leaders (Zaccaro & Horn, 2003). Secondly, criticism of group dynamics’ research is associated with the view that no single strategy may be effective in different groups due the variance that exists among work environments and situations (Zaccaro & Horn, 2003). As such, a general approach to group research may not provide organizations with solutions to challenges that they specifically face. For specific challenges, an organization would thus need to conduct independent research thus making prior research on group dynamics to be of no assistance.

The criticism of research on group dynamics does not, however, eliminate the need for having groups in entities. For instance, organisations need to have groups to achieve what individual’s cannot achieve within a specified time frame. For groups to be considered effective than individuals, however, the concept of productivity (effectiveness) is what counts. Productivity, in this context, looks at the synergistic relationship rather than a summative effect of working in groups. In a synergy, a group would generate favorable results that surpass the summed-up results of individual members. The overall effect then would be that each individuals contribution to the entity’s performance would be more than what one would have contributed were the work to be performed individually. The effectiveness of groups then is brought about by their organisation into into teams that bear a shared responsibility for overall team’s results (The People Development Practice, 2008). With teams that are well-empowered and motivated teams, organisations can facilitate individual employees’ satisfaction in the work place  and thus improve individual performance and lower employee turnover (Cohen, 2004). In such a way, then, groups (teams) would be more effective than individuals. go to part 5 here.

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