Individual and Group Behaviour

06/06/2020 1 By indiafreenotes

Organizational behavior is the study of both group and individual performance and action within an enterprise. This field of study scans human behavior in the working atmosphere.

It determines its effect on job structure, performance, communication, motivation, leadership, decision making abilities etc. The way an individual behaves and behavior as a group have two perspectives internal and external.

Behavior Analysis at Different Levels

Behavior as an individual or in a group is always analyzed by everyone in the organization. It is analyzed at three different levels:

  • Individual level of analysis
  • Group level of analysis
  • Organizational level of analysis
  1. Individual Level of Analysis

Organizational behavior, at this level of analysis massively draws upon psychology, engineering, and medicine. At the individual level of analysis, organizational behavior includes the study of learning, perception, creativity, motivation, and personality.

In addition, it also includes the study of turnover, task performance and evaluation, coordinated behavior, deviant work behavior, ethics, and cognition.

For example − Ram joins a company as an intern and is very open to learning new things but as time passes and he gets promoted his attitude towards his interns becomes rude. This is a fine example of individual level of analysis.

  1. Group Level of Analysis

Organizational behavior, at this level of analysis, draws upon the sociological and socio-psychological discipline. At the group level of analysis, organizational behavior includes the study of group gesture, intra-group and intergroup dispute and attachment.

It is further extended to the study of leadership, power, norms, interpersonal communication, networks, and roles.

An example of this level of analysis: Board of directors of company X decide to give bonus to their workers as they have really worked hard on a certain project.

  1. Organizational Level of Analysis

Organizational behavior, at this level of analysis draws upon sociology and political science. At this level of analysis, organizational behavior includes the study of organizational culture, structure, cultural diversity, inter-organizational cooperation and coordination.

It further includes the study of dispute, change, technology, and external environmental forces. Some other fields of study that adds to the interest of organizational behavior are ergonomics, statistics, and psychometrics.

To have a clear understanding on the topic and avoid any kind of confusion let’s look at an example at different levels and try to analyze it.

Individual Behavior

Individual behavior can be defined as a mix of responses to external and internal stimuli. It is the way a person reacts in different situations and the way someone expresses different emotions like anger, happiness, love, etc.

To get a brief idea about the individual behavior let us learn about the individual behavior framework and other key elements related to it.

Individual Behavior Framework

On the basis of these elements, psychologist Kurt Lewin stated the Field theory and outlined the behavior framework. This psychological theory studies the patterns of interaction between an individual and the environment. The theory is expressed using the formula

B = F(P,E)

where, B: Behavior, F: Behavior Function, P: Person, and E: Environment around the person.

Say for example, a well payed person who loses his job in recession may behave differently when unemployed.

Causes of Individual Behavior

Certain individual characteristics are responsible for the way a person behaves in daily life situations as well as reacts to any emergency situations. These characteristics are categorized as:

(a) Inherited Characteristics

The features individuals acquire from their parents or from our forefathers are the inherited characteristics. In other words, the gifted features an individual possesses by birth is considered as inherited characteristics.

Following features are considered as inherited characteristics:

  • Color of a person’s eye
  • Religion/Race of a person
  • Shape of the nose
  • Shape of earlobes

(b) Learned Characteristics

Nobody learns everything by birth. First our school is our home, then our society followed by our educational institutions. The characteristics an individual acquires by observing, practicing and learning from others and the surroundings is known as learned characteristics.

It consists of the following features:

  • Perception: Result of different senses like feeling, hearing etc.
  • Values: Influences perception of a situation, decision making process.
  • Personality: Patterns of thinking, feeling, understanding and behaving.
  • Attitude: Positive or negative attitude like expressing one’s thought.

Factors Influencing Individual Behavior

The way an individual addresses a situation single-handedly or say in a group is influenced by many factors. The key factors influencing an individual’s attitude in personal as well as social life are:

  • Abilities
  • Gender
  • Race and culture
  • Attribution
  • Perception
  • Attitude

Group Behavior

A group can be defined as two or more interacting and interdependent individuals who come together to achieve particular objectives. A group behavior can be stated as a course of action a group takes as a family. For example: Strike.

Types of Groups

There are two types of groups individuals form. They are formal groups and informal groups. Let us know about these groups.

  1. Formal Groups

These are the type of work groups created by the organization and have designated work assignments and rooted tasks. The behavior of such groups is directed toward achieving organizational goals.

Formal groups can be further classified into two sub-groups:

  • Command Group: It is a group consisting of individuals who report directly to the manager.
  • Interest Group: It is a group formed by individuals working together to achieve a specific objective.
  1. Informal Groups

These groups are formed with friendships and common interests.

These can be further classified into two sub-groups:

  • Task group: Those working together to finish a job or task is known as a task group.
  • Friendship group: Those brought together because of their shared interests or common characteristics is known as friendship group.

For example: A group of workers working on a project and reporting to the same manager is considered as command group, while a group of friends chilling out together is considered as an interest group or say members of a club.

Group Roles

The concept of roles is applicable to all employees within an organization as well as to their life outside the organization. A role is a set of expected behavior patterns attributed to the one who occupies the position demanded by the social unit.

Individuals play multiple roles at the same time. Employees attempt to understand what kind of behavior is expected from them. An individual when presented by divergent role expectations experiences role conflict.

Group Behavior: Example

Let us understand group behavior with the help of an example.

To work on a specific project, we make a group of four members: Rohit, Raj, Sid, and Rahul. It is not possible for anyone of them to complete the project individually, as it may be time-consuming as well as not all the members as individuals have mastered the skills required to complete the project. This indicates the need to come together as a group.

Moving ahead, now let us specify their roles. Rohit is the initiator as he proposes the idea of the project. Raj collects all the information and resources required for the project and becomes the informer. Sid is the clarifier as he interprets the data and saves refined information, while Rahul is the summarizer as he concludes the result of project stating what is to be achieved by the end of the project. These are the task-oriented roles.

When a group of people come together and present their ideas there is a fair chance of collision. Rohit tries to resolve all the disagreements and disputes in the first place and acts as a harmonizer, Sid makes sure that everybody is giving their full support and effort in the project and acts as a gate keeper, Raj is the one encouraging everyone and motivating them when they fail to try harder to complete the project and is the encourager, and Rahul tests the project at each stage and examines the major decision to be made and is acts as the consensus tester. These are the relationship-oriented roles of each member.

Individually each of them have different tasks to fulfill. Rohit tries to be the group leader and impose his ideas on others and we consider him as the dominator, Rahul is always up with excuses to avoid the task given to him and acts as a voider, Raj is the one who opposes everything but is never up with some new idea and becomes the blocker and Sid takes part in every group activity in a non-productive way and becomes the cavalier.