Group Dynamics – 2. Phases of Group Development

On their way to becoming a cohesive team and reaching their objectives groups generally go through a number of stages such as orientation, conflict, brainstorming, emergence and reinforcement.

The first stage in becoming a cohesive team is the orientation (formation) stage. During this stage team members socialize, get to know each other, establish their roles and responsibilities and develop a sense of common purpose. Unfortunately, as the workers from a Portuguese translation service comment, teams cannot start working smoothly from the very beginning, so after this fairly short stage, they begin to discuss their positions, their roles and the function of leadership. This is known as the conflict (storming) stage. As team members share their ideas, disagreement and tension natural arise among members. In fact during this stage conflict has not been identified yet, it is rather a stage so it can be characterized as a phase of chaos and disorganization. The Chinese translators mentioned above underline that it is important to encourage open communication during this stage so that team members can speak up and fully discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the various options to resolve conflict issues during the next, the brainstorming (norming) stage. It is at the end of this stage when team members establish their roles, take responsibility and formulate standards. Yan Linski, a German to English transation professional, adds that although group brainstorming is a highly popular activity, in some cases it may be more productive to have people brainstorm individually and then to discuss them at a group meeting.

Some teams never reach the emergence (performing) phase because they have not resolved their internal problems. However, if they do, they find a solution supported by all members (even if not all of them fully agree that it is the best one).

During the reinforcement stage, members receive their assignments and they take steps to perform them.

By Margarita Mihaylova

Group Dynamics – 1. Team Roles

Productive teams tend to establish guidelines for interaction that though often officially unstated become group norms – informal standards of behavior that members follow and that direct their actions. For example, in some teams it is perfectly acceptable to show up 10 or 15 minutes late for meetings, while other teams expect strict adherence to schedules. In this light, when referring to the interactions and processes that take place among the members of a team, organizational behavior experts often use the term ‘group dynamics’.

In the opinion of some professionals from a Certified transcript Translation  Service Agency, group dynamics are swayed by a number of factors: including the functions that the participants in the team serve, the current developmental stage of the group, its conflict resolving ability and its ability to overcome resistance to change.

Each member of a team usually plays a certain role that affects the outcome of the group activities. This role can generally be classified as either functional or dysfunctional.  Legal translation workers further clarify, that apart from this general division, the role a team member assumes can be further categorized as self-oriented, team-maintenance or task-facilitating.

Team members who take on self-serving functions usually put their own needs ahead of the needs of the team they belong to. Though usually highly skilled and experienced people, they often don’t perform as well as one might expect and in practice they often turn out to be less valuable than others in the group. Moreover, as a French translator adds, other team members may avoid interacting with them simply because they often are people with difficult personalities.

While members who take on self-oriented functions are generally considered dysfunctional, team-maintenance and task-facilitating roles are generally considered functional. Members who take on maintenance functions, for example, have a higher likelihood of making meaningful contributions and are mre likely to help reach agreement and cooperation. Those who take on task-oriented roles, are more likely to work towards and eventually to help the team reach its goals.

By Sarah Hudson