Group roles

 Groups and Teams in Organisations  Comments Off on Group roles
Jun 222016

Roles in a group

In the workplace groups are organized and have a number of properties as a result, including:

  • roles,
  • norms,
  • status,
  • size,
  • cohesiveness and
  • diversity.

What is a role?

A role can be defined as the set of expected behavioral patterns for an employee occupying a certain position. Note that this definition also  extends outside the workplace into other positions held in a family and general society.

As you can guess by the word “role”, it seems to imply some form of acting, such as a movie star having a role in a movie. Essentially, there is some natural overlap here as people in particular roles will adopt different behavioral patterns across their roles. For example, an executive working in an office will behave differently in that role, as compared to when they are home with their family and children playing the role of a parent.

Multiple roles

It is important to understand that people will play a number of roles both inside and outside the workplace. This will mean that individuals behavior vary across their roles on an ongoing basis.

For example, inside a workplace one individual could be a specialist/expert in a particular department, they could also be a manager of staff, as well as being a mentor to new staff, and they could also be somebody who represents the organization to external parties, and so on. While outside of the workplace they could have the roles of partner, parent, member of s sporting team, involved in the community or community club, and so on.

While most individuals will behave in a manner appropriate to the role at the time, it is also likely that this overlap of roles is likely to influence their behavior and decisions in other situations, and even may create personal conflicts (please refer to role conflict below).

Role perception

Role perception refers to how we perceive that we need to act in the role that we are “playing” at the time, either in a workplace or a personal environment. For example, if you were a manager in the accounting and finance area, you might see the role of that manager as being conservative, considered, and analytical. Whereas, if you were a manager in the advertising department, then you might see the role as creative, outgoing, ideas-driven, and so on.

It is also likely that the perception of the different roles – accounting versus advertising in this case – would also influence that person’s appearance, dress, degree of social interaction with others, the use of humor in the workplace, and so on – as perceived as necessary by them to play the role.

The same role perception influence carries into an individual’s personal life, where they think about how a partner, or parent, or teammate, or a member of the local community or club, should be acting.

Role expectations

While role perception is the individual’s perception of their own role, role expectations is how others perceive how the role should be played. For example, again using the accounting versus advertising manager positions above – many people would have an expectation that an accountant is quite conservative in their dress and commentary, while generally expecting the advertising manager to be more creative, energetic and outgoing.

You should note that these role expectations and perceptions are strongly tied to a stereotype view of the role.

Psychological contract

In terms of role expectations, there is an unwritten “agreement” that could be considered a psychological contract in the workplace. Because it is unwritten, it is not actually a contract of any form, but an expectation on how you should behave/interact in your role and how the role (you) should be treated by management and the organization.

Sometimes this information is captured in various human resources policies and conditions. Some organizations would have policies on how to interact with employees, counsel them, motivate them and so on.

The important thing to note here is that role expectations and the psychological contract works on both sides – that is, it is a set of mutual expectations between management and employees.

Role conflict

As highlighted above, individuals will play multiple roles in their life, including multiple roles in the same workplace. If there is a difference required between their values and/or decision making across their various roles, then this will lead to potentially role conflict.

As an example of potential role conflict, consider an individual who has the role of partner and parent in their home life, and who is also a human resources executive. Let’s now assume that they are required to structure a policy on parental leave. In this case it is likely that their personal views on family and work life balance will influence their parental policy development to some extent.

To extend this example into a more conflicted situation, assume that this human resources manager was directed by senior management to reduce or eliminate parental benefits throughout the organization as a cost-saving measure. This directive is likely to be in direct conflict with their values as a parent and their role as a professional human resources manager.

Role adaptation

Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment

Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment was an identity and role experiment conducted at Stanford University many years ago. As part of this experiment they effectively created a “prison” and hired relatively average/normal students – in terms of personality and intelligence – to play the role of either a guard or a prisoner.

Obviously all the participants knew it was an experiment for psychological research purposes, and not a real prison, but they were willing to play along and act out their roles for the exercise.

