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Are The Ambitions For Group Dynamics: Theory, Research And Practice Being Fulfilled?

Belbin’s Team Roles Theory and Group Dynamics

My team members and I recently went out on a team building program. We were able to share personal experiences about life as students and also carried out team building activities. These activities helped us as team members to bring out our strengths and weaknesses in the group.  Using the Belbin’s Team Roles Theory, I was able to identify the attributes of all 4 team members. It emerged that am a team worker & resource investigator. Jason too has the attributes of a team worker and resource investigator. Rebecca is a good coordinator and implementer while Gurpeet possesses the attributes of a completer finisher. These different qualities as well as cultural differences played out in the group dynamics.  


The team building activity helped me to understand how the different attributes strengths, and talents of the group members could be harnessed to achieve the objectives set out by the team. According to the Belbin’s Team Roles Theory the condition that must be met for a tem to perform at its best is that each of the members must have their responsibilities clear cut (Twardochleb, 201). This is for the simple reason that each member has a specific role and possesses a unique set of strengths skills and abilities that will be necessary in handling a specific area of the group task at hand. As a team worker in our group my role would be equated to that of a negotiator. This manifested in the manner in which I rose to the occasion to level things during moments when conversations in the group were turning out to be argumentative or confrontational. According to the Belbin’s Team Roles theory such a person in the group must have the following traits; they must be diplomatic, persuasive and flexible (Monroe, 2016, p. 778). These are attributes that are necessary for one to foster team cohesion and ensure that the team is working together efficiently and effectively. Belbin submits that while the role of team worker is very essential to the success of a group, individuals with this character also have a number of shortcomings. Most of the time team workers tend to shy from taking up committed positions in the group and remain indecisive (Zanlungo et al., 2017). As much as this is perceivably a limitation or weakness, my experience is that it is also a strategy necessary if one is to play the role of a good negotiator in the group. Why do I say so? It is untenable for the negotiator of the group to adopt a firm stance since he or she is the one who is supposed to quell tensions and cool tempers in the face of difficulties.

Strengths Quest Talent Theory and Group Dynamics

Another necessary attribute that the team building exercise helped to bring out in me is that if a resource investigator. The Belbin’s Team Roles Theory holds that resource investigators are usually extroverted individuals. As such most of the team members tend to be receptive to their ideas. On reflection, it appears that the roles of a team worker and that of a resource investigator are somewhat complementary. Why do I hold this view? Belbin’s Team Roles Theory stipulates that resource investigators more often than not negotiate for opportunities and resources on behalf of the group. (Carson et al., 2016) At the same time the role of the team worker in a group is largely that of a negotiator. I hold that the reason why my role in the team was valuable is owed to the fact that I carry a blend of the two attributes. On the downside the Belbin’s Team Roles Theory supposes that resource investigators tend to have a tendency of being optimistic. This is strength that if not checked, a resource investigator can be overly optimistic at the expense of being realistic. Also, individuals with this attribute tend to lose enthusiasm quite fast. This too needs to be checked if one is to be an effective team member.


Using the Strength Quest Talent Guide, team members I was able to find out which of the theme areas in which I am talented. Similarly I was able to identify the traits of weakness associated with each of the theme areas identified. These five theme areas stood out for me:

Adaptability- As contained in the Strength Quest Talent Theory, individuals who are talented in this theme area have a tendency of going with the flow. They take the position that is generally accepted by the majority of the group members (Gupta, 2015). The downside associated with this kind of attribute is that such individuals tend to live in the moment and only wake up to the reality much later. An adaptable individual is likely to be more valuable in a group if they combine this talent theme (adaptability) with another called ‘command’. People who are talented with the command strength are able to make critical decisions and influence the directions things take in the group.

Arranger- What are the traits of people who are gifted in this theme? They have enormous ability to organize. To complement this, they also possess the quality of flexibility. This means that in the group, I am the kind of person who figures out how to fit all the pieces and resources together in a manner that ensures productivity is enhanced.

Learning Preference Assessment in Appreciating Group Dynamics

Consistency- Attributes in this theme area will manifest in the individual’s relationships with the rest of the group members. These types of people tend to aspire to treat everyone equally. They are sensitive to rules that they set for themselves and strictly adhere to them. They are able to balance everyone’s interests in the team.

Empathy- an individual who has talent strengths in the theme area of empathy is endowed with the ability of being sensitive of the plight of the members of the group. That means I am the kind of person that is able to imagine themselves in the position of others and empathize with them. I opine that this quality is essential to taking care of the emotional needs of the members of the group.


