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Group Size and Effectiveness

LS 611 Group Research Project

Brianna Lievens

on 18 April 2013

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Transcript of Group Size and Effectiveness

Connecting Group Work to Contingency Leadership Theory Group Size and Effectiveness Background,
Research Question, and Literature Review References Connections to Contingency Leadership Theory Research Question and Survey Results Conclusions:
Individuals prefer working in small groups because they find the smaller group more effective
Most leaders also prefer leading small groups; however, despite their preferences, certain leaders may be more effective leading larger groups

Pair LPC Scale with the survey to more accurately connect contingency theory with group size
Survey an individual's preference to lead a group and participate in a group based on size, and compare the findings with the results from this survey Conclusions and Final Reflections on the Process

Crawford, T., Robles, A., Booth, B., & Popovich, N. G. (2013). Assessment of student preferences for small versus large group discussions and access to learning materials. Currents In Pharmacy Teaching & Learning, 5(2), 103-109.

Frank, F., and Anderson, L. R. (1971). Effects of Task and Group Size Upon Group Productivity and Member Satisfaction. Sociomentry, 34(1), 135-149.

Greenberg, C. I., Wang, Y., Dossett, D. L. (1982). Effects of Work Group Size and Task Size on Observers' Job Characteristics Ratings. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 3(1), 53-66.

Newell, M., & Grashina, M. Retrieved from http://flylib.com/books/en/

Northouse, P., (2013). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Schellenberg, J.A. (1959). Group Size as a Factor in Success of Academic Discussion Groups. Journal Of Educational Sociology 33(2), 73-79. \

Wheelan, S.A., and McKeage, R.L. (1993). Developmental Patters in Small and Large Groups. Small Group Research, 24(1), 60-83. "Contingency theory is a leader-match theory, which means it tries to match leaders to appropriate situations. It is called contingency because it suggests that a leader's effectiveness depends on how well the leader's style fits the context" (Northouse, 2013, p. 123). A refresher from Northouse: Leadership Styles Task-motivated: concerned primarily with reaching a goal

Relationship-motivated: concerned with developing close interpersonal relationships

(Northouse, 2013, p. 124) Situational Variables Least Preferred Coworker Scale Leader-Member Relations

Task Structure

Position Power Newell, M., & Grashina, M. Retrieved from http://flylib.com/books/en/ "By measuring a leader's LPC score and the three situational variables, one can predict whether the leader is going to be effective in a particular setting" (Northouse, 2013, p. 126). Connecting to Group Size Hypothesis:
High LPC's (relationship-motivated) will prefer small groups

Low LPC's (task-motivated) will not have group size preferences All 10 people who contributed to our survey said they prefer to work in a small group.

& In no particular order here is a list of some of the reasons why:

One on one, staying directly involved, details, details, details, better communication, less personality differences, a more intimate group, more respect among fellow group members, efficient, effective, quicker resolutions, and less group conflict. Question #7: Which type of group do you prefer working in if you have a choice and list some reasons why? 1. With mentoring and tutoring, I feel a person can learn better sometimes on an individual level.
2. For example: A small group of lawyers in a law firm is given a case to represent & that has several clients involved. This small group of lawyers can communicate quickly with one another, become more personally involved with the clients, and help one another pay attention to the fine and most important details…ect.
3. with a lesser number of people in a group you can work through problems quicker and have quicker resolutions.
4. If a project has a large amount of research, it can be divided among the group.
5. Take the moving/blending operations example, the small group means a more manageable input from the group. You’re more likely to come to a consensus quickly on how best to proceed in completing the task. That is assuming you assembled the right people with the right skills.
6. Less diffusion of responsibility.
7. More individual attention.
8. Sports, sometimes it’s very enjoyable to watch a sporting event that only has two contenders as opposed to an entire team of contenders.
9. The more centralized the idea the more focused the group members are.
10. Time, the more people, even with a small group, the less time it takes to get it done. Question # 6: Concerning goals & tasks that can be better accomplished in a small group: Why do you feel this way? 1. Mentoring and tutoring, and being able to work one on one.
2. Tasks or goals that require close attention to detail or individualized attention.
3. Presentations [I think] are always done in smaller groups.
4. Papers and Presentations.
5. Specific project tasks, such as new product introductions or moving/blending operations.
6. Specific projects or presentations.
7. Training for a specific job.
8. Sports that only require two contenders.
9. Testing of procedures or work flow.
10. Any small project that is not time sensitive! Question #5: What tasks or goals do you believe are better accomplished in a small group? 1. To gather information from different backgrounds, experiences, and skills. Having multiple people can generate different ideas and opinions, For sports teams, each athlete brings a certain skill set to the team.
2. With more complex projects specific assignments can be delegated to people that are most suited to the task. This allows each person to focus on their part of the project. A time efficient way to bring more parts together all at once.
3. So many minds coming together for a common goal. A large group of people coming together adding ideas until they come up with the perfect result!
4. Having small groups within a larger group…sometimes this helps.
5. The more people in a group the better chance of accomplishing the goal...especially in a company working with metrics.
6. Helps cut down on work load, example repetitive projects such as sealing envelops, working on hard, long manual projects such as road construction, and in a big situation involving law enforcement/military where it takes a lot of personnel to help in an emergency.
7. Able to receive many different perspectives from a larger group of people.
8. In team sporting events , More People=Larger Crowd & More Team Members=More Skill
9. More ideas coming from different perspectives!
10. More people working together better able to make deadlines! Question #4: Concerning goals & tasks that can be better accomplished in a large group: Why do you feel this way?
1. discussions, large projects, meetings, sports
2. major projects that involve complex ideas, knowledge and/or skills
3. projects that need to pull a lot of research or that have to cover “a lot of ground”
4. long-term projects
5. when working with business metrics or site safety
6. brainstorming, projects that can be divided, event planning
7. briefings, updates, or company standings
8. large team sports tournaments
9. brainstorming
10. a large project that can be divided, or a project that requires special/detailed attn.

