Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Working in Groups

If you are interested in group behavior, I recommend reading Social Facilitation at Psyblog.
Below is my story, it describes how I became interested in group behaviour at work.
I was at work on a day when things weren't going well, people weren't co-operating and the problems were getting bigger. It started me thinking about team work. One of the questions that popped in my head and stuck was; is it better to work in a team or by yourself? I don't imagine their is a universal answer to this question. e.g two heads are better then one vs too many cooks spoil the broth.
Lets explore..
Many small things can affect how the team performs, from personalities, moods to styles of communication.

At some point during my contemplation I started to think about chess and compared two games
  1. team chess, a group of people playing another group of people.
  2. regular chess, one against one
It was at that moment the light bulb turned on in my head. I came to understand how important the context was. Lets look a little deeper
  1. The game of chess is simpler one against one.
  2. Team chess is complicated, because now everyone's opinions have to be considered. Who would make the move? Who had the power to choose the right move?
  3. On the other hand if I had to do all the tasks at my job it would be impossible because there is no way I could fill all the rolls. It would mean having to learn more and spend more time to complete all the tasks, in fact I could not imagine doing everything.
This brings to attention the importance of roles. Clearly defined roles means people know their responsibility. To win you need to take action that plans for the future. A winning group strategy would need to be followed by all the members in the group.