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Study Guides for Level 2 “Management Of Group And Team Performance”

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Key Points and Review Activities are listed for each module:

Module 1

  1. Talk to employees in your unit about the Personal Style Inventory. Use the resultant information to assist you in assigning work.
  2. The Personal Style Inventory can be useful in delegation. Use it to identify the most appropriate employee to whom to delegate a specific task.
  3. When constituting a committee or task force it is important to consider task and relationships. Use the Personal Style Inventory to help you select persons who complement each other and whose strengths can contribute to task accomplishment.

Module 2

  1. No matter how big, how small, or how organized a group is, it has certain basic functions, needs, or essential requirements because of its very groupness. Once people are established as a group, they must learn to function as a group by setting up rules and routines designed to keep the group going (pattern maintenance). In addition to staying together as a group, people like to feel good about being a member of that group or being in that group (integration). Most groups also have a need to achieve something in the form of an explicit or artificial mission, goal, or objective (goal attainment), as well as a need to recognize, encourage, or accept change (adaptation).
    A formal leader runs the risk of not paying sufficient attention to all four needs, which suggests that one leader cannot do it all. The formal leader should therefore informally encourage other members of the group to pay attention to unmet needs. The essential point is that all four needs must be met in order for there to be a fully functioning and effective group.
  2. Review and reflect on Kinds Of Small Groups which illustrates three types of groups:
    • routine task and informational groups
    • problem solving group
    • persuasion or negotiation group
    These three types of groups can be distinguished on the basis of differences in structure (the framework within which the group is meeting), strategy (the particular techniques that are used within that framework), and style (the feeling of the meeting). You should be able to characterize groups on the basis of differences in structure, strategy, and style.

Module 3

  1. The basic activity in the conflict module was the blue/green exercise, where we learned that we have a cultural instinct for competition that often overrides our need to cooperate in organizations. Competition is good in certain organizational situations (certainly it can be exciting), but in many situations it can be dysfunctional. As we saw in the blue/green exercise, the instinct for competition will trigger naturally unless we, in organizations, structurally and behaviorally support and encourage cooperation.
  2. In Section 5, five specific methods or styles of dealing with organizational conflict are defined in terms of two behavioral dimensions: assertiveness and cooperativeness. When a manager is both assertive and cooperative, the conflict style is problem solving-a win/win strategy. When a manager is neither assertive nor cooperative, the conflict management style is avoiding or withdrawing-lose/lose strategy. When a manager is assertive but not cooperative, the conflict management style is forcing or competing-a win/lose strategy. When a manager is cooperative and unassertive, the conflict management style is smoothing or accommodating-a lose/win strategy. When a manager uses a mix, a combination, or an alternative of problem solving, avoiding, forcing, and smoothing, the conflict management style is bargaining or compromising-neither a winning nor a losing strategy. You should be familiar with the five conflict management styles and how each is a mix of either high or low assertive and cooperative behaviors. You should also be familiar with how each style can be characterized in terms of win/lose strategies.
  3. We used the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument to identify and analyze our basic conflict management styles. Review this instrument and recollect your dominant conflict management style. Recall class discussions on the personal implications of the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, and review the narrative descriptions of the five styles in Section 5.
  4. Be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the five conflict management styles as well as when you should use each style and when you should not. Be especially familiar with the interpretation section of the Thomas-Kilmann so that you can identify those situations where each style may be appropriate.

Module 4

  1. Cohesive groups can be vulnerable to groupthink, a decision making pathology which can occur in small groups. Recall the film on groupthink and review its symptoms in Section 2. Reflect on the group making the virotonin decision in the groupthink film and on the behaviors exhibited by that group which were symptoms of groupthink. Be able to recognize specific symptoms associated with groupthink.
  2. Irving Janis, who has proposed the groupthink hypothesis, used the Cuban Missile Crisis to illustrate some of the points in Section 3, Groupthink-What to Do About It. For example, to offset groupthink the leader might occasionally be absent from the meeting (the way President Kennedy was during the Cuban Missile Crisis meetings) or call in outside experts as resource persons who are encouraged to disagree with the group's assumptions (as President Kennedy called in Dean Acheson and others). You should be able to recognize the particular strategies proposed by Janis offset groupthink.
  3. Another decision making pathology which can affect a small group is the Abilene Paradox, or making group decisions which are the opposite of what each individual really wants to do. Reread Section 4, The Abilene Paradox: Symptoms so that you are able to define the Abilene Paradox, understand it as the inability to manage agreement, and recognize its symptoms. A recommended general strategy to monitor and improve group dynamics and to offset decision making pathologies such as Groupthink or the Abilene Paradox is the regular use of critique. Three conditions are required for critique: people have to listen carefully during the meeting (active listening); to give feedback on what happened in the meeting (effective feedback); and to be willing to disclose the feelings they had during the meeting (disclosure). It is important that the group leader model these behaviors for the group members as well as verbally encourage them.

Module 5

  1. The leader of a group meaning must explicitly manage task and process dimensions for the group. To do this, the leader must be skilled in knowing when and how to apply each of twelve roles or interventions. Task interventions for the meeting leader include: information gathering, information giving, initiating, clarifying, closure seeking, and summarizing. Process functions for the meeting leader include: supporting, modifying, expressing feelings, reconciliation, appraising, and confronting.
  2. Review Section 4 which we used as a response sheet to the film Meetings in Progress (with Mac and his group). Recall which of the choices Mac selected at each critical point in his meeting and why he made those choices. Try to correlate each of the twelve critical incidents reflected on the Film Response Sheet with the twelve interventions which can be made by the group leader. That is, try to identify which of the interventions is being illustrated for each of the critical points on the Film Response Sheet.
  3. The types of questions a leader asks in a group meeting are an important strategy to control dysfunctional behaviors. The essential skill which