It is the study of groups, and also a general term for group processes. Relevant to the fields of psychology, sociology, and communication studies, a group is two or more individuals who are connected to each other by social relationships. Because they interact and influence each other, groups develop a number of dynamic processes that separate them from a random collection of individuals. These processes include norms, roles, relations, development, need to belong, social influence, and effects on behavior. The field of group dynamics is primarily concerned with small group behavior. Groups may be classified as aggregate, primary, secondary and category groups. In sociology, a group can be defined as two or more humans that interact with one another, accept expectations and obligations as members of the group, and share a common identity. By this definition, society can be viewed as a large group, though most social groups are considerably smaller. A true group exhibits some degree of cohesion and is more than a simple collection or aggregate of individuals, such as people waiting at a bus stop. Characteristics shared by members of a group include interests, values, ethnic or social background, and kinship ties. Groups are like relationships - you have to work at them. In the work place, they constitute an important unit of activity but one whose support needs is only recently becoming understood. By making the group itself responsible for its own support, the responsibility becomes an accelerator for the group process. What is vital is that these needs are recognized and explicitly dealt with by the group. Time and resources must be allocated to this by the group and by Management, and the group process must be planned, monitored and reviewed just like any other managed process.

It is very difficult to state a specific definition of a group as they possess certain features and they are formed for various purposes. Many authorities have

stated the definitions of ‘GROUP’ considering various properties or features of groups. Following are some of the important definitions stated by the authorities. The term or concept of group dynamics contains two words and concepts i.e. (1) Group and (2) Dynamics. A group always consists of two or more persons who interact with one another in such a manner that each person influences other and each person is influenced by other persons in the groups. Group Dynamics’ refer to the various forces operating within a group, and group dynamics is concerned with the interaction and forces between group members.

Stephen P.Robbins and Timothy A.Judge: “A group is defined as two or more individuals, interacting and interdependent, who have come together to achieve particular objectives”. Schein: “A group consists of any number of people who  Interact with each other,  Are psychologically aware of one another,  Perceive themselves to be a group”.

Muzafer Sherif and Carolyn W.Sherif: “The term ‘GROUP’ applies when a number of employees become in effect a social unit in which the members stand in specific role and status to one another, such relations appear to be stable, and the members tend to share a common set of values or norms which influence their behaviour in respect of matters of importance to the group”. George C.Homans: “A group is a number of people who communicate with one another often over a span of time, and are few enough so that each person is able to communicate with all the other, not at second unit formed for certain activities for to achieve certain

objectives and its members can communicate with each other easily and personally ”. Common definition of group: “A variously limited assemblage of animals or plants, having some resemblance, or common characteristics in form or structure. The term has different uses, and may be made to include certain species of a genus, or a whole genus, or certain genera, or even several orders.

A group of people working in the same room, or even on a common project, does not necessarily invoke the group process. If the group is managed in a totally autocratic manner, there may be little opportunity for interaction relating to the work; if there is functioning within the group, the process may never evolve. On the other hand, the group process may be utilized by normally distant individuals working on different projects; for instance, at IEE colloquia. In simple terms, the group process leads to a spirit of cooperation, coordination and commonly understood procedures and mores. If this is present within a group of people, then their performance will be enhanced by their mutual support (both practical and moral). If you think this is a nebulous concept when applied to the world of industry, consider the opposite effect that a selfopinionated, cantankerous loud-mouth would have on your performance and then contrast that to working with a friendly, open, helpful associate.


Groups are particularly good at combining talents and providing innovative solutions to possible unfamiliar problems; in cases where there is no well established approach/procedure, the wider skill and knowledge set of the group has a distinct advantage over that of the individual. In general, however, there is an overriding advantage in a group-based work force which makes it attractive to Management: that it engenders a fuller utilization of the work force. A group can be seen as a self managing unit. The range of skills provided by its members and the self monitoring which each group performs makes it a reasonably safe recipient for delegated responsibility. Even if a problem could be decided by a single person, there are two main benefits in involving the people who will carry out the decision. Firstly, the motivational aspect of participating in the decision will clearly enhance its implementation. Secondly, there may well be factors which the implementer understands better than the single person who could supposedly have decided alone. More indirectly, if the lowest echelons of the workforce each become trained, through participation in group decision making, in an understanding of the companies’ objectives and work practices, then each will be better able to solve work-related problems in general. Further, they will also individually become a safe recipient for delegated authority which is exemplified in the celebrated right of Japanese car workers to halt the production line. From the individual's point of view, there is the added incentive that through belonging to a group each can participate in achievements well beyond his/her own individual potential. Less idealistically, the group provides an environment where the individual's self-perceived level of responsibility and authority is enhanced, in an environment where accountability is shared: thus providing a perfect motivator through enhanced self-esteem coupled with low stress. Finally, a word about the much wanted “recognition of the worth of the individual”, which is often given as the reason for delegating responsibility to