The “prisoners” first had to adjust to the other students (that is, those acting as guards) having full authority over them, which should have been a difficult adjustment for some independent young students.

Consistent with social identity theory – where people will associate with their membership group and disassociate with people not in their group – this experiment set up an “us versus them” mentality. As a result, the students acting as guards became more aggressive and authoritative towards the “prisoners”, while prisoner students became quite passive and almost defeated.

What this experiment highlights from a role perspective is that people can adapt to new roles relatively quickly. For instance, this exercise/experiment only ran for six days yet in that time these independent thinking students became totally engrossed and committed to their new roles.

They took on the behavior of the roles based on their role perception and role expectations, as highlighted above,. This means that they fell into a stereotype perception of how they should behave in a particular situation and role.

 Posted by

The punctuated-equilibrium model

 Groups and Teams in Organisations  Comments Off on The punctuated-equilibrium model
Jun 222016

Primarily due to the task allocated and the time period involves, temporary groups do not have the capacity (or interest) to progress through the five stage group-development model (that is, from forming, to storming, to norming, to performing, to adjourning).

Temporary groups are usually formed with the expectation of completing a task within a limited time period and then disbanding (adjourning). Often these groups are formed from representatives or experts from various parts of the organization that bring particular skills to the project.

Therefore there is a different sequence of group development for these time restricted temporary groups.

The punctuated-equilibrium model

Early stage/meeting

With the punctuated-equilibrium model, the general agreement of the project/team is usually outlined at the very first meeting. This often occurs by discussion of the more senior people within the group, or potentially a formally designated project manager.

At this initial meeting it is even possible that a timetable, along with deadlines and responsibilities, is allocated to various members of the  group.

Because this is a temporary group, it is most likely that the group’s tasks will be in addition to their usual workload. As a consequence, the individual members will have a conflict of competing priorities and, as a result, there is a tendency to delay action on the new project. This means that in the early part of the group’s timetable there is a relatively high amount of inertia and lack of progress.

Inertia example

A good example of this type of inertia would be for a university student that has been allocated to a group project. Often the team project is outlined early in the semester, but nothing much is progressed until much later when the deadline becomes more evident. Perhaps surprisingly the same concept applies in a workplace when there is a set task and a reasonable deadline to deliver.


Generally around halfway through the project’s deadline, there will be a follow-up meeting for the temporary group, in order to check-in on progress to date. It is common that at around this halfway point, that a follow-up meeting triggers a greater sense of urgency and the result is a transition in the thinking of the members of the group to their approach to the project.

This transition will drive more action and the progression/completion of key tasks, often in a short period of time. However, once things are back on track, there is a potential for a second period of inertia – as individual members tend to relax having completed their own immediate priorities and tasks.

Second inertia example

Again using the example of a group university/college assignment, this is the pattern that students within groups will usually follow. An initial meeting at the start of the semester (or task allocation) to outline responsibilities.  A check-in at a later stage often reveals that nobody has really started the project. This triggers the individual students to complete their assigned tasks, but once completed they again switch off free (inertia) as they are satisfied that their part of the project is now up-to-date.


Near the end of the project (that is, the deadline is looming), there is a significant level of workload undertaken in trying to complete and finalize the project as a team. This occurs as often the finalization of the overall project usually needs to be coordinated as a team effort.

The punctuated-equilibrium model = stop/start approach

As you can see, the above stages (outline the tasks/responsibilities – inertia – progress tasks at the midpoint – inertia – rush to complete project by the deadline), represents a stop/start pattern of work commitment.

This pattern of stop/start work load is referred to as the “punctuated-equilibrium model”.”Punctuated” itself means divided or interrupted, while equilibrium refers to a sense of balance. Therefore, the work task will generally be stopped (punctuated) when the task is in equilibrium (that is, no pressing deadlines). When it is out of equilibrium (project task not being adequately progressed according to the deadline) then activity will occur.

According to researchers of this model, the first period of inertia lasts until around half way through the time allocated for the project. This is because there seems to be a recognition that the team has used up half their time that they need to make something happen.

