This article throws light upon the eight important features of a group.
1. It consists of two or more persons who interact with each other.
2. Group members have reciprocal influence on each other. Each member influences and is influenced by others in the group.
3. In groups, people develop mutual perceptions and emotional ties with each other. They perceive themselves as a group and recognise each other as members of the group.
4. Every group has a formal leader elected by group members and an informal leader “who engages in leadership activities but whose right to do so has not been formally recognised by the organisation or group.”
However, informal leaders are also elected by them. Informal leader is “a person who engages in leadership activities but whose right to do so has not been formally recognised by the organisation or group.”
Two basic roles performed by leaders are:
(a) Task role, and
(b) Group building and maintenance role.
In task role, leader influences the group members to conform to organisational standards and in maintenance role, he fulfills their social needs of interaction and influence. If formal leader cannot fulfill these roles, informal leader supplements his functions and carries out both the roles. This is because informal leader has referent and expert power over group members. Informal leaders, thus, have strong forces of influence on group activities. They can promote organisational efficiency far beyond the corrective range of formal leaders.
5. Each individual in group performs a specific role which influences and enhances future expectations of group members from each other. Role is the part that each individual plays in helping the group achieve the group goals. While some members of the group help other members achieve the formal goals, others provide social and emotional support to them. Role structure is “the set of defined roles and inter-relationships among those roles that the group or team members define and accept.”
6. Every group has group norms. “Norm is a standard of behaviour that the group accepts and expects of its members. It represents standards of work to promote group activity.” Group norms maintain predictable standards of work, promote teamwork and defend individual and group interests. Group members who violate the norms are counseled by other group members. This ensures conformity to group norms.
7. Cohesion is the power to stick together. Group cohesiveness is the power of the group to remain attached to each other. It maintains stability in its structure through group cohesiveness. Members of the group like each other, develop a sense of identification and remain attached to each other. This increases cohesiveness of the group. A highly cohesive group has greater influence on group members and increased adherence to the group norms.
8. Members of a group work for common interest or goals.