groups of subordinates. While I agree with the sentiment, I am dubious that this is a prime motivator - the bottom line is that the individual's talents are better utilized in a group, not that they are wonderful human beings.

A group consists of individual who perceive the existence of a group and their membership in it and it is formed to achieve certain goals. It means a basis common motivation. A group can small or large. As small group increase in size, it reaches some upper limits and become a large group. Groups have certain features. Important feature of groups are mentioned below  In order to form a group, there must be at least two persons who are called the members. There cannot be any specific limit on the maximum number of members in a group.

A number of members of any group depend upon the circumstances, objectives to be achieved, attitudes and aptitudes of the people joining the group.

 In the organizational context, there are certain rules and regulations which control the activities of the groups.

It is also found that the groups influence their member’s attitudes and behaviors.

 There is a group structure with hierarchical status system. Some type of leader followership relationship develops.

There are different types of group’s e.g. formal groups and informal groups, friendship groups, intellectual groups, religious groups etc.

 Members of a group interact among themselves in one way or other. The communication can take place face to face, in writing, over the telephones, across a computer network etc.


Because of the shared goals, certain normative behavioral patterns are established based on norms and values. The members are expected to follow this norms, values and rules.

We have already studied that people from groups. It is the natural instinct. People like to live in groups. Groups influence the work and work behaviour of their members. Groups are inseparable from organization and they exist in every organization. Hence the study of group behavior is very important from the view point organizations. Elton Mayo and his team conducted the famous Hawthrone experiment which revealed that the group behavior major impact on productivity. Manager must have the knowledge of group behavior and must understand group psychology to become successful. At lower level of the organization, small groups of employees work as teams. Thus, groups are important from the view point of employees as well as from the view point of their organizations. In this context, following important point may be noted.  There is very important impact of groups on organizational effectiveness. Groups help to increase organization stability by transmitting shared beliefs and values to new employees.

Groups provide an efficient means for organizational control of employee behavior. and

 3. Groups help to facilitate changes in organizational procedures policies.

Group efforts definitely affect employees, their attitudes and aptitudes, and behavior.

 In a group, an individual member feels more secured and he can get technical and work related assistance. Employees get support when they are emotionally depressed.


 Groups of employees can be given joint responsibility to carry on the work, to make participative management more effective.  When employees become the members of a group there is established proper communication.

From the discussion done relating to groups and organization, we come to know the importance of groups in the development of organizations and attaining the goals of organizations. In fact formation of groups is inevitable and it is natural process. Hence, while using the concept of a group in organization behavior we have to know the concept of ‘Group Dynamics’. The term or concept of group dynamics contains two words and concepts i.e. (1) Group and (2) Dynamics. A group always consists of two or more persons who interact with one another in such a manner that each person influences other and each person is influenced by other persons in the groups. Group Dynamics’ refer to the various forces operating within a group, and group dynamics is concerned with the interaction and forces between group members. There are several views which interpret the concept of group dynamics from different angles. Important views are made clear below. 1. Normative views of group dynamics maintains that group dynamic describes how a group should be organized, operated and conducted. This views implies Democratic, Leadership, participation of group member and their co-operation. 2. According to another view, group dynamics is a set of techniques. Such as role playing, group therapy, brainstorming, leaderless group, sensitivity training, transactional analysis, team building etc. 3. The third view is more prevalent. According to this views, group dynamics is viewed from the internal nature of groups, how they are formed, their structure and processes, how they work and influence their member as well as their organization.


