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Group Dynamics -- Question & Answer Listing  
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Question / Answer

Question:
What are some techniques a group leader can use to manage disruptive behaviors?

Answer:
There are a number of things you can do to manage disruptive behaviors. For example, if there are members of the group who seem disconnected (daydreaming, reading their mail, doodling, etc.), you may try engaging them in a group discussion by specifically asking them for their input. This technique also works with individuals having sidebar discussions. Sometimes disruptive behavior indicates that the group needs a break. If you need to, use this time to talk with the disruptive individual(s) about the situation. If an individual’s behavior is detrimental to the group’s success, you may have to ask him/her to leave the group. These are just a few ideas on how to manage disruptive behaviors in a group setting. Learn more techniques from the resources provided.

Question:
What are the different stages of group development?

Answer:
Many resources on group dynamics refer to the five stages of group development originally devised by Dr. Bruce Tuckman, a renowned educational psychologist and professor at Ohio State’s School of Educational Policy and Leadership. Tuckman published his 4-stage model in 1965 (Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing) and added a fifth stage (Adjourning) in the 1970’s. The model basically refers to the way the group develops maturity, ability, and establish relationships. The leader changes his/her leadership style as the group moves through each of the stages. (Reference: http://www.gmu.edu/student/csl/5stages.html) The Forming stage refers to when the group first gets together. There is some uncertainty among group members as they are unsure of their purpose and their involvement. Members feel each other out, learning their similarities and differences. The leader’s job in this stage is to guide them, and help establish an environment where group members feel safe and willing to participate. The Storming stage is characterized by competition and conflict as group members begin to express their feelings, opinions, and concerns to the group. There is often a great deal of frustration among group members during this stage. There may be some power struggles as the group members’ begin to exhibit their individual strengths and weaknesses. Some members may be very vocal, while others may remain silent. As a leader, it is important to listen and continue coaching the group, encouraging them to begin working together. Group cohesion begins to occur in the Norming stage. Individuals become a team and begin to contribute and work as team members. Clear expectations, identity, and sense of belonging exist. The group should be most productive in the Performing stage. People can work independently, or with others – all working effectively toward shared goals. Members support each other and group loyalty is intense. Tuckman refers to the final stage as Adjourning, which refers to the termination of the group and generally includes recognition for participation and achievement of group members and the opportunity for members to say personal goodbyes. The Group Dynamics classes offered by the Army Family Team Building program refers to this stage as the Transforming stage because there is often member turnover at this point, roles are often redefined and new goals developed. Learn more about group dynamics and the different stages of group development from the references provided.

Question:
What are various factors that affect group behavior?

Answer:
There are a number of factors that affect group behavior. For example, all members of a group bring their own personalities. These different personalities have an affect on the overall group’s behavior, as does a group member’s feeling of acceptance by other members. The roles and responsibilities held by individual members – or that develop among the member as a result of their personalities and relationship with one another affects the group’s behavior and overall performance. Other factors include things like trust, group norms, and the group’s purpose has an affect as well. Learn more about group dynamics from the resources listed.

Question:
What is the differenct between teams and groups.

Answer:
Teams are generally formed for a specific purpose. Team members work cohesively, share leadership roles, and are focused on a common goal. They often have shared values, complementary skills, trust among one another, and their success is dependent on the overall performance of their collective efforts. Learn more about teams and groups from the references provided. Groups are generally formed to support an organizational purpose. A strong, clearly defined leader typically leads the group. Although individuals may share a common purpose, their success is usually measured indirectly based either on individual efforts and/or the overall success of the organization (e.g., sales, profit margins, etc.). Group members tend to work individually as opposed to collectively.

Question:
Why is it important to demonstrate compassion when facilitating dialogue within a group?

Answer:
Individuals who show compassion seem more approachable and understanding. Demonstrating compassion to group members often encourages them to participate more in group discussions because they don’t feel threatened. This is especially important with individuals new to the group.
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