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As an introduction to the paper, explain in your own words what you understand by the term “group dynamics”. Also discuss what you understand to be the role of a group leader in the management of group dynamics.

Think of a small group (5-15 members) experience you have had or are currently having in your personal or professional life. It can be a group you belong(ed) to in your place of worship; at your place of work; as part of a school project; or as part of your personal
interests like a music or outdoor adventure group.
(1) Briefly introduce the group – context of its existence; its type and size; its membership composition; the duration of its existence (so far); and the frequency of meetings. 

(2) Employ the key concepts you have learnt about the four dimensions of group dynamics to discuss both the healthy as well as the less healthy aspects of the dynamics of this group. Illustrate using examples where applicable. 
(3) Suggest some things the group leader could have done (could currently do) to enhance the group dynamics in this group. 

Comment on the effectiveness of the group leader in applying the following skills when leading the group:
(a) Involving group members
(b) Attending and expressive skills
(c) Cueing, blocking and guiding members’ communications Illustrate using examples where applicable. 

Four Dimensions of Group Dynamics

In order to examine how group dynamics plays an important role in the success of a group, I will consider my college football team. In this paper, I will explain how group dynamics affects the performance of a group. In the first part of report, it has been explained that how I form this team, about team purpose, its composition, and the existence of the team.  

In the second part of this report, I will explain about the four dimensions of a group dynamics, which will, focuses on interaction and communication pattern, group cohesion, social integration and influence, and group culture. In the third part of this report, I include about the role of a leader in a team and how leadership skills helps to short out problems of a group. It also includes the way it drives others group member towards the vision of the organisation by establishing a good relationship with each other.

The role of society and groups in the life of human beings is an essential thing, which generally people underestimate. People work in a group in many areas of their life such as in family, work, school/college, sports, hobbies. Every people-joining group in their life is a reality. Group Dynamics refers to dealing with the characters, attitudes, and behavioural pattern of a group. Group dynamics helps to understand the causes of group formation, about its structure, and the processes that help in the functioning of the group (Harmeling, Palmatier, Fang, & Wang, 2017).

The role of a leader in a group helps in proper functioning of the group processes thus the objective of the group formation can easily be achieved. A leader is taking a closer look to evaluate and examine the group dynamics to fix and inspect an individual’s accountability towards the group objective. A leader must interact with other group people, and break down those barriers, which are blocking group progress (Bolden, 2016).

In order to investigate how group dynamics play an important role in the success of a group, I will consider my college football team where there were 13 members part of the game and remaining two were working as a coach and physiotherapist of the team. This was a formal group, which was led by me, and I was the captain of that team. I was dealing with some people who belong to different places and speak different languages. Some people have their own style of thinking and they were cool and calm, while few people were very aggressive in nature and short-tempered. However, the major goal of the group was to win the annual tournament of inter-college football competition that was played every year between some local colleges. The Team was formed to win the tournament and it was decided that we will practice in the evening of everyday 4pm-6.30pm and after that, we will involve in a meeting of 30 minutes. In those meetings, the role of every individual was discussed and strategy was formulated.

The Role of a Leader in a Group

As a leader, I believe that the team should have a common vision and every person in a group should have clear and definite goals, which enables the group to achieve this vision. Every member of a group should interact and communicate with each other about their understanding of the group strategy and tactics to achieve the team goals (Beauchamp & Eys, 2014). Every member of a team should follow a great inner discipline to understand the group requirements and its goals. It means every person of the group should ensure that they will act professionally together and there should be cohesiveness in the group efforts (Bruner, Eys, Wilson, & Côté, 2014). In order to achieve group objective I ensured as a team leader that group should work on following four dimensions of group dynamics:

Communication and interaction pattern

Proper communication and interaction pattern is the key to group success. Interactive and cooperative groups are those groups, which rely on proper communication and cooperation in order to complete the group work. In a football team, it is essential to be clear and interactive about the strategies and plans to others and focusing on what opponents have planned in the same scenario of the game (Grand, Braun, Kuljanin, Kozlowski, & Chao, 2016). In our team as a leader I insured to all players of the team that they needed to work together to perform their best in the first game, that helps them to boost their confidence for the next matches.