Thus group dynamics is related to various aspects of groups. If the managers understand properly the concept and nature of group dynamics, they can manage the groups effectively for organizational effectiveness. Stated certain principles of group dynamics. These principles help us understand the nature of group dynamics.  The member of a group should have feeling to attachment towards their group. A group should attract its members to make them to work effectively. It implies that the mere attractive a group is to its members, the greater influence tremendously over its members.  Members of a group must have strong sense of belongingness to their group. There should not barriers between the leaders and the led. This helps to increase the effectiveness.  There should be successful effort to change members of a group which make its members more comfortable.  The greater the prestige of group member in the eyes of other members the greater influence he will exercise on them.

Information relating to the need for the change, various plans for change, consequences of such changes etc must be shared by all the group members of group.


Groups are classified into different types. Each type of group has different features and different effects on its members and also on the concerned organization. Let us now consider certain important types of groups.

{A}Primary and Secondary Groups:
1. Primary groups We find the existence of primary groups everywhere. In organizations, there are various work groups which possess the features of primary groups. It is also experienced that primary groups affect the individual behavior. Generally primary groups are small in size. Primary groups are concerned with existence of feeling of belongingness with loyalty. Values amongst its members few people may gather together for some casual purposes and may establish communication amongst them. It is said that all primary groups can be small groups but all small groups may not be necessarily primary groups. Charles H.Cooley was the first thinker who stated the definition of a primary group. As stated, ‘primary groups are characterized by intimate, face-to-face association and co-operation. They are primary in several senses, but chiefly in that they are fundamental in forming the social nature and ideas of the individual’. Following important points may be noted so far as primary groups are concerned. {i}Generally primary groups are small in size. {ii}There is intimacy face-to-face association, co-operation in primary groups. {iii}They are fundamental in forming the social nature and ideas of the individual. {iv}All primary groups may be small groups, but not all small groups will be primary groups. 2. Secondary Groups: They may be larger general and more formal. The members of such groups may not have any interest in the problems, business; is very difficult to have close and face to face interaction amongst the members of large group thus all this is not found in secondary groups.

{B} Classification of groups based on size of the groups:
A group can be small or big in size comprising of two individuals as members of group. Different types of groups based on size are as follows.


Group of two individuals or dyad:
Dyad consists of two individuals as members of group. These can be formal or informal. If there is agreement such groups continue. Even when two individuals can come together to achieve certain objectives, it becomes an informal group.

Triad or group of three:
When there are three persons only in group it is called “Triad”. In such groups, she requires complete agreement amongst all three members of the group. When there is complete agreement between two members and third member is in strong opposition a problem crops up. Such groups can be formal or informal.

Small groups:
Small groups consist of small number of persons ranging from four to fifty or so. They are compact in size. In short, if a group consists of ten persons or less than ten, it becomes more effective as they can interact easily. Work force, Task force, etc. are examples of small group.

 Large groups:
Large groups are bigger in size .In large groups interpersonal relationships, interactions amongst the members is low .Several formal and informal groups make large groups they can be formal or informal.

{C}Open and Closed Groups:
Groups can be open and closed groups. In open and closed groups new members are admitted and existing members are allowed to leave. Thus their members keep changing. A closed group maintains a relatively stable membership power and status relationship is generally well established and fixed. As others persons are generally not allowed to join closed groups, there is a consequent lack of fresh perspectives or problem solving ideas. Open and small groups can be small or large. An organization may have open or closed groups. Boards of directors exemplify closed groups. Many groups whose function is the review or evaluation can.


{D} In-groups and Out-groups:
The groups to which we belong are in group. The in-groups represent clustering individuals holding certain prevailing values in a society. It can have a dominant in social functioning. Out- groups are those groups on the outside looking in. An out group is the conglomerate looked up as subordinate or marginal in the society. The in-groups versus out-groups concept are applicable to friendly rivalries in colleges, clubs, etc. Thus in short the group to which a person belongs, such group is called as In-group. The others are out-groups.

