People often take on distinct roles and behaviors when they work in a group. “Group dynamics” describes the effects of these roles and behaviors on other group members, and on the group as a whole. Understanding group dynamics is critical to maximize group performance.
Some examples of important Group Dynamics include:
- Motivation: Social loafing explains that individuals will put forth less effort in a group setting than they would have individually. This phenomenon is one of the main reasons groups can be less productive than the sum of individual effort. Integrating collaboration, clearly defining individual tasks, and giving members a sense of choice can help counteract a decrease of individual effort in groups. Additionally, strategies focusing on increasing motivation can help increase personal responsibility and promote involvement and effort toward the group’s goals.
- Cohesion: Group cohesion, think of ‘morale’ is critical to understanding how a group stays connected over time. Members of strongly cohesive groups are more inclined to participate readily and to stay with the group. The bonds that link groups members to one another and to their group as a whole do not always develop spontaneously.
- Distraction-Conflict: When a person is working in the presence of other people, an interference effect occurs splitting the individual’s attention between the task and the other person. We teach clients, using biofeedback techniques such as the ‘Stroop Task’, to narrow their focus of attention on certain tasks, in which the individual can still excel in the presence of a distraction.