Group Cohesion

To create a good team environment it is responsibility of players and leader of the team to focus on group cohesiveness through communicating effectively with each individuals of the group, ensuring everyone surely knows their roles, keep changes in a team at a minimum, and encouraging the team members by setting individual and group targets (Filho, Tenenbaum, & Yang, 2015). The level of cohesiveness among team members determines the level of performance. Strong cohesiveness among team members helps the group towards a high level of performance because it limits the distractions in groups. As a result of this, the group cooperation is automatically enhanced that leads to the better work environment and work together (Klonek, Quera, Burba, & Kauffeld, 2016). My team members even they belong to different culture, place, and having different nature focuses on building a good relationship by enjoying the party together, talk together, and joking with each other that helps group members to maintain strong group cohesiveness.

Investigating Group Dynamics in a College Football Team

Social integration and influence

Every member of a team belongs to a society and having the social influence of the same society on that player. Social loafing is the cause that majorly influences the group performance by creating conflicts among team members as the group member not trying to identify by other team members in the group, which will lead to anger among group members towards that player. Thus, it is essential for every player to connect with other culture and society, thus they can avoid misunderstanding and team conflicts, which arises because of social differences (Leo, González-Ponce, Sánchez-Miguel, varsson, & García-Calvo, 2015). Thus, it is essential for every member of the team to interact with each other and know about their culture and living style. For example in my football team, a player who was not trying to communicate with another player because they were sometimes argued with each other on their individual performance and create conflicts. This leads to the lack in his performance during the match when they did not talk in practice sessions.

Group Culture

A culture is an expression of a team’s values, attitudes, and beliefs about their goals and objective of the entire group. The group culture determines whether the team focuses on fun or mastery, or giving strong competition to its opponents in the field or mixture of all. My team consist of various players who belong to different culture and place and all the people having different nature and behaviour within the field and off the field (McLaren & Spink, 2018). It was totally a multicultural team where people from different places and having different living style working together to achieve the common goals of the team. For example as a leader, I focused on open discussion with team members to ensure build a healthy group culture, which is respected by all. This open discussion with team members helps the team members to identify their values, attitudes, and beliefs that are necessary elements and serve as a foundation of group culture.

A good leader who enables the group to work effectively will definitely get a high standard of performance from their groups, as they will highly be motivated by the team leader towards the organisational performance. As a team leader of the team, I focused on some fundamentals of group dynamics, which are as follows:

  1. Set a clear and specific goal for the groups and define personal goals for each member of the team in order to achieve group objectives.
  2. Allow every member of the team to communicate freely with each other and with the coach and captain of the team as well. This removes the fear of players into the communication process and removes hesitation to talk with each other (Leroy, Anseel, Gardner, & Sels, 2015).
  3. Focuses on inner discipline thus everyone performs and acts in a professional way.
  4. Each player complements each other for their good performance and unique characteristics that help in winning the match.
  5. All members of the group will be treated equally, for example, the practice time of 2.30 hours not be compromised with anyone, no matter it is the captain itself or any player.
  6. Those Players who take responsibility for the whole team with everyone, accepting mistakes if the team committed any mistake (Marques, Lourenço, Dimas, & Rebelo, 2015).  

Leadership play a vital role in the dynamics of a group as it is what controls, guide, and monitoring the group performance and activities at both individual and group level. To create a good team environment it is the responsibility of players and the leader of the team to focus on group cohesiveness through communicating effectively thus the objective of the group can easily be achieved. For ensuring, the success of a group a leader should possess the following skills:

Proper Communication and Interaction Pattern

Involving group members

For the success of a group, it is essential that every person in the group involve in the group effort and do their best. A leader is a responsible person who ensures which person is suitable for which conditions (VanWart, 2014). For example, in my football team, a player was very aggressive in nature and was a very good player as well. In a league match, we need an aggressive player that must should capable of dealing with the aggressive intent of the opponent. I deploy him as an attacking striker player in that match and give him a chance to show their skills when it was needed. Apart from these, I ensure that the coach and physiotherapist perform their role when it was needed during or after the match.