This punctuated-equilibrium model is more applicable to groups that have a reasonable time deadline period, as well as the ability to allocate tasks somewhat individually, and a project that can be mapped out at the start(rather than requiring continual assessment and decisions).



 Posted by

The five stage group-development model

 Groups and Teams in Organisations  Comments Off on The five stage group-development model
Jun 222016

The five stage group-development model suggests that all groups go through distinct stages in their overall development. These five stages are:

  • the forming stage
  • the storming stage
  • the norming stage
  • the performing stage
  • the adjourning stage

Forming stage

This is the first stage of group formation. At this stage, there is a degree of uncertainty about the group, individual relationships may be new, and standard and accepted approaches and behaviors are generally unclear

As an example, a good way of thinking about this stage is when students first form their group for a group project in university or college. They may not know each other very well or at all, they have limited understanding of how the group will work together, what each other’s strengths are, the best way to interact with each other, and so on.

At the initial group formation, there may be some members who are reluctant to join the group or see themselves as being more individual. Throughout this stage of group development, there should be a realignment of attitude over time so that individuals start to see themselves as part of the overall group.

Storming stage

The second stage of group development is the storming stage. As suggested by the word “storm”, there is some potential conflict involved between the individual members. This conflict usually occurs because individual views and approaches need to be aligned with overall group thinking. Occasionally there are very dominant individuals who want to make all the decisions, but in a relatively equal group this is unlikely to be agreed by all its members.

Sometimes there is conflict on over who should be the group leader (if there is one) or how the group should proceed and whose plan should be implemented.

It is common to see the storming stage of group development portrayed in reality TV shows where contestants are required to form groups for an activity or task. Typically, you will see some of these contestants continuing to “battle for control”. To move past this stage, there must be an acceptance to make decisions on behalf of the team, rather than being focused on individual decisions.

Norming stage

The norming stage occurs when the group finally settles into some sort of agree pattern of behavior and decisions. This is after the conflict has been resolved from the storming stage (perhaps not to everyone satisfaction), but sufficiently enough for the group to go forward on a consistent basis with an agreed plan and approach to their operations.

Performing stage

The performing stage of group-development is when the group is focused on getting the job done. At this stage, the team’s focus passes to the actual activities and tasks required. The individuals of the group are keen to move forward and complete the objective.

Please note, that the word “performing” does not necessarily relate to high-performance, it simply relates to the completion of the task.

Adjourning stage

The final stage of group development relates to temporary teams and groups, where there is an end to the group and the individuals stop being a group.

Depending upon the group dynamics and the success of team, there will be mixed reactions and emotions in regards to the finalization of the group. For example, some members may be quite upset that the project has come to an end, whereas others would be pleased that the project has finalized. This would be due to a combination of personal interactions along the way, as well as the overall enjoyment/satisfaction of the project and its ultimate success/failure.

Group performance should improve over time

The research into this five stage group model research generally suggests that group performance will increase over time as the group moves through its different stages. This occurs because a more established team will have a better alignment of skills, a clearer agreement of goals and approaches, and the synergy of the overall team and the individual’s skills and capabilities.

As you can probably imagine, each of these stages may take considerable time to progress. This time factor will relate to the importance of the task, the personality of the individuals involved, as well as the individuals’ experience in dealing with these sorts of groups. For example, an experienced manager who has been assigned to multiple project teams previously would have a good sense of how teams evolve, as opposed to somebody relatively new to organizational teams.

The expectation of conflict

There needs to be an expectation that groups will move through this form of process. For example, the second stage – the storming stage – is sometimes viewed as unusual or negative. With the result that on occasions the “conflicting” team members being counseled. However, this storming stage should be viewed as a natural progression of a group development and is an important stage to help clarify roles, plans and the working process.

Inefficient group development

Depending upon the time period involved – such as a weekend management retreat – there may not be time enough for groups to evolve through the five stages. As a consequence, it is possible that quickly formed groups end up operating both in the storming stage and in the performing stage. In this case, there is no set agreement about the approach or plan, with the individuals in the group implementing the task (that is, the performing stage) but essentially executing their own plan or ideas (working somewhat independently).