Can you see the similarities within these answers? Question #3: What tasks or goals do you believe are better accomplished in a large group? 3 people responded – Below 10 members
7 people responded – Below 5 members

No one responded - More than 10 members. Question #2: What number of members
constitutes a small group? 5 people responded – 10 or more
1 person responded – 7 or more
1 person responded – 6 or more
3 people responded – 5 or more

No one responded – fewer than 5 members. Question #1: What number of members constitutes a large group? We asked 10 people 7 questions about
Group Size & Effectiveness

Survey conducted by:
Bri Lievens, Melissa Kastner,
Yolanda Bailey, & Erin Logue Qualitative Survey: Group Size
Effectiveness Connecting the Organizational Concept of Group Size to Contingency Leadership Theory Organizational Behavior Concept
of Group Size Disadvantages:
Members are more competitive, less unified, and more argumentative (Wheelan, S.A., and McKeage, R.L., 1993)

More disagreement and dissatisfaction, found in Gibb’s research, along with “as size increased, more feelings of threat and inhibition were reported by members” (1951)

Allows for the “free-rider tendency to increase… also increase social loafing” (Wheelan, S.A., and McKeage, R.L., 1993)

Social Loafing – “the tendency for individuals to expend less effort when working collectively than when working individually” (Robbins, S. P., and Judge, T. A., 2013, page 287) Large Groups “Orpen (1986) suggested that the optimum size for a working group is between 5 and 10 members” (Wheelan, S.A., and McKeage, R.L., 1993)

Intimacy and cohesion, member satisfaction, participation, expressed disagreement, social loafing, and free riding are all affect by group size

More research needs to be done Concluding Thoughts As group size increases, member satisfaction decreased (Wheelan, S.A., and McKeage, R.L., 1993)

As group size increases, member participation decreases, according to Bales, Mills, Roseborough and Strodtbeck (1951)

Gibb (1951) found that “after a certain size is reached, adding a new member or members does not increase productivity” (Wheelan, S.A., and McKeage, R.L., 1993)

Other factors… group-developmental level (Galvanovskis & Nemov, 1982)

Frank and Anderson suggest odd vs. even numbered groups also play a role in group atmosphere & satisfaction Overall How many people?
5 to 8 members (Frank, F., and Anderson, L. R., 1971)
More than 10 (Crawford, T., Robles, A., Booth, B., & Popovich, N.G., 2013)
More than 12 (Wheelan, S.A., and McKeage, R.L., 1993)
Better at problem solving & good for gaining diverse input (Robbins, S. P., and Judge, T. A., 2013)

Wanous and Youtz (1986) concluded that increased size broadened solution diversity, which in turn led to better decisions and enhanced productivity” (Wheelan, S.A., and McKeage, R.L., 1993)

Task oriented, not enough time for relationships (Wheelan, S.A., and McKeage, R.L., 1993)

Faster with abstract problems (Shellenberg, J.A., 1959)

Less pressure to adequately respond to questions, during a large group discussion (Crawford, T., Robles, A., Booth, B., & Popovich, N.G., 2013) Large Groups Disadvantages:
Less productive, according to Orpen research in 1986 (Wheelan, S.A., and McKeage, R.L., 1993)

Less focused on the task at hand (Frank, F., and Anderson, L. R., 1971)

More effort must be given from all members (Frank, F., and Anderson, L. R., 1971) Small Groups How many people?
2, 3, or 4 (Wheelan, S.A., and McKeage, R.L., 1993)
≤ 10 (Crawford, T., Robles, A., Booth, B., & Popovich, N.G., 2013)
Discussions are more effective and there is positive correlation between student satisfaction and the small group learning process (Crawford, T., Robles, A., Booth, B., & Popovich, N.G., 2013)

Faster at completing tasks

More motivation and individual members efforts can be seen (Greenberg, C. I., Wang, Y., Dossett, D. L., 1982)

The environment is “pleasant,” more relationship focused (Frank, F., and Anderson, L. R., 1971) Small Groups Small vs. Large

How many people are in the group?

Benefits/ Advantages

Disadvantages Group Size Research question: In what situations are large groups more effective at completing a task or goal; conversely, in what situations are small groups more effective at completing a task or goal?

Group: A collection of individuals who have a shared goal or task

Effective: The group completes the task or goal that it sets out to complete within the timeframe decided upon to complete the task Organizational Concept:
Group Size "Because group results cannot be attributed to any single person, the relationship between an individual's input and the group's output is clouded. Individuals may then be tempted to become free riders and coast on the group's efforts. The implications for OB are significant. When managers use collective work situations to enhance morale and teamwork, they must also be able to identify individual efforts. Otherwise, they must weigh the potential losses in productivity from using groups against the possible gains in worker satisfaction" (Robbins & Judge, 2013, p. 287). Leaders and managers can use Fiedler's LPC model to determine if a small group or a large group is appropriate for a particular situation or leadership style Yes, there is research on group size, but does it relate to the actual workplace?

Robbins and Judge think it does: Survey Results and LPC Score Though the survey did not request or measure your LPC, think of how your leadership style (task-motivated or relationship-motivated) might affect your ability to work in groups or lead groups of various sizes. What are your thoughts? Now that we know group size is significant in the workplace, what do we do about it? Is there a way to predict a group's likelihood to succeed?
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