Sunday, March 18, 2007

What are group dynamics, and to what extent are they necessary in an organization?

Group dynamics occur in all organizations and yes, they are 100% necessary. The term appears most often in negative contexts like, "this group has a problem with its dynamics."

"Group dynamics" is the name often given to the collective human behavior in a group and refers to the way interactions occur among its members. A group exists to undertake something that a single person cannot do. If the capacity of a group is less than the sum of the capacities of the individuals the group, that means one or more in the group are dis-empowered and there is a problem with the dynamics.

The source of poor group dynamics can be simple or complex. The many factors involved include: the purpose or objectives of the group, the composition of its membership, the group's leadership, the way the group conducts its business, and its culture.

There will be no problem with group dynamics if each member of the group is satisfied with all such factors. This is an unlikely condition. Bad group dynamics do not support sustainability and without intervention they will bring the group down. In contrast, with good group dynamics, the group will continually adjust these factors to make them more favorable. The group will tend to be self-organizing.

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