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Understanding Groups And Managing Teams

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Discuss about the Understanding Groups and Managing Teams.



The main case analyzed in this report is drawn from “Sir Richard Branson: managing groups and teams at Virgin provided in pages 421 and 422.”The main aim of this analysis is to demonstrate the deeper understanding of the teamwork along with the challenges and opportunities it presents for the managers team members. In meeting the above aim, four questions are answered. Question one identifies the kinds of teams existing within the Virgin group of firms. Question two list the phases of development along with task roles hat dictate the effectiveness of these groups. It further presents a discussion on how diverse roles and phases of development are obvious and dictate outcomes within the group. In question three, a definition of features of the group and identification of how such characteristics align to group behaviors along with performance within the Virgin group of firms. It further present an explanation of strengths and weakness of these with regards to team members’ behaviors like cohesiveness, conflict as well as performance. The last question (4) presents examples of how social interactions reinforce group activities within the Virgin group of firms. A brief conclusion summarizing the entire report is then presented.

Types of Teams within Virgin Group

The Group features a traditional group that entails two or more codependent persons who interact and influence one another in a shared quest for a mutual goalmouth. These groups lack the organizational structure nor does the group have lack of shared goals and purpose embraced by a crowd. Under the Virgin group, both formal and informal groups exist. The individual firms constituting Virgin Group of Companies constitute formal groups that are created officially for a particular purpose (Mao 2016). The Virgin Group of companies encompass formal as well as informal work groups. Formal groups encompass task groups like Virgin ground crew along with command groups like the company board. The activities of Virgin Group might be provisional or perpetual. For instance, additional teams of temporary staff could be empowered in height of vacation (holiday) periods to cope with additional demand. The informal groups like people among flight crew staff. These can entail interest groups as well as friendship groups. The formal group are established by the organization like Virgin for particular purposes of the organization whereby informal groups are established by workers thus serving the interest of members.    

Stages of Development and Task Roles

The evolution of a group into a team occurs in five phases. The first stages include is the forming phase whereby the group gets oriented as well as acquainted. The second is the storming which is marred by the surface of individual personalities as well as roles together with conflicts within the group. The third phase describes the norming stage in which solutions to the conflict are arrived at thereby leading to close relationships development alongside the emergence of unity and harmony. The fourth phase is the performing in which the members focus on getting solutions to the problems alongside the completion of task assigned. The fifth and final stage is adjourning in which members get prepared to disband the team.

The roles and development stages are apparent and influence the outcomes within the Virgin group of firms. In the process, managers have a key role to play to ensure effective team. For example, manager make sure that individuals are cooperating and systematically integrate their respective efforts to accomplish a shared goal. Moreover, managers establish a climate of trust and reciprocal faith in the attentions and behaviors of others which facilitate collaboration. The managers also ensure team cohesiveness which ensure that the objectives and goals are achieved as people stick together.

Managers also establish measurable goals and acknowledge the feedback of the performance of members which give the opportunity to improve their outcomes. Managers further motivate their members by ensuring that they accountable mutually to each other. A motivated employee is more productive and this then contributes to the general productivity of the Virgin Group of companies. The managers further ensure that the team size is optimal which enhances interaction and morale with required resources they help get their work effectively done.

The managers also ensure that team members perform their roles as per the acceptable behavior thereby fostering constructive relationships among the members of the team. The managers also ensure effective team norms, general guidelines and rules of behavior followed by team members thus ensuring that the company’s objective are met successfully. This is clear from the Virgin group of companies characterized with traditional group of 2 or more self-governing individuals that interact and influence one another in shared pursuit of shared goal. Both formal (task groups like Virgin ground crew along with command groups like company board) and informal (includes people in flight crew, interest group and friendship group) work groups exist in Virgin Groups.   


Characteristics of a Group

The employees of Branson are encouraged by being given freedom. Branson holds that it significant for workers higher up within the group since this allows to know the workers on a more personal degrees outside the work. There is a high level of cooperation between the employees in the company which ensures they meet their tasks and roles in time. Branson keeps each of the Virgin business small under the larger Virgin group and upholds a financial interest in individual companies established. The work group behavior is divided into outcomes, processes and inputs. The recruitment division in Virgin ensures appropriate inputs. The skill of members have to be relevant and must show good interpersonal skills. The groups are diversified with specialists in recruitments. Branson has also put considerable faith in the recruitment teams to employ individuals who fit the Virgin business strategy. There are equal number of female and male employees within the department that create correct balance within work groups. Workers are attracted to particular Virgin divisions since they enjoy corporate activities they major in as well as value their corporate goals. People are hired not because of ability and experience but for their friendly attitudes as well as general skills thereby enabling the employees to fit into any job under the group.

Examples of Social Interaction support Virgin Group Activities

The members of the group have diverse roles to fulfil. The group task roles like a coordinator, information provider as well as information seeker. The maintenance roles like standard setter, encourager and follower. Such roles remain key to the group work flow. Groups like airline ground crew or flight attendant teams have to develop via series of phases identified above. Certain individuals in the group or team are allocated particular roles but emergent leaders simply take such roles upon themselves.

Workers can further take on self-oriented roles, for own self-fulfillment. Such include being a blocker, aggressor, recognition seeker and dominator. Teamwork and engagement is encouraged with individuals and people are suggested to have a fearlessness of engaging with others since conversation is able to alter the world. The group size is optimal to facilitate interactions like airline uses extensive group training for the flight crew and ground crew. As a group becomes larger it is branched into a second company to become focused and nimble. The leaders are dynamic with positive synergies which ensure greater gains from group interaction. The norms like in flight allow members to behave in sanctioned manner thus maintaining uniformity of the corporate standards (Haas and Choudhury 2016). A sense of humor as well as desire to have fun are provided in the group. Group cohesiveness is also ensured to ensure better performance. Members of the team have similar values and attitudes leading to higher performance hence effective communication and job satisfaction (Agarwal et al. 2016).  


Branson’s case is a typical example of a successful teamwork. Firms need to imitate this by ensuring optimum team size, cohesiveness, freedom and social interaction. Performance leads to positive communication which in turn leads to job satisfaction. 



Agarwal, R., Campbell, B.A., Franco, A.M. and Ganco, M., 2016. What Do I Take With Me? The Mediating Effect of Spin-out Team Size and Tenure on the Founder–Firm Performance Relationship. Academy of Management Journal, 59(3), pp.1060-1087.

Haas, M. and Choudhury, P., 2016, January. Collaborate to Innovate? Team Size, Patenting, and Collaborative Complexity in a Global R&D Center (WITHDRAWN). In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2016, No. 1, p. 17221). Academy of Management.

Mao, A., Mason, W., Suri, S. and Watts, D.J., 2016. An experimental study of team size and performance on a complex task. PloS one, 11(4), p.e0153048.

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