The role of the organization with the five-stage group development model

Given the five stages of group development, the organization’s management has a role to play in ensuring that groups develop effectively and achieve their required outcomes.

As part of this, there should be an expectation of conflict in the early stages (that is, the storming stage). And rather than this stage being seen as abnormal, the organization should view it as a normal progression of group  development that will lead to a clarification of approaches.

Likewise it is helpful to provide sufficient time for the group to progress through these various time group development phases. To aid this process, some organizations allow “bonding time” (that is, “getting to know” time). Although some organizations may see this as an inefficient use of time, it should generally help improve group performance (particularly for new teams of  employees less familiar with working in groups).

The use of experienced people along with inexperienced employees (relative to group work) would also be helpful. This is because experienced employees (having been on various groups/committees before) would have a good sense of how groups progress over time, whereas relatively group members may perceive conflict and the progression of group development as a sign of concern and problems.

The only time that organization should be more directly involved in group issues is where it is apparent that two or more individuals within the group are refusing to align to group decisions and continually pursue individual ideas and tasks. That is, the group is unable to navigate past the storming stage due to particular individuals – the solution here is generally a new team composition (that is, adding/removing on or more team members).

 Posted by

Why do people associate with groups?

 Groups and Teams in Organisations  Comments Off on Why do people associate with groups?
Jun 222016

When is social identity important?

Social identity theory suggests that individuals will classify themselves into varying groups in order to help form their self-identity (self-concept), through a series of comparisons between themselves and other individuals in their groups, as contrasted to individuals perceived to belong to other groups.

In simple terms, social identities help us understand where we fit in on some sort of consistent and logical basis, given our perceptions and understandings of the world.

Why do people associate with groups?

There are four main reasons people associate with groups, namely:

  • to get a sense of similarity and belonging,
  • to provide some degree of distinctiveness,
  • to deliver a degree of status, and
  • to reduce uncertainty.


Individuals will tend to associate themselves with particular groups when there is a high degree of similarity. This may be on the basis of demographics, employment, values, interests, and so on. This creates a sense of belonging, connection, and simply fitting in and thus helping to define their identity.


An important part of group classification for an individual is to perceive that each different group is quite distinct from each other – that there are clear differences between the groups. This works with the above aspect of similarity, where a person can note points in common and points of difference, in order to help form and reinforce their sense of social identity.


Typically individuals will look for an association with a group that is considered to be of high status. For example, in a workplace, an individual may see themselves as being part of “management”. In their everyday life they may see themselves as being part of “upper-middle-class”. Social status standing is usually important to individuals as it builds self-esteem, as well as helping to create power and the ability to get things done within an organization.

Uncertainty reduction

People seek out membership in groups as it helps them define who they are and how they fit into the world, and therefore provides a greater sense of certainty. Inside an organization, management will often provide corporate values about how the way things are done in the company. This gets a sense of what the organization is all about, which would generally pass some aspect of social identity to the employees.

 Posted by

Classifying groups

 Groups and Teams in Organisations  Comments Off on Classifying groups
Jun 222016

Formal and informal groups

There are two main types of groups to consider in organization behavior, namely:formal and informal groups. Both formal and informal groups will exist with inside an organization.

Formal groups have been structured by the organization’s management to achieve particular goals or to simply run the business. Informal groups are friendship and social groups formed by the employees within the organization.

Formal groups will typically have a degree of structure, organization, authority, decision-making, designated tasks, assign roles, and so on. Whereas informal groups will be typically less structured without any particular responsibilities.

Types of formal groups

Formal groups can be further classified into the categories of:

  • relatively permanent (command, affinity, and friendship groups)
  • relatively temporary (task and interest groups)

Relatively permanent groups

As suggested by the names, relatively permanent formal groups are set up and established as long-term groups and typically deliver an ongoing part of the organization’s activities. For example, inside an organization you would have an accounting and finance department, structured as a long-term group.

