Group Dynamics

01/06/2020 1 By indiafreenotes

The word dynamics means ‘force’. Group dynamics means the study of forces within a group. Since human beings have an innate desire for belonging to a group, group dynamism is bound to occur. In an organization or in a society, we can see groups, small or large, working for the well-being.

The social process by which people interact with each other in small groups can be called group dynamism. A group has certain common objectives and goals and members are bound together with certain values and culture.

In organizational development, group dynamics refers to the understanding of behaviour of people in groups that are trying to solve a problem or making a decision. A good manager can act as a facilitator and assist the group in accompanying its objectives and arrive at correct decisions.

Because people gather in groups for reasons other than task accomplishment, group process occurs in other types of groups such as personal growth groups (e.g., encounter groups, study groups, prayer groups). In such cases, an individual with expertise in group process can be helpful in the role of facilitator.

Importance of Group Dynamism:

  1. The group can influence the thinking of its members. The members are always influenced by the interactions of other members in the group.
  2. A group with a good leader performs better as compared to a group with weak leader.
  3. The group can give the effect of synergy, that is, if the group consists of positive thinkers then its output is more than the double every time.
  4. Group dynamism can give job satisfaction to the members.
  5. The group can also bring team spirit among the members.
  6. Even the attitude, perceptions, and ideas of members depend on group dynamism. For example, the negative thinkers can be converted to positive thinkers with the help of the facilitator.
  7. If the group works as a cohesive group, the cooperation and convergence can result in maximiza­tion of productivity.
  8. Lastly, group dynamism can reduce the labour unrest and labour turnover due to emotional attach­ment among the group members.

Types of Groups:

Groups can be classified in a number of ways like by structure, by regularity of contact, by size, by membership. Sometimes groups are differentiated in terms of size or complexity but it is very difficult to state which group to be considered as large or small.

It is seen that in some groups a single member knows only a few of the group’s members personally or is fully aware of roles or activities each member has to play where as in small groups every member knows each other personally and are also aware of the specific roles or activities in the group. For example, each member of the college science club is likely to know others in the club and is also aware of their duties and interests within the group.

  1. Primary Group and Secondary Group:

If a person interacts on regular basis with other individuals, then these individuals can be considered a primary group. Interaction can be with members of the family, with the colleagues, with neighbours etc., this means whose opinions are valued by that person, on the other hand, if a person interacts only occasionally with others, or whose opinions are not important, then this type of group is called secondary.


Primary and secondary groups can be distinguished on the basis of perceived importance of the group to the individual and the frequency with which the individual interacts with them.

Formal Group and Informal Group:

This is the second useful way to classify groups on the basis of their formal nature. If a group has a highly defined structure, specific roles and authority levels and specific goals then this is called a formal group. For example, in an organization a list of all employees (defined structure), Managing Director, Manager, Assistants etc., (specific roles and authority levels), this shows a formal group.

Goals may be different for different organisations like to assist the homeless, working for the benefit of old people or marketing goals-Increasing sales, promoting the product etc. In these kinds of groups members have a vested interest towards a specific -goal, therefore, they are classified as a formal group.

On the other hand, if a group is more loosely defined, then it is an informal group. For example, four five girls who become friends in the school and now meet only once a month. For the marketer, informal social groups are more important because of loosely defined structure a more conducive environment is available for exchange of information to the members.

Membership Group and Symbolic Group:

Membership Group is a group to which a person belongs or would qualify for membership. For example, college alumni association, IMA, association of doctors, tennis club etc. Symbolic group is a group in which an individual is not likely to receive membership even if he/ she acts like a member by adopting that group’s values, behaviour and attitude. For example, for youngsters cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly etc. may constitute a symbolic group. They try to identify with these players by imitating their behaviour like the style or sometimes by purchasing specific brand of bat, gloves, dress, ball etc.

Even after this, youngsters probably will never qualify for membership as a professional cricketer. Now-a-days marketers are using the celeb­rity for advertising their products, so that people aspire to become like them after owning and using those products. Studying these groups is very important to the marketer as they exert the greatest potential influence on the consumption decisions of an individual.

Consumer Relevant Groups:

To understand in detail the kind of impact specific groups has on individuals, let us study six basic consumer relevant groups:

The Family:

It is seen, that from childhood an individual needs and consumption decisions are influenced by his/her family. Importance of the family in various decisions is based on the frequency of contact that individual has with other family members. Moreover, it is in the family an individual establishes a wide range of values, attitudes and behaviors.

Friendship Groups:

The immediate group which an individual forms after he/she moves out from the house is friendship group. Friendships are also sign of maturity and independence as they represent a breaking away from the family and forming of social ties with the outside world. They are classified as informal groups as they are unstructured and usually lack specific authority levels.

After family an individual’s purchase decisions are most likely influenced by friends. Friends fulfill a wide range of needs like they provide companionship, security and opportunity to discuss the matter which they can’t with the family members.

Friends opinions and preferences are very important for influencing an individual’s behaviour in determining the products or brands he/she actually selects. For example, marketers of products like branded shirts, jewellery and alcoholic beverages depicts friendship situations in the advertisements- ‘Green Label’ -T.V. commercial of alcoholic beverage. Consumers like to seek information from those friends who have values or outlooks similar to their own. The influence of friends will be more in a purchase decision one’s an individual finds greater similarity.

Formal social Groups:

Formal social groups, as the name says, lack intimate relationship and they serve different function for an individual. A person joins this group to fulfill goals like making new friends, pursuing a special interest, meeting important’ people specially for career advancement or also sometimes promoting a specific cause (working for the welfare of orphans).

This type of group interests marketers because members often consume products together, can discuss products or services or stores informally with other members and sometimes can even copy the consumption behaviour of other members whom they admire.

Shopping Groups:

Two or more people who shop together this can be either for food, for clothing or simply to pass the time-can be called a shopping group; people like to shop with others who are pleasant company or who they feel have more experience or knowledge about a desired product or service. Shopping with others reduces the risk that a purchase decision will be socially unacceptable, collective decision is the best in which none of the members knows about the product to be purchased.

Now-a-days, in-home shopping is more common, it consists of a group who gathers together in the home of a friend to attend a “party” which is arranged to demonstrate and evaluate a specific line of products. This kind of approach helps marketers to demonstrate the features of their products simultaneously to a group of potential customers in their surroundings.

Consumer-Action Groups:

Consumer-action groups can be divided into two broad categories: those that organize to correct a specific consumer abuse and then disband, and those that organize to address broader, more pervasive problem areas and operate over an extended or indefinite period of time.

Work Groups:

This type of group also serves as a major influence on the consumption behaviour of members as they spend a sheer amount of time at their jobs (around 48 hours per week). Formal work group consists of those individuals who work together as a team.

Their direct and sustained work relationship offers substantial opportunity for one or more members to influence the consumption related attitudes and activities of other team members. Informal friendship/work groups consists of people who have become friends as a result of working for the same firm, they may/ may not work together as a team. Marketers have recognized that work groups influences consumers brand choices and some­times even the store choice, so now they are redirecting their sales efforts to offices and plants during lunch-hour visits.