Reflecting on your own experience of studying in a student group, evaluate your group’s own (perhaps unaware) use of theories

covered in this module and make recommendations for improvements you intend to make in future study groups.
A group share a common purpose, interact with each other and are psychologically aware they are a unified group (Schein, 1980). The study group I was involved in could also be classed as a team. Brill (1976) states a team is made up of individuals with responsibility for their decisions that meet to communicate, consolidate and collaborate together at an arranged time and venue. For example, each member of our group had their own textbook to read, take notes from, writing down only the key information. Each week at or before the lecture or during the break between the two hours, we would exchange notes and discuss any major points or problems. Our group made use of various theories covered in this module, including Tuckman and Jenson’s (1997) model on team development. Belbin’s team roles (1993), Hawthorne’s (1920’s, 1930’s) work on employees, Skinner, groupthink as outlined by Janis (1973) and Adair’s three circle model of team effectiveness (1973). Our experience of being part of a study group did not match all the theories exactly, with some practices that link to the theories working better than others. The creation and performance of our study group closely matched Tuckman and Jenson’s model of team development (1997). During the first stage, the forming stage, introductions were made. For instance, I had not met some members, so names were exchanged. Bratton (2010) states this stage is often associated with members being polite to each other, which is what occurred. Arnold (2005) argues this stage can be confusing. This was the case, as after the initial meeting, no follow-up meeting was arranged. During the storming stage, there is often conflict and jockeying for position (Bratton, 2010; Arnold, 2005). Again this was the case as people wanted to study certain textbooks that matched their personality and academic background. For example, the Mullins (2010) textbook was more business based, which suited one individual. During the norming stage a common purpose, group norms and normal procedure were established (Bratton, 2010; Arnold, 2005). For instance, each individuals started to read from the same textbook each week and meeting times were established. In the performing stage, high productivity and high levels of trust are established (Bratton, 2010). For example, most members began to word process their notes to exchange and if a member could not attend a meeting, it was seen as acceptable for them to email the notes to everybody else, therefore no face-to-face meeting occurred, but there was an expectation and feeling of trust that the individual would still do the work. In the last adjourning stage, the group either disbands, as our group now has since the module has finished, or a member may leave and be replaced (Bratton, 2010). Each of these stages should according to Tuckman and Jenson occur in order, but in the first few weeks of our group forming, two members had left, which relates to the last stage. There were no differences in how the group was organised after these people left, so it would seem the model does not have to be run in order, with the next stage only becoming attainable once the previous stage has been achieved. If I was to become part of another study group in the future, I would make sure some ground rules were laid out in the first meeting to establish

their two barrier model of inspirational leadership and creativity was not so prevalent in our group. To begin with we had more formal meetings. Janis (1972) defines groupthink as a cognitive process by which members of a cohesive in-group take the first idea of the group and all agree. all members of the group agreed with the first suggestion. but this changed to more informal meetings. We had a well-balanced team which performed well together. we had five members all with slightly different personalities which contributed to the creativity of the group. Each individual knew their task. Belbin’s team role model (1993) was evident in our group. like for example working over dinner to improve team cohesiveness. which are all interdependent. which performed well together. . We had an effective co-ordinator who emailed everybody in advance of meetings to keep people up-to-date. 2010). For instance. Our team had a common goal to achieve the best notes and ideas before and after each lecture. Some aspects of groupthink were present. 1930’s) can be related to Skinner’s research (1960’s) because positive reinforcement was used if a group member had produced a particularly good idea or piece of work. We also had a plant and several other roles as defined by Belbin. Our experience of Hawthorne’s work (1920’s. Adair’s (1973) three circle model of team effectiveness can be related to our group. If I was to be involved in another study group I would encourage the introduction of social activities or a mix of work and social activity. Theories of motivation could explain why each individual took part in the team and contributed to the task. which improved job satisfaction (Bratton. thus increasing the levels of motivation for that individual.for example how much and in what style notes should be taken and exchanged to minimise levels of confusion. Nobody else challenged for this position. intrinsic motivators like taking price in work or extrinsic motivators like working to achieve the best exam mark at the end of the module. In the end. Hawthorne’s (1920’s. instead of looking for the best possible outcome. not up-to-date or sophisticated enough. which altered the working atmosphere and made the experience more enjoyable and as Hawthorne (1920’s. For example. This is a basic model but is easy to understand and apply (Bratton. I made sure we began studying the right topic again. 1930’s) suggested the changed working environment increased productivity. This model involves three circles: the team. In the future I would make it more clear at an earlier stage what exactly the team stands for. 2010) and correlated with our team performance. Therefore although Richards et al (2000) criticise this model as being too simplistic. in our group when the team co-ordinator asked if there were any other ways of collaborating our ideas. with each individual taking notes for the rest of the team to achieve this task. 1930’s) research in electrical plants in the USA and the effect of changing work conditions on employees can be related to our group. I would consider myself as a monitor-evaluator because if conversation strayed off-track. We should have had a follow-up meeting to discuss any other better alternatives after people had had an opportunity to consider other alternatives. Bratton (2010) states this is due to the fact that differences of opinions and alternative ideas can be seen as disloyalty in these groups. the individual and the task.

If I am involved in another study group I would make sure the group had clear aims at the start and set some ground rules early on. . Adair’s (1973) model of team effectiveness and Tuckman and Jenson’s (1973) model of team development. because to being with I was unsure how detailed my notes needed to be and in what style most people preferred the notes to be in.The theories that best matched our group’s experience were Belbni’s (1993) team role model. In the future. I would also increase the social contact time to discuss topics in more depth to gain a better understanding and appreciate others’ opinions.

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