The basis of classification - the status of groups - Organizational behavior

Classification grounds - group status

For different reasons, but nevertheless related to the status, the groups are real and conditional, primary and secondary, formal and informal.

Let's start with groups where people can not physically be, unless, of course, they are invited to gather for a special event together. A conditional group is any combination of elements that are allocated (grouped) on a base. The organization can identify a group of middle-level managers, a group of specialists with engineering education, a group of employees who smoke in places not intended for smoking, etc. All these groups are lists containing data about employees, but not groups of people even collected for a while. Members of such groups may never know that they are members of a particular group, but they may experience a special attitude of the leadership or representatives of other groups.

For example, the lists of the group submitted to the award for the year can be made public, and all members of the organization can find out who was lucky enough to be in it. Moreover, those who consider themselves unfairly deprived of the premium may begin to demonstrate a negative attitude towards the members of the group, which they think is a group of leaders' favorites, and the latter, in turn, may not know why they are viewed hostile by their colleagues.

As soon as a conditional group selected on some basis is gathered together, it will become, even temporarily, but quite a real group that has learned that it unites all those gathered here and has the opportunity to get acquainted, strengthen contacts, form microgroups within this group, etc.

Another kind of unusual, but real groups, are virtual groups, especially easily generated by the global Internet. They can be small and, therefore, contact, can be medium or large, i.e. partly contact, but what unites them (working on a common project, a common interest, etc.), gives grounds to talk about a relatively stable in time social association. Where is more real than, for example, sitting at the neighboring tables of a colleague in the division of the organization, in which one of them works more or less.

Another example of groups that are not always contact, and, moreover, real, are reference groups, and ingroups (as opposed to outgroups). These groups can be considered conditional. However, they are distinguished by any person not so much rationally, consciously (according to a certain clearly formulated criterion), as emotionally or even subconsciously. There may be several people in the organization who are sympathetic to a particular employee. He can regard them as the only noble, clever or just people, allotted from the whole unit. Therefore, feeling his involvement in this conditional group, he can answer to the head that "we will never agree to this" or "we always do this and that way," feeling inside this group, and opposing ourselves to those who are not among them and is located outside the (out) boundaries of a group that exists only in his imagination. Real colleagues with more or less believable properties attributed to them can exist, and a social group of them, united precisely by this feature, can not be recognized as any of them by any one.

Is it possible to consider an in group as a synonym for referents, t.t. significant for a person, authoritative groups? No. There are groups (for example, highly qualified specialists) who are highly respected by a particular employee of the organization. They can be extremely important for him, he can orient himself in his decisions to their opinion or even on his ideas about how they would act in a given situation. However, he may not feel his involvement in a group of such ideal specialists, although in the future, perhaps, he will try to become such as each of them. Consequently, this group for him is not an in group, being thus referent. The members of the reference group can be historical characters or ideal models of exemplary behavior that do not exist not only in the given organization, but also in the reality that is real for the person.

Why do we talk about these mechanisms of individual self-determination and behavior in the section on group behavior? Because the art of managing group behavior involves the construction of ideal samples that become meaningful for the staff in the performance of group tasks facing them, that is, with the influence on the formation of reference groups for employees. This is connected, in particular, with the promotion of best practices and the enhancement of the social status of the best employees of the organization.

Now consider the primary and secondary groups. In the sociology of large groups, attention is drawn to the emotionality of specific interpersonal contacts of members of primary (small) groups and the loss of close emotional ties and even some depersonalization among participants in larger groups, including primary groups and passing from immediate to indirect communication. Such groups are often the teams of large units, the work collectives of the organization as a whole and any other large groups with which the person identifies. In this case, in his small contact group, he almost always has close and, as a rule, emotionally colored relationships. And in secondary groups (associations) , he simply can not feel strong emotions about each member, even emotionally significant for him a large group. Thus, a member of the trade union committee in a crisis enterprise can have close interaction with other members of the committee, but his main emotions are related to caring for the representatives of his primary group, of which he is actually a delegate, although he can also take care of the interests of other employees of a large company.

The concept of a primary group is used in very different contexts, which greatly blurs the meaning they mean. So, sometimes the primary group is perceived in the temporary aspect - just like a newly assembled group of people who have not yet moved to another stage of their group development. That is, the group in its original, initial or primary state.

Often talk about the territorial aspect of primary groups - all members of the organization are assigned to any unit operating in a specific location. But in this regard, organizations can happen such incidents: the company will sell its products to shopping centers in all regions of the country and has allocated 26 branches, uniformly managed by the director of regional business. And those sales that are made in the Moscow region, are already supervised by the head office, i.e. are not perceived by another region and under the management of the director of regional business do not fall, which raises the status of the same sales managers, reinforced in the belief about the cardinal specificity of their work and, therefore, the need for an appropriate system of payment for their work.

By analogy with Japanese management, it is now increasingly spoken of as primary groups, as those places where the real value for the client (as opposed to the auxiliary, managerial and other non-core business processes of the company). In this case, use the Japanese word gemba - even top managers should periodically be on gemba, while not giving orders, but soaking up the spirit and problems that exist on these most important for the organization workplaces.

