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group

  1. a collection of people who interact with each other, are aware of each other and see themselves as a group. Very small groups, where each member knows the others well and can interact in a face-to-face manner, are often termed primary groups. Those with a larger membership where individuals are unable to interact directly with all the members are called secondary groups. Much of the work conducted in ORGANIZATIONS is done by groups. Work groups may take the form of either a number of people undertaking a particular task, directed by a manager (see MANAGEMENT) or SUPERVISOR, or a team in which coordination of a range of activities takes place and where status is more equal. The distinction is not a hard and fast one, but groups of production workers are generally referred to as ‘work groups’ whilst groups of managers tend to be referred to as teams. Both are formal groups in that they are consciously established to chieve certain work goals. By contrast, informal groups are those which emerge naturally, are based primarily on friendship, shared attributes or status, and whose membership does not necessarily coincide with that of formal groups. An early indication of the importance of social groups in organizations was provided by the HAWTHORNE STUDIES and exemplified in HUMAN RELATIONS philosophy The Hawthorne researchers found that informal groups could emerge alongside formal groups, with work norms which contradicted those of management. An earlier investigation in the research programme, however, seemed to find that a style of management (see MANAGEMENT STYLE, LEADERSHIP) which displayed an interest in workers could help collections of workers to cohere into effective groups, committed to managerial goals.

    Subsequently managers have adopted a variety of means to influence the activities of groups so as to harness them in support of managerial goals. One such measure is basing pay or bonuses on group output, so as to provide a stimulus to group members to work effectively together and to pressurize recalcitrant members into following group policy. Similarly, the creation of ‘semiautonomous work groups’ (see JOB DESIGN AND REDESIGN) with the power to allocate group members' tasks is designed to heighten both group cohesion and commitment to effective task performance. However, a question that still nevertheless vexes managers is why some groups are effective whilst others are not. For this reason substantial research has been conducted into group development and dynamics (i.e. the stages of growth that they go through and the patterns of interaction within them). One approach has suggested that groups go through four stages of development:

    1. forming (i.e. getting to know each other);
    2. storming (initial conflict as individuals compete for leadership positions and to influence the direction taken by the group);
    3. norming (the establishment of shared values);
    4. performing (where the group utilizes its strengths to perform desired activities). Many groups find difficulty in moving beyond the second and third stages. Team-building exercises, to encourage group cohesion, are an attempt to solve such problems. Research has shown that individual contributions to groups differ, and that in some cases they are effective whilst in others they are not. Management writer Meredith Belbin (1926-) has argued that each individual has a preferred team role and a secondary role which he or she adopts if unable to occupy his or her preferred role. These roles are chairman (setting the agenda), shaper (defining the task), plant (generating ideas), monitor/evaluator (evaluating ideas), company worker (organizing the group), resource investigator (seeking out resources), team worker (maintaining group cohesion) and finisher (ensuring deadlines are kept). On the basis of research of this type managers have attempted to influence group performance by selecting appropriate team members.

    Whilst team working is generally thought to be a useful approach to achieving organizational goals, it can have negative effects. The most damaging of these is groupthink, where pressures towards group conformity stifle creativity. See TEAM BREIFING.

  2. a collection of interrelated JOINT-STOCK COMPANIES which usually consists of a HOLDING COMPANY and a number of SUBSIDIARY COMPANIES and ASSOCIATED COMPANIES which tends to operate as a single business unit.
References in periodicals archive ?
Now invited to present to a panel of judges, if shortlisted, the training group could go on to be invited to a glittering awards ceremony, hosted by TV presenter Eamonn Holmes, where the final winners will be announced.
Scores of berg balance scale suggested a remarkable improvement in dynamic balance between tasks oriented balance training group and traditional balance training group.
8220;Legion Operating Training Group has some of the best training facilities in the country,” said David McCutcheon, CEO of CheyTac USA.
Also at 4 years, only 29% of the children in the CBT plus parent training group qualified for an anxiety diagnosis.
BHA welfare and training group Morag Gray (BHA, chairman), Josh Apiafi (PJA), Rupert Arnold (NTF), Chris Brand (BHA), Cedric Burton (Racing Welfare), Jim Cornelius (Nass), Caroline Davies (RCA), Annie Dodd (BHA), Sara Hay-Jahans (BHA), Jeremy Richardson (IJF), Michael Turner (BHA).
LEARNING: Pupils from Croxteth community comprehensive at Liverpool town hall at an anti-bullying debate with actors from training group After Thought
Chris Luty, Black Country Training Group director, said: "Through a range of courses it offers high-quality training suited to particular employers' needs.
As Scotland's specialist training group, GTG Training offer a wide range of courses in everything from IT to transport - every one of which is recognised by all major training standards agencies.
The new study shows that, after 5 years, people in each training group performed better on tests in their respective areas of training than did those in the control group.
Using univariate analysis of covariance and multivariate analysis of variance to compare between-group differences in score changes relative to baseline, the investigators determined that, in the chair rise, the functional training group had significantly more improvement in energy expenditures and compensations by increasing ankle energy expenditure and decreasing back compensation, compared with the strength training group.
The TTE Technical Training Group has carried out training for the Sector Skills Council to the oil and gas extraction industry, Cogent, with the completion of off-site learning for its latest apprentices.
Operational Procedure Emulator Team, 381st Training Group, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

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