{E}Informal Groups:
Informal learning groups are temporary, ad hoc groups that last for a class or even simply one discussion point. These groups can be created for tasks that take as little as a few minutes, are a useful way of breaking up the traditional lecture slot (preferably before the students’ eyes glaze over), and can be achieved easily even with very large classes. They serve to focus student attention and give students the opportunity to cognitively process the material. By comparing ideas with their peers, students are also able to identify misconceptions or gaps in understanding. Finally, these opportunities can provide useful social interaction within a class and can begin to form a basis for the open communication skills necessary for successful interaction when they come to work in. Informal learning groups are particularly useful for simple activities such as:  Generating ideas in preparation for a lecture, film etc.  Summarizing main points in a text, reading, film or lecture  Assessing levels of skills and understanding  Re-examining ideas presented in previous classes  Reviewing exams, problems, quizzes, and writing assignments  Processing learning outcomes at the end of class

 Providing comments to teachers on how a class is going  Comparing and contrasting key theories, issues and interpretations  Solving problems that relate theory to practice  Brainstorming applications of theory to everyday life (Meyers & Jones, 1993, p63) Formation of Informal Learning Groups is as easy as asking your students to turn to the person sitting next to them and to jointly undertake an activity. The nice aspect of this approach is that it’s hard to get left out of a pair!! These two students can then be asked to share ideas with another pair, and so on…

{F} Formal Groups:
In terms of learning outcomes, formal and informal learning groups share certain similarities. Both give students the opportunity to clarify their thinking through discussion, to test their ideas against other students and appreciate new perspectives and to practice group communication skills. Formal groups, however, tend to have a generally static membership and last for several days or weeks and therefore obviously require greater planning and investment if they are to work successfully. As teachers we will have a greater part to play in structuring the learning situations for long term formal group work. Some of the roles you may need to take on include:  clearly specifying objectives in terms of both product and process  forming the initial work groups  providing or directing students to appropriate resources  monitoring groups as they work, and  Evaluating student performance. The tasks associated with formal learning groups require students to engage in more sophisticated group processing skills than those required for informal group work. The success of Formal Learning Groups relies on five significant factors, which include interdependence of members and individual accountability. This is why they are described as "the heart of cooperative learning" (Johnson, Johnson & Smith, 1998) and will be the primary group form we consider throughout this resource.

When implementing formal group work a useful plan may be to develop a sequence of strategies that will build one upon another, year by year, or semester by semester. For instance, early in their first semester opportunities may be created for students to work in small, informal learning groups during class but without continued commitment to the same group. Later group activities could be extended to working with the same group on a longer project to achieve a particular task but also to begin to provide some support for each other.

{G}Base Groups:
Base Groups are longer lasting than both informal and formal learning groups. Their primary purpose is for members to provide support, encouragement and assistance for completing tasks and to actually hold each other accountable for the learning necessary to make academic progress. In New Zealand we tend to refer to this type of arrangement as a Study Group. Many students from these sorts of groups informally. They can be particularly valuable for students from minority groups, such as mature or international students, as they provide a "safe" forum for people to share their experiences of university in general as well as supporting each other’s learning. New Zealand students report that they develop significantly better communication and team work skills as a result of their participation in Study Groups (Shave, 1996). These skills persisted into later university study with respondents reporting an increased confidence and interest in working with others, along with an improved ability to facilitate group work in later courses.

{H}Classification of groups on the basis of purposes:
 Instructional groups:
In such groups, the members control themselves for the same course .e.g. Students of M.B.A. in the same subject may form the group to serve a specific purpose.

 Recreational groups:

Various clubs such as tennis clubs, football clubs, etc. are the examples of recreational groups. Such groups are formed with a purpose or purposes.

 Vocational groups:
A vocational group is an association of the same vocation created for achieving certain objectives. Teachers association, association of officers is examples of vocational groups.

 Government groups:
Such groups are formed for certain reasons and governing certain activities. e.g. Management board.

Religious groups:
People of same religion form such groups keeping before certain objectives.

It is common to view the development of a group as having five stages:


✔ Forming ✔ Storming ✔ Norming ✔ Performing ✔ Adjourning (Ten years after describing the four stages, Bruce Tuckman revisited his original work and described another fifth stage.)