These functional area groups are often referred to as “command groups”, as they will have an individual placed in charge of the group, with the group being assigned certain responsibilities to achieve, along with the associated necessary authority.

It is likely that most employees of an organization will belong to a command group and these groups will usually be identified in the formal organizational structure.

Another relatively permanent group is known as an “affinity group”, which is an ongoing group within the organization whose members meet to share information and address problems on a regular basis. These differ from command groups as they are less structured and likely to have less authority and delegation. Affinity groups are helpful for sharing information, reducing politics and creating a more positive corporate culture. They are generally more commonly used in larger organizations.

Relatively temporary groups

Relatively temporary groups are short-term groups set up to complete a project, undertakes research, achieve a certain outcome, and so on. Generally they relate to a short-term task (perhaps up to two years or so) with the long-term intention of discontinuing the group at some stage.

These are often referred to as “task groups”, as they exist is to solve a particular task. An example here of a task group may be a new product development team.

Therefore, employees could belong to both a command group and a task group within the same organization. And it is possible that the roles and responsibilities of the individual across both the command group and the task group could be in conflict, as they may have competing priorities for their time and output.

Types of informal groups

Informal groups can also be classified as relatively permanent and as relatively temporary. An example of a relatively permanent informal group would be your long-term friend (your friendship group).

An example of a relatively temporary informal group could be a sporting team for a season, people in an exercise class, a networking group, and so on. This second type of group would be considered a “interest group” as their relationship is structured around a particular interest or activity.

People will belong to multiple groups

As you can see, an individual employee could be a part of multiple groups within the same organization.

For example they most likely be part of a “command group” and then be assigned to be part of a “task group”, while also being a regular member of some form of “affinity group”. In addition they are likely to have some informal group membership, such as having some friends in the workplace. And from time to time they may be also involved in an interest group, such as a sporting team put together at the organization.

 Posted by

The definition of a group

 Groups and Teams in Organisations  Comments Off on The definition of a group
Jun 222016

What is a group?

A group is simply two or more individuals who come together to achieve particular goals. This means that they will interact with each other and will be interdependent upon each other.

People who work in the same department or area within an organization, but don’t really interact with each other may NOT be considered to be a group. Basically, a group exists where the people within the group are able to influence (or be influenced by) other members in the group.

The two types of groups

Groups can be classified as either being formal or informal.

A formal group is one that is recognized within the organizational structure. Generally it has been set up by someone in management in order to achieve particular goals. A formal group is likely to have a set representation of staff and some form of regular communication. Many formal groups will have a delegation to make decisions and/or designated work functions to deliver.

An informal group is a group of people within an organization that have formed voluntarily, usually for social purposes, without any work or performance intentions. A group of friends at work would be described as an informal group.

Both types of groups are important to consider in the overall performance of the organization. Clearly formal groups have the ability to deliver outcomes for the organization and need to be structured and managed appropriately, whereas informal groups will affect the culture and motivation and job satisfaction of the staff.

Groups may/may not have shared goals

An important point to note in regards to groups is that the individual’s degree of commitment to shared goals may differ. Just because an employee sees themselves as part of the group, they may/may not share the same sense of motivation, commitment and intention.

For example, you may have an employee in the accounting team who takes pride in the performance of the area, where as you may have another accounting employee that takes the view that it’s “just a job” and may not share the first individuals level of commitment.

 Posted by

Social identity and the organization

 Groups and Teams in Organisations  Comments Off on Social identity and the organization
Jun 222016

What is social identity theory?

Social identity theory (SIT) describes how individual obtain some sense of identity from the groups that they perceive that they belong to. In simple terms, social identity theory allows individuals to gather information about them and others based upon how they decide to classify themselves into various groups, which is essentially a form of comparison.

Social identity and the organization

So how does social identity theory connect to organizations? The first point is that a company, or type of organization, and the individual’s role/position in that organization are also forms of groups that the individual would perceive themselves belonging to. That is, a person might see themselves as “an employee of the bank”, or “an up-and-coming executive”, or a “key member of a project team”, or even potentially “it’s just a job, I’m not like those career people”, and so on.

