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To be an effective manager or supervisor in a business enterprise, one must understand the nature of groups.

I believe to be an effective manager or supervisor in a business enterprise; one must understand the nature of a group. A group is a collection of two or more individuals who interact and perceive themselves to be a group and who work together to achieve a common goal. Business organizations can be understood as a large group made up of smaller groups. E.g. managers head departments, the departments are broken down into teams headed my supervisors; the teams are then broken down into individuals. The work of managers and supervisors in a business organization is to achieve maximum profit in order for this to be attained every person must give there best in the organization. Groups serve various kinds of functions in organizations and people tend to join and stay in groups for various reasons. A group can be either formal or informal. I shall discuss the different types of groups, the advantages and disadvantages of each group, how groups are formed, group norms and group structures. Groups can be formal or informal depending on the situation. A group is deemed to be formal if it was deliberately set up and formed to contribute to the overall purpose of an organization. Managers set up these groups, identify the members and sets objectives in which they must complete together. Sometimes they are formed on the initiative of the employees. Informal groups are formed by personal preferences, and satisfy psychological and social needs (Mullins, L. 2005). For example line managers who take coffee breaks together, this could evolve into a formal group if they decided over coffee to develop a new product. A functional group can be either formal or informal. It focuses on a general and continuing area of responsibility. Personal or accounting departments are examples of functional groups. Command groups and task groups are the two types of formal groups. The main difference between the two is that employees work on a permanent basis in a command group, whereas they may or may not belong to a task group at any given time. The reason it is called a command group is because it has the mechanism through which commands or instructions are passed down to staff and acted upon. Command groups are the main vehicles through which work is done and all staff will be in one command group or another. The members of a command group need to cooperate and communicate with each other in order to get the work done. A task group is set up when a task is identified which does not fit in an existing command group and when it is not worthwhile to set up a new command group to deal with it. There is nearly always one or two task groups set up in organizations for various reasons. The members retain there positions in the command group at the same time.

The two types of informal groups are friendship groups and cliques or interest groups. A friendship group is the common goal of enjoying each others company. Sometimes cliques exist to help individuals get over some of the information flow barriers that exist in organizations. In informal groups, knowledge does not make its way as easily from department to department as it does within departments. This is because informal groups do not cross over to departments and as information often flows most quickly through the grapevine, employees may find it difficult to discover whats happening in other departments. There are many reasons groups are formed and there is always a purpose. The most common reason for people would be to achieve their goals. These goals can be personal, for example if an employee joins the companys football team to enhance their reputation as an employee. It can also give participants a feeling of esteem and status. Another important factor would be the sense of safety and security a group would offer. A cohesive group in an organization such as a staff association or a trade union can provide security against harassment. Another attraction to a group would be the sense of power it could offer a member. A person could possibly influence other members in the group and therefore acquire power. There is also a greater power in numbers than being on your own. Groups are more attractive to individuals and become cohesive when they satisfy needs that an individual would not be able to satisfy without belonging to a group. Groups that are highly cohesive generally have a higher level of performance. Managers and supervisors must foster cohesion in order to achieve goals. They must also direct the effects of that cohesion in order to avoid a cohesive group becoming dysfunctional. The goals of a group should match the goals of the organization in order for the members to perform effectively. Highly cohesive groups are effective at executing activities such as work go slows or stoppages. To understand the nature of groups, one must understand group norms. Group norms lay down the limits of expected and acceptable behaviours for group members. Basically the rules and roles of the group are arrived at, such as the acceptable levels of performance, how members are to interact, what you should not do and other acceptable behaviours which groups are allowed to engage in. Different groups have different norms depending on the values and the norms of the organization. Managers and supervisors should be aware of the significance that group norms can have on an organization and employees conformity to the norms. They should work to develop groups, shape norms and to satisfy group needs and be doing so they will motivate groups to work as organizational allies. Sometimes group norms become so powerful that they impair members abilities to perceive information accurately and this can harm an organization.

Group Effectiveness skills contribute to higher productivity and product quality as people work together to reach common goals. Many workers lack the skills necessary to work in groups because they have not been taught in the past. Teamwork requires good negotiation and interpersonal skills. As our workforce becomes more diverse, workers at all levels must be able to relate to people who are different from them in language, culture, lifestyle, etc. Good interpersonal skills, the ability to solve conflicts, and appreciation for diversity will be necessary to function to the highest degree in the workplace of the future. For example, in an effective group the atmosphere is relaxed and informal, relevant information is discussed and most members participate whereas in an ineffective group the atmosphere suggests tension or boredom and the discussion is dominated by one or two people and is often irrelevant.