Group – A group refers to a body of individuals consisting of two or more persons who interact with each other on regular basis to accomplish a common goal.
Characteristics Or Nature Of Group
(1) Size: The first feature of a group is its size. In order to form a group, there should be at least two persons. A single individual does not form a group. It is important to note that a group does have a minimum limit of persons forming it, but it does not have the maximum limit. There can be any number of persons in a group according to the need.
(2) Interaction with each other: Every member of a group remains in contact with each other. Everybody needs others. The group becomes meaningful only when all the members of the group work together. Every member of the group influences others with his conduct and in turn himself gets influenced by the conduct of other members.
(3) Common Goal: A group is formed with the purpose of achieving a collective goal. In the absence of any collective goal, a group cannot come into existence. Every individual has two goals-individual and collective. When an individual happens to be the member of a group he has to give priority to the collective goal over his individual goal.
(4) Norms: Every group has some norms. These norms are laid down by the members of the group. Normally they are in oral form (or say unwritten). It is obligatory for all the members to observe them. The group puts pressure on all the members to observe these norms.
(5) Informal Leadership: Every group has a leader. The choice of the leader is not formal but a particular member is accepted as a leader because of his ability and experience. Whenever a problem raises its head, the members look up to their leader for guidance. So much so that within a group more than one leader can be accepted in respect of different problems or situations.
(6) Cohesiveness: It is an important characteristic of a group to have some sort of cohesiveness among themselves. It is only this quality that impels individuals to be a member of the group. The group takes care of the interests of its members. It is because of this that an individual feels satisfied after having become the member of a group.
(7) Interdependency: All the members of a group look up to each other for the solution of a problem. It can, therefore, be said that the members depend on each other for the achievement of the objectives.
(8) Regularity: Another important feature of a group is that all its members regularly interact with each other.
(9) Social Pressure: Groups are formed and prosper in society. It is, therefore, their responsibility to take care of the interests of society along with the interests of their members.
(10) Devotion: It is an important characteristic of a group. It means that the success of the group depends on the degree of their devotion to the group.
Need And Importance Of Groups
(1) Security: The chief purpose of the establishment of a group happens to be giving every possible help to the members. That is why everybody feels secured after becoming the member of a group. There are many difficulties in life which unnerves an individual, but he can face and solve these difficulties while living in a group. In short, the group can be described as a security shield.
(2) Status: Every group has its own individuality. People want to give a better image to their social status by joining some renowned groups. When they get the membership of some renowned group their need for social status gets satisfied. These days, to be the member of some such group is considered to be a status symbol.
(3) Esteem Needs: Every individual wants to satisfy their ego. Groups offer such an opportunity. The members in a group always happen to occupy some position or the other. Members who come to occupy some high rank, their need for ego satisfaction is met.
(4) Affiliation: Man is a social animal and he wants to live in society with self-respect. It is necessary that for this purpose he should have friends and relatives with whom he can share his joys and sorrows. A person can satisfy this need by becoming a member of some group. A group teaches its members to live in a friendly and loving manner.
(5) Power: Unity has power. This means that any work that an individual is unable to perform can be done with the help of some collective effort. Group is indeed a very strong organisation which gives us added strength.
(6) Goal Achievement: Groups extend help of their members in their work performance. Consequently, the members can achieve their objectives very easily.
(7) Personality Development: Many researchers have proved that a group has an important contribution in the development of personality. The personality of an individual reflects itself in his thinking, habits and attitudes. All these elements can be easily obtained from the group. A group gives purity to the thoughts of its members, teaches them good habits and helps them in developing a better attitude.
(8) Increase in Efficiency: A group gives love, friendship, help, status, respect, etc. to its members. People live happily in a group. We can unhesitatingly say that a satisfied individual is certain to increase his efficiency.
(9) Attitude Formation: Attitude reflects how one feels about something. The attitude of an individual should undoubtedly be positive. A group plays an important part in the formation of attitude.
(10) Formation of Systematic Society: Man is a social being who likes to live in an orderly society. Group helps establishing friendly relations among different individuals and thus brings them closer which results in a society that is based on some order and system.
Types Of Groups
(1) Formal Group – That group which is formed under the Formal Organisation with the purpose of achieving the objectives of the organisation. For example, 20 people work under the Production Manager. He divides his entire production activity into four parts. Every part of the work is assigned to a group of five persons. In this way four groups are formed. These are all formal groups.
(2) Informal Group – This refers to the automatic formation of a group which emerges at the work place because of common interests and liking of the members. Informal group is formed by some members of the formal group or sometimes by the members of several formal groups. For example, 20 subordinates work under a production manager. He divides his entire work into four parts. Each part of the work is assigned to a group of five people. In this way four groups are formed. They are all formal groups. Now, out of the five people in the first group three have common interests. Because of this they form a group of their own. This is called informal group.
(3) Membership Group – Membership Groups means a group which has actually members of it, e.g., a Club is an example of membership group. Anybody desiring to join it has to obtain its membership. In other words, no body can be a member without first obtaining the membership.
(4) Reference Group – This is a form of group which is used by an individual to establish his identity. It is not necessary that a reference group is a reality, it can be imaginary also. For example, professors of the same subject in different universities who are not bound to a group formally, but even then being scholars of the same subject they are recognised as members of the same group.
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(5) Primary Group – Primary Group means a group of people who have face to face and deep relationship. For example, a group of friends. Such groups have the following features:
- Members have direct relationship.
- Members deeply love one another.
- Members have a feeling of cooperation.
- Members have common interests and objectives.
- There is a free (open) and informal communication among the members.
- The size of these groups is small.
(6) Secondary Group – Group whose members have no face to face and deep relationship, e.g., a social organisation. The following are the main features of these groups:
- Members have indirect relationship.
- Members do not have much love for each other.
- There is a lack of cooperation among the members.
- The interests and likings of the members are not common.
- Members have formal communication. .
- The size of such groups is very large.
(7) Open and Closed Groups – Open groups are those groups whose membership is open which means any number of people can be their members at anytime. There is no special objective of their formation. On the contrary, closed groups mean those groups whose membership is limited. It means new members are not allowed to join. Their formation is due to some secret objective to be achieved.