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Groups and teamwork
Groups and teamwork

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3.2.1 Group context

Probably the two most important features of a formal work group are the task or objectives assigned to it and the environment in which it has to carry that task out. It is important that a work group be given a realistic task and access to the resources required to complete it, and that the people in the group feel that the task is worth accomplishing, i.e. that it has some importance.

When a group fails to make headway, one common cause is that its brief covers several tasks, some of which require members to take up different roles. For example, a management group may be given the tasks of analysing why the introduction of a new information system has gone wrong and designing a new one. In the analysis of what has gone wrong the members of the group, as representatives of their departments or subgroups, may adopt generally defensive postures. Once defensiveness has been established as the group dynamic, it will be virtually impossible to establish the sort of cooperative and free-wheeling dynamic that is required in a creative group. There will be a tendency for managers to keep their departmental hats on and maintain their defensive postures. A simple solution to this sort of problem is to constitute two separate groups or committees. These may well have identical membership. However, by meeting under a different name, with different objectives and, preferably, in a different place, the participants are freed to create a new dynamic, one appropriate to the second task.