But the most common use of the concept of "primary group" is associated with the aspect of vertical representation. Thus, in party organizations, even the most senior members of the leadership are often assigned to a primary cell. From there they are delegated to higher levels, some of them belong to certain committees, including the central committee, sometimes remaining members of primary groups, and sometimes moving to groups of higher level.

In ordinary, non-partisan organizations, employees immediately find jobs in various levels of divisions (some take the average level, someone at the level of senior management or top management). But each of them has his own direct leader, and in this sense the leaders of all divisions are representatives of primary groups, caring and managing the work of their immediate subordinates. How can they be called line managers, and linear units by primary groups? Someone thinks that yes, someone, that is not. Sometimes all immediate (and not superior) leaders are called linear, sometimes not, assuming that only the lowest, basic, primary, primary line can be headed by line managers. And the leaders of the following levels are called middle and top management. In this case, even English-language texts use the term supervisor sometimes applied to line managers, managers of grass-roots or basic workers, and sometimes to supervisors (observers, auditors) who represent the interests of the company as a whole and perform functions not only of management but only their control component.

Another kind of groups, sometimes defined in the aspect of primary-secondary, are all sorts of temporary or project group. Since they have a goal to solve any significant problem for the organization, they are sometimes called problematic or target groups. However, both of these terms are fixed in perception with other meanings: they do not solve, but create problems for someone and are not subjects, but the objects of targeted research and influences (for example, in marketing), so these terms in other senses are best not to use.

Unlike primary, or natural, teams (groups working directly at their people's workplaces), secondary groups are also called cross-functional teams or working groups. Secondary these groups are sometimes considered because they do not carry out their primary, primary function (accounting should carry out accounting), but some other additional to the main functions (a group of several accountants , for example, can participate in the preparation of a corporate holiday). However, the groups created for these secondary activities are, as a rule, very active small contact groups that are not at all inclined to mediate, emotionally and detached interactions of their members among themselves, which is typical of classical secondary groups. Therefore, in this case, it is better not to speak about the secondary nature of the design groups, but about their temporality, as a rule, limited by the period of implementation of the corresponding project. In cases where, as it often happens, the project is completed and the project team officially ceases to exist, it can become a very close-knit company of friends, changing the status from formal to informal.

Let's now consider formal and informal groups. The reason for the formation of informal groups is the personal election of members of groups and sometimes common members of the group. The condition for the approval of formal groups is the official decisions of the authorities.

A clear organizational structure, as a rule, unambiguously positions the members of the organization as belonging to a particular subdivision with corresponding subordination to the head of this subdivision. That is, the employee is officially assigned to a certain place (cell) in the structure of the organization by an order for the company. Thus, all employees in the same department become members of the general formal group, regardless of whether they like each other humanly or do not like them. At the same time, a small group (department, for example) may not be very attractive in terms of staff for the employee, the middle group (department, for example) may include several sympathetic specialists and maybe even managers, but a large group (the company as a whole ) can cause a sense of pride in their achievements, which strengthens the desire of this employee to remain a member of such a wonderful organization. In order to overcome antipathy, he can begin to idealize the top management or leading experts of this company, including them in his reference group, and also, most likely, will build close contacts with the nearest colleagues in the department, creating with them an informal microgroup (small group) formal average, but not small group (department).

How to manage such intricacies of sympathy-antipathies and not always obvious attachments and contacts? Weak leaders are seen only by formal groups and can spend a lot of effort in creating a cohesive team of their department. Strong, i.e. "deeply thinking," managers try to take into account informal associations and even reference groups for different people in interaction with people formally subordinate to them. It is easiest to do this, having a mutual respect with informal leaders within formal organizational groups.

But even within formal organizational structures, not everything is unambiguous. Modern organizations prefer complex structures, and in them, for example in matrix or in project structures, the essential principle of classical management is violated - the principle of one-man management. When crossing the territorial principle of separation of groups with the functional principle of separation and subordination, it is difficult for the employee to decide which group he should prioritize himself. Thus, branch marketing specialists, occupying workplaces in branches and administratively subordinate to the director of a branch, may be more strongly connected to work with the director of marketing, who is in the head office. It is he who can actually manage their work, send them on business trips, approve bonuses and grant holidays (sometimes coordinating their decisions with the branch manager, and sometimes not), hold online meetings in the group of their indirect but functional subordinates, only occasionally collecting them together. And for such an employee, the branch marketing team can be the main small formal (secondary) group, more significant than the branch colleagues with whom he communicates mainly at lunchtime and on the way home.

So, if we are talking about social groups, we are looking for a uniting people. Since there are many signs of classifying groups, there are many types of groups. At the same time, the small group as a contact group and relatively stable in time can serve as the most indisputable example of a social group. The relationship between the various types of social groups is clearly shown in Fig. 4.1.

Different types of social groups

Fig. 4.1. Different types of social groups

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