Group cohesion is an important concept for organizations that utilize small groups to accomplish tasks.
In this lesson, you’ll learn what group cohesion is and examine some of its important concepts. A short quiz follows the lesson.
Why is Group Cohesion Important?
Group cohesion is the sum of all the factors causing members of a group to stay in the group or be attracted to the group. You can think of group cohesion as the social glue that binds a group together.Many people believe that work teams demonstrating strong group cohesion will function and perform better in achieving work goals. However, you should note that the research results on this claim are mixed.Group cohesion is not caused by one single factor, but the interaction of more than one factor.
While group cohesion may have an effect on group performance, group performance may create or increase group cohesion. This makes sense – everyone wants to be on a winning team and no one wants to be on a losing team. However, members of highly cohesive groups may be motivated to accomplish more, which may not necessarily align with the organization’s interest in performance.
Thus, group cohesion can actually have a negative effect on group task performance. For example, a team of software designers may have a group interest in helping each other develop their skills and place an emphasis on that rather than on their productivity.The most influential factor that will create a positive relationship between group cohesion and group performance is when the group members’ commitment to the organization’s performance goals and norms is high. In fact, research findings confirmed a positive relationship between group cohesion and group performance when the group’s commitment to the organization’s performance goals was high. However, when group commitment to its organization’s performance goals was low, group cohesiveness actually had a negative relationship with its performance.
Application for Management
The results of this research can apply to management techniques.
Building team camaraderie through activities such as group retreats, company picnics and sports teams perhaps may build group cohesion, but probably will have only a small effect on group performance. It’s easier to establish a strong sense of group cohesion if the group is successful. Thus, making efforts to facilitate success may help increase cohesion. Finally, the best method to create a positive relationship between group cohesion and group performance is to do your best to facilitate a strong group commitment to organizational performance goals and norms.
Group cohesion can be thought of as a type of ‘social glue’ that binds members of a group together. Research indicates that group cohesion doesn’t necessarily create strong group performance and may actually have a negative effect on group performance in certain circumstances.
Group cohesion is based on several different factors, but the most important factor that will create a positive relationship between group cohesion and group performance is a strong group commitment to organizational performance goals and norms.
Watching and memorizing the facts of this lesson on group cohesion can ensure that you’re ready and able to:
- Offer the definition of group cohesion
- Discuss some of the factors that contribute to group cohesion
- Outline some methods that management can use to establish or strengthen