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Management Concepts & Organisational Behaviour - Group Dynamics

Theories of Group Formation - Group Dynamics

   Posted On :  18.05.2018 07:14 am

The following four theories explain why and how groups are formed:

Theories of Group Formation
 
The following four theories explain why and how groups are formed:
 

Propinquity Theory

 
Individuals affiliate with one another because of spatial or geographical proximity. In an organization, employees who work in the same area of the plant or office would more probably form into groups than those who are not physically located together. The propinquity theory explains a basic factor, i.e., proximity of people at the work place which leads to formation of groups. This phenomenon is observed in daily practice by all of us. However, it is not essential that groups must come up because of proximity of people at the work place. There may be several other reasons for the formation of groups. Thus, the propinquity theory is not analytical; it does not consider the complexities of group behavior.
 

Homans’ Theory

 
According to George C. Homans, “The more activities persons share, the more numerous will be their interactions and the stronger will be their shared activities and sentiments: and the more sentiments persons have for one another, the more will be their shared activities and interactions. The Homans theory has contributed a great deal to the understanding of group formation. It is based on three concepts, namely activities, interactions and sentiments which are directly related to each other. The members of a group share activities and interact with one another not just because of physical proximity, but also to accomplish group goals. The key element is interaction because of which they develop common sentiments for one another.
 

Balance Theory

 
The theory as proposed by Theodore Newcomb states that “persons are attracted to one another on the basis of similar attitudes towards commonly relevant objects and goals. Once a relationship is formed, it strives to maintain a symmetrical balance between the attraction and the common attitudes. If an imbalance occurs, attempts are made to restore the balance. If the balance cannot be restored, the relationship dissolves.” Both propinquity and interaction play a role in the balance theory. Thus, the balance theory is additive in nature in the sense that it introduces the factor of ‘balance’ to the propinquity and interaction factors. There must be a balance in the relationship between the group members for the group to be formed and for its survival. According to this theory groups are formed due to some common attitudes and values such as authority, work, life style, religion, politics, etc. They will strive to maintain a symmetrical balance between the attraction and the common attitudes.

Exchange Theory

 
This theory is based on reward-cost outcomes of interactions. To be attracted towards a group, a person thinks in terms of what he will get in exchange of interaction with the group members. Thus, there is an exchange relationship in terms of rewards and costs of associating with the group. A minimum positive level (rewards greater than costs) of an outcome must exist in order for attraction of affiliation to take place. Rewards from interactions gratify needs while costs incur anxiety, frustrations, embarrassment, or fatigue. Propinquity, interaction and common attitudes all have roles in the exchange theory.
Besides the theoretical explanations for group formation discussed above, employees in an organization may form a group for economic security or social reasons. Economically, workers may form a group into work on a project that is paid for on a group incentive plan or form a union to demand higher wages. Joining a group provides the individual with a united front in combating indiscriminate and unilateral treatment.

 

Tags : Management Concepts & Organisational Behaviour - Group Dynamics
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