Deliberative-to be deliberative is quite a vital attribute to group dynamics. Persons possessing talent strengths in this area are generally very cautious and take incredible amount of care before making decisions. Such individuals always anticipate obstacles and are keen to avoid them. As such they love to consult thoroughly before making decisions.

So what can be learnt from the group dynamics? According to the Belbin’s Team Roles Theory participating in a group learning process helps the individual to put to use their strengths (Smith et al., 2012, p. 588). In a group situation every individual gets to identify the specific role that they can play. At the same time one is able to realize their weaknesses, shortcomings and limitations. What is the role of Learning Preference Assessment (LPA) in appreciating group dynamics?  LPA also known as Self-Directed Learning Readiness is where individuals take charge of the learning process, with or without the input of others (Williams, & Brown, 2013). They decide their own learning goals design their own learning strategies as well as methods of evaluating learning outcomes. Self-Directed Learning Readiness or LPA is assumed to exist in all individuals to a certain degree. Even so, there are environments that can stimulate the learning process. One such environment is provided through group dynamics. This is especially so because in a group one is able to learn from the strengths of the other members of the group (Alberola et al., 2016, p. 1104). This way the group members are able to influence each other to become better people through their interactions.

Conclusion

Working in a group helped me to realize the strengths that had been hidden in me for a long time. The opportunities presented in a group dynamics helped me to identify my areas of weakness as well. A group situation teaches one to be a team player since one has to put their skills, knowledge and abilities into practice in a manner that complements the activities of the rest of the group. The nature of the group in itself helped me to appreciate the unique abilities that each group member possesses and how to harness them in order to achieve the goals of the group. 

References

Alberola, J. M., del Val, E., Sanchez-Anguix, V., Palomares, A., & Dolores Teruel, M. (2016). An artificial intelligence tool for heterogeneous team formation in the classroom. Knowledge-Based Systems, 1011-14. doi:10.1016/j.knosys.2016.02.010

Carson, A. D., Evans, K., Gitin, E., & Eads, J. (2011). Mapping StrengthsQuest Themes to Holland’s Vocational Personality Types. Journal Of Career Assessment, 19(2), 197-211. doi:10.1177/1069072710385653

Gupta, A. (2015). To Analysis the Role of Group Dynamics in Organization. International Journal Of Multidisciplinary Approach & Studies, 2(3), 170-175

Hoban, J., Lawson, S. R., Mazmanian, P. E., Best, A. M., & Seibel, H. R. (2011). The Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale: a factor analysis study. Medical Education, 39(4), 370-379. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2929.2005.02140.x

Monroe, K. S. (2016). The relationship between assessment methods and self-directed learning readiness in medical education. International Journal Of Medical Education, 775-80. doi:10.5116/ijme.56bd.b282

Smith, G. S. (2016). Quantifying the Risk of Different Types of Perinatal Death in Relation to Gestational Age: Researchers at Risk of Causing Confusion. Paediatric & Perinatal Epidemiology, 30(1), 18-19. doi:10.1111/ppe.12259

Smith, M., Polglase, G., & Parry, C. (2012). Construction of Student Groups Using Belbin: Supporting Group Work in Environmental Management. Journal Of Geography In Higher Education, 36(4), 585-601. doi:10.1080/03098265.2012.692156

Theobald, E. J., Eddy, S. L., Grunspan, D. Z., Wiggins, B. L., & Crowe, A. J. (2017). Student perception of group dynamics predicts individual performance: Comfort and equity matter. Plos ONE, 12(7), 1-16. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0181336

Twardochleb, M. (2017). Optimal selection of team members according to Belbin's theory. Scientific Journals Of The Maritime University Of Szczecin, Zeszyty Naukowe Akademii Morskiej W Szczecinie, 123(51), 109-115. doi:10.17402/238

Williams, B., & Brown, T. (2013). A confirmatory factor analysis of the Self- Directed Learning Readiness Scale. Nursing & Health Sciences, 15(4), 430-436. doi:10.1111/nhs.12046

Yun, L., TaeHyuk Keum, B., Chong, E. K., Yeung, J. G., & Kivlighan Jr., D. M. (2017). Are the Ambitions for Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice Being Fulfilled? A Social Network Analysis of Citations of Journals Publishing Group Research. Group Dynamics, 21(3), 178-185. doi:10.1037/gdn0000070

Zanlungo, F., Yücel, Z., Brš?i?, D., Kanda, T., & Hagita, N. (2017). Intrinsic group behaviour: Dependence of pedestrian dyad dynamics on principal social and personal features. Plos ONE, 12(11), 1-26. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0187253

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