▪The success or failure of a group depends upon so many factors.
Group member resources, structure (group size, group roles, group norms, and group cohesiveness), group processes (the communication, group decision making processes, power dynamics, conflicting interactions, etc.) and group tasks (complexity and interdependence). Let us take a look at how Group Size and Group Status affect group dynamics. Group Size affecting Group Dynamics: It is vital when dealing with any size or composition of group that the teacher is aware of the ways in which groups may interact. As well as the physical environment and seating arrangements, other factors such as the size of the group influence the group dynamics. The size of the group places limitations on the tasks and functions that it might be expected to perform. The table below indicates some of the constraints and positive functions relating to group size. Size Task function Affective functions IndividualsPersonal reflection: - generating personal data Personal focus increases ‘safety’:- personal focus means positive start - brings a sense of belonging and ownership Pairs/threesGenerating data: - checking out data - sharing interpretations Builds sense of safety:
- good for basic communication skills practice (e.g. listening, questioning, clarifying) - good size for co-operative working - builds sense of confidence by active involvement (self-belief) - lays foundation for sharing and co-operating in bigger group - reticent members can still take part Fours/tensGenerating ideas: - criticising ideas - usually sufficient numbers to enable allocation of roles and responsibilities, therefore wide range of work can be tackled (e.g. project work, problem-based learning, syndicate exercises) Decreasing safety for reticent members: - at lower end of the range still difficult for members to ‘hide’, this risk increases with size - strong can still enthuse the weak - size of group still small enough to avoid splintering - sufficient resources to enable creative support More than tenHolding on to a task focus becomes difficult: Difficulties in maintainng supportive climate:
- size hinders discussion but workshop activities possible, e.g. using purposeful sub-groups to address some of the issues - ‘hiding’ becomes common - ‘dominance’ temptation and leadership struggles a risk - divisive possibilities with spontaneous splintering into sub-groups Understanding the way in which the size of a group impacts on function is useful if teachers are planning to break groups into sub-groups or if they only have a small number of learners with them. Group Status affecting Group Dynamics: The status here means the position or reputation of a group within the organization. A group which is recognized throughout the company for its achievement, teamwork and cohesiveness, holds better goodwill or high status.