Attending and expressive skills

A leader has to deal with several situations in order to perform various tasks in the group and determines which person has to perform which task. For ensuring this, a leader must be expressive and able to communicate with their team members (Gupta, 2018). For example, as a leader of the team, I ensure proper communication with every player and clearly define the roles of everyone. Each person has to perform several tasks in order to achieve the group objective.

Cueing, blocking, and guiding members' communication

As a leader, it is essential to properly manage the chain of communication and block those unnecessary communications, which will decrease the performance of the group (Harris & Sherblom, 2018). In order to maintain a healthy communication among team members, I allowed free flow communication to everyone with each other despite being any cultural or language barriers among team members. As an example people from different cultures who speak the different language, if spend more time with each other they will definitely understand others nature and behaviour.

Conclusion:

A good leader is a person who enables the group to work effectively will definitely get a high standard of performance from their groups, as they will highly motivated by the team leader towards the organisational performance. As a leader of the team, it is essential to follow the basic fundamentals of the group dynamics that helps in attainment of the common target of group. For a leader, it is essential to understand the nature and behaviour of every person and ensure proper communication among team members that help in group cohesiveness and success of a team. The negative side would have to be the fact that the leader (captain) is one person and his views will not always match up with every player. This may hamper the team cohesion and team spirit.  

References:

Beauchamp, M. R., & Eys, M. A. (2014). Group dynamics in exercise and sports psychology. UK: Routledge.

Bolden, R. (2016). Leadership, management and organisational development. Gower handbook of leadership and management development, 15(8), 116-126.

Bruner, M. W., Eys, M. A., Wilson, K. S., & Côté, J. (2014). Group cohesion and positive youth development in team sport athletes. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 3(4), 219.

Filho, E., Tenenbaum, G., & Yang, Y. (2015). Cohesion, team mental models, and collective efficacy: towards an integrated framework of team dynamics in sport. Journal of sports sciences, 33(6), 641-653.

Grand, J. A., Braun, M. T., Kuljanin, G., Kozlowski, S. W., & Chao, G. T. (2016). The dynamics of team cognition: A process-oriented theory of knowledge emergence in teams. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(10), 1353.

Gupta, M. (2018). Consensus Building Process in Group Decision Making—An Adaptive Procedure Based on Group Dynamics. IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems, 26(4), 1923-1933.

Harmeling, C. M., Palmatier, R. W., Fang, E., & Wang, D. (2017). Group marketing: Theory, mechanisms, and dynamics. Journal of Marketing, 81(4), 1-24.

Harris, T. E., & Sherblom, J. C. (2018). Small group and team communication. 6th ed. USA: Waveland Press.

Klonek, F. E., Quera, V., Burba, M., & Kauffeld, S. (2016). Group interactions and time: Using sequential analysis to study group dynamics in project meetings. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 20(3), 209.

Leo, F. M., González-Ponce, I., Sánchez-Miguel, P. A., Ivarsson, A., & García-Calvo, T. (2015). Role ambiguity, role conflict, team conflict, cohesion and collective efficacy in sport teams: A multilevel analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 20(18), 60-66.

Leroy, H., Anseel, F., Gardner, W. L., & Sels, L. (2015). Authentic leadership, authentic followership, basic need satisfaction, and work role performance: A cross-level study. Journal of Management, 41(6), 1677-1697.

Marques, F., Lourenço, P. R., Dimas, I. D., & Rebelo, T. (2015). The Relationship Between Types of Conflict, Conflict Handling Strategies and Group Effectiveness. Journal of Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, 3(1), 58-77.

McLaren, C. D., & Spink, K. S. (2018). Team member communication and perceived cohesion in youth soccer. Communication & Sport, 6(1), 111-125.

VanWart, M. (2014). Dynamics of leadership in public service: Theory and practice, UK: Routledge.

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