As you can see, there are multiple ways of defining groups for the individual inside an organization. And depending on how this is constructed in the individual’s mind will influence how they draw identity based on this social comparison.

Performance of the group affects the individual

Once an individual defines themselves as a member of the group, then they have some vested interest in the success and performance of that group. They will draw self-esteem (or otherwise) based upon the success, reputation and perceived importance of the group. If the group goes well, then the individual sees themselves as part of a “winning team”.

This suggests that there is a relationship between the individual’s perceived group membership and their overall organizational commitment. It could be argued that if an employee strongly identifies with a group within the organization (such as, part of the marketing team) then they have a higher level of commitment to the organization, and vice versa.

Degrees of group identification

The previous section highlights a critical aspect in relation social identity theory. While individuals will classify themselves according to a group, they will vary in their degree of attachment to that group. For example, you could have a supporter of a sports team who goes to every single game, and another person who also considers themselves a supporter of the same team (hence part of the same group) but has only a minor interest in the sport and the games.

As a result, in an organizational setting, it may be necessary to measure the degree of commitment and association that individuals have within their section or within the organization overall. This is because an individual with a stronger connection and perceived association with the organization is likely to have a higher level of commitment to their role, because the group (and the associated identity) is more important to them in forming their identity.

Social identity and organizational identity

For some individuals, where they work and what they do is a key part of their overall social identity. These people tend to be more vested in the careers and gain self-esteem from their career and the places where they worked and the positions that they have held.

Whereas other individuals consider work to be part of earning money only and draw much of their social identity from groups outside of the organization.

Related topics

What is social identity theory and how does it work?

 Posted by

What is Social Identity Theory (SIT)?

 Groups and Teams in Organisations  Comments Off on What is Social Identity Theory (SIT)?
Jun 222016

Social identity theory (SIT) describes how individuals obtain some sense of identity from the groups that they perceive that they belong to. By classifying themselves as a group member, they perceive themselves as having distinct characteristics, which are similar to others in the group, yet distinct from individuals in other groups.

Not just a face-to-face group

In organizational behavior we are primarily interested in group dynamics and behavior from the perspective of the organization, usually where individuals know and are directly influenced by other members of the group (such as their work team and colleagues).

However, social identity theory is a broader perceptive, where individuals will see themselves as part of a larger overall group of people that they will never meet. An example here would be nationality, where someone would classify themselves and American or English as a sense of identity.

Multiple Group Memberships

It is important to note that individuals will see themselves as belonging to many groups and, therefore, will classify themselves in multiple ways. Some types of groups that could be used for social identity purposes include:

  • Gender
  • Age group
  • Marital status
  • Nationality
  • City/region
  • Occupation
  • Education
  • Social class
  • Religion
  • Political persuasion
  • Sexual persuasion
  • Supporter of a sports team
  • Involvement in a hobby, sport or activity
  • Consumer of a brand
  • Viewer/reader of certain types of media
  • Employee of a firm

How social identity theory works

By associating themselves with a group, individuals are essentially classifying themselves on a social comparison basis – that is, they are comparing themselves to others in society. This approach to classification of people provides two benefits to the individual, namely:

  1. it enables them to define other people quickly into some form of logical order in their mind, and
  2. it provides a greater and clearer sense of self identity to the individual.

Therefore, in simple terms, social identity theory allows individuals to gather information about them and others based upon how they decide to classify themselves into various groups, through some form of direct or indirect comparison.

Self-concept consists of two components

An individual’s self-concept – how they see themselves – is formed from a combination of two identities. The first is their personal identity, where they consider their skills, interests, personality, physical appearance in aggregate in order to form a view of themselves.

The second is the social identification, where they are comparing themselves to others in society by perceiving themselves as being members (or not) of certain groups.

Therefore, their personal identity and the social identity work together in order to develop the individual’s self-concept.

