The Value of Group Development to Organizations
Groups aren't the answer to every kind of work. In fact, there are certain tasks at which one person will always outperform a group, for instance, where talent or experience is the critical performance factor. Who ever heard of group writing a novel, for example?
But groups can be particularly good at combining talents and providing creative solutions to unfamiliar problems. Whenever there is no established approach or solution to a task, a well-developed group's wider range of knowledge, skills, and behaviors provides a distinct advantage over individuals working separately.
How groups help organizations
The main advantage of group-based work to organizations is that it more fully utilizes the workforce. Most people tend to be less productive when working alone. Being in a group, whether loose or structured, seems to be motivating in and of itself.
Even people in jobs with high autonomy (for example, teachers) are more effective when there's some degree of group cohesion. And when it comes to ethics, research shows that the collective self-monitoring in groups makes them a safer place to delegate responsibility than to individuals.
Even when one person could make a decision or solve a problem alone, there often are benefits to involving a group:
- Group participation reduces implementation time and energy.
- There are implementation factors that group members understand better than solo decision-makers.
- Groups that understand an organization's strategy can solve work-related problems on the fly, saving time and money.
How groups help individuals
Most people consider work group membership an incentive. That's because it lets them achieve things no one person could do alone. Healthy groups enhance self-esteem, while responsibility and accountability are shared. This puts less stress on each individual.
All in all, group relationships satisfy our deep social and emotional needs, such as for belonging, recognition, contribution, and influence. Studies show that when work groups constantly are broken up, work-life satisfaction falls and group turnover rises. On the flip side, when time is taken to form, develop, and maintain working groups, job satisfaction, productivity, and retention all improve.