FORMING STAGE: It is the stage when the group first comes together. Everybody is very polite and very dull. Conflict is seldom voiced directly, mainly personal and definitely destructive. Since the grouping is new, the individuals will be guarded in their own opinions and generally reserved. This is particularly so in terms of the more nervous and/or subordinate members who may never recover. The group tends to defer to a large extent to those who emerge as leaders (poor fools!).

STORMING STAGE: It is the next stage, when all Hell breaks loose and the leaders are lynched. Factions form, personalities clash, no-one concedes a single point without first fighting tooth and nail. Most importantly, very little communication occurs since no one is listening and some are still unwilling to talk openly. True, this battle ground may seem a little extreme for the groups to which you belong - but if you


look beneath the veil of civility at the seething sarcasm, invective and innuendo, perhaps the picture come more into focus. NORMING STAGE: At this stage the sub-groups begin to recognize the merits of working together and the in-fighting subsides. Since a new spirit of co-operation is evident, every member begins to feel secure in expressing their own view points and these are discussed openly with the whole group. The most significant improvement is that people start to listen to each other. Work methods become established and recognized by the group as a whole. PERFORMING STAGE: This is the culmination, when the group has settled on a system which allows free and frank exchange of views and a high degree of support by the group for each other and its own decisions. In terms of performance, the group starts at a level slightly below the sum of the individuals' levels and then drops abruptly to its nadir until it climbs during Norming to a new level of Performing which is (hopefully) well above the start. It is this elevated level of performance which is the main justification for using the group process rather than a simple group of staff.

ADJOURNING STAGE: To adjourn means to stop work. Many groups such as task forces, project teams etc. which are formed temporary time disband after they have completed their work. Even the most successful have to adjourn when their mission is completed. After adjournment of the group, the relationship among members comes to an end. In a sense, adjourning stage is an extension of the performing stage. It is found that all groups do not follow the rigid pattern of five stage models, but generally permanent groups are formed. For some types of groups which are temporary are formed for achieving certain deadline of work-performance that model is not suitable. According to that model, there are three phases of group development i.e.  First Meeting Phase


The first meeting of people who want to form a group sets the group direction. A framework is of tasks etc. are decided and work starts.  Transaction Phase: Then comes the transaction stage. During this phase the group executes plans developed during that period.  Completion Phase: In this phase, efforts of the group are concentrated on the attainment of objectives of the group. The members do all the efforts to complete task within start period and hence, the application of this model is restricted to temporary groups.

This has been stated for understanding the reasons behind the formation of informal groups. These theories are explained in brief.

I. Propinquity Theory:
The meaning of the term propinquity means nearness. In the organizational context, employees working together come together to form a group with certain objectives with others. Thus, according to this theory, the group formation process of informal groups is based on nearness factor. Nearness is only a facilitating factor for group formation and cannot be a reason for group formation. This theory does not take into consideration the reasons for which the groups are formed.

II.Interaction theory of Homans:
Three elements which have been considered by Homans in stating his theory are activities, interactions, and sentiments. These three are inter-related. George C.Homans maintains that more the individuals share their activities, more they will interact with each other and more strong would be their

sentiments for each other and vice-versa. Nearness factor is not merely considered, but accomplishment of group goals is also given importance. This theory helps to understand the group formation process by making clear the important elements behind forming the groups.

III.Balance theory:
Theodore Newcomb stated the balance theory. According to Newcomb,” Persons are attracted to one another on the basis of similar attitudes towards commonly relevant objectives and goals. “IF AN IMBALANCE OCCURS, ATTEMPTS ARE MADE TO RESTORE THE BALANCE.” If the balance cannot be restored, the relationship dissolves. This theory no doubt is very simple and explains the motives behind the forming of groups. But it does not explain various other causes of formation of group.

IV.Exchange Theory:
John W.Thibaut and Harold H.Kelley proposed this theory. It is based upon ‘REWARD-COST outcomes of interaction’. Rewards should be greater than costs of an outcome must be there for affiliation or attraction to take place. In the Exchange Theory, it is suggested that an individual joins a group on the basis of the outcomes of rewards and costs. If the cost is more than the reward, he will not join the group. Satisfaction of needs with more rewards than cost is important reason for individuals to join groups. It is true in respect to formal as well as informal.

There is an element of truth in each theory stated above. Thus, no theory throws light on all the factors which affect the formation of GROUPS.