Social identity is a relative comparison

By choosing to classify yourself within (or outside of) certain groups in society, essentially you are engaging in a form of comparison. In this sense you are comparing differences between groups, not necessarily you as an individual. For example, an individual might define themselves as “young” at age 35, in comparison to elderly people. However, another individual, who may be 15 years of age, might define themselves as a “teenager” and perceive a 35-year-old as “old”.

As you can see, the classification system is based upon the individual’s perception and structure of groups. And as suggested by the above age example, over time and life experiences, it is likely that individuals will reclassify themselves as they perceive themselves as belonging to different groups at different points of time.

Social identity theory is connected to group identification

What you should be noticing from the above discussion is that there is a relationship between social identity and group identity. At times these terms are used interchangeably. This is because an individual will draw their identity from how they fit into society or into groups, generally based on their own perception and classification system.

Related topics

Social identity theory and organizational behavior

 Posted by

What do managers do?

 Management  Comments Off on What do managers do?
Jun 102015

There are four key roles of management in today’s business world, namely:

  • planning,
  • organizing,
  • leading, and
  • controlling.

You should note from this list of key management roles that a manager is a proactive position responsible for achieving organizational goals. This needs to be distinguished from a non-manager worker who is more likely to take direction and advice on their role. While the manager is responsible for implementing key parts of the organization’s plan, they also need to take responsibility for planning and organizing.

The planning function

Planning means working out how to achieve the goals of the organization. All organizations will have some form of goals – from top level growth and profit objectives, down to productivity targets for staff, and a lot in between.

The planning function is working out the tasks that need to be implemented in order for the organization to achieve these goals – planning is undertaken prior to the work commencing.

You have probably heard the terms strategic plan or marketing plan, which are two examples of high level plans.

Depending upon the organization and its process, these plans can be quite top level or could be very detailed – this will vary by type of organization and its approach to planning.

Organization function

The organization function is working out the resources and processes required to execute the defined plans. The level of organization will look at staff numbers, staff roles, job designs, teams, rewards, and so on – from a human resources perspective, but also needs to look at the equipment, tools, facilities, and other resources required to deliver on the plan.

Leading staff

Much of the success of an organization will depend upon the quality and motivation of the staff. Therefore, this leading function relates to motivation, incentives, resolving conflicts, training and development, problem-solving, and so on – all designed to leverage the skills and abilities and potential of the organization’s workforce.


The fourth key management function is controlling. Controlling refers to monitoring performance and ensuring that is on track to achieve the firm’s goals. Often this involves various measures and metrics that track sales, profits, productivity, outputs, and so on – often on a very detailed basis. The intent here is to ensure that the organization is performing a day-to-day basis as planned.

Interlinked functions

As you should see by the above discussion, these four management functions are interlinked. The process starts with planning, and then requires organization of resources, leading and motivating those resources, controlling and monitoring performance – which then leads back to improved planning, organization and leadership.

 Posted by  Tagged with:
May 282015

What is the supportive model?

The supportive model approach states that employees are self-motivated and have value and insight to contribute to the organization, beyond just their day-to-day role. It is built around the concept of leadership.

In this model, the concept of leadership is presented with a managerial point of view, where the manager actually leads his/her employees by setting good examples, being available and by being involved in the various work tasks.

In other words, the manager strives to create a supportive working atmosphere for the workers.

Goal of the supportive model in OB

Given that the supportive model is based on the premise that employees are self-motivated and take pride in their work and want to deliver good results for the organisation, then the supportive model attempts to leverage this self-motivation through support and involvement of the employee’s direct management.

Role of the manager

The supportive model of organisation behaviour, the manager needs to be seen as a positive support facilitator for staff. The manager should be committed to all employees, with the intent of getting the best out of each of them.

This management approach should result in a high degree of employee satisfaction, which would further improve performance over time.

This management and highlights the view that employees are key asset of the organization that should be nurtured and developed and an appropriate corporate culture created that helps foster a positive environment.

Related topics

The five models of organisational behaviour

 Posted by