Sample Research Paper on Improving Group Productivity

Improving Group Productivity

Introduction

XUZ Company is a virtual manufacturing company that deals with the making of vehicle components. Various processes are involved with each stage having distinct requirements. This being the case, various personnel are involved in the production process. In the manufacturing unit, there are those team members headed by a supervisor who is responsible for the panel beating of the materials needed to make the body part.   After panel beating, the next process involves the fabrication of the paneled materials so that they can be shaped into the required design. Other processes include wiring, coating, and fitting of the seats among other works. This being the case, the company has a series of processes and several team members that interact with each other in the manufacturing process. Each process requires a certain time to be completed and this makes it possible for conflicts and misunderstandings to arise. The company management is therefore tasked with the role of finding strategies that reduce the conflicts that do arise within the work setting. Improving the productivity of the organization also entails defining the scope of each part of the work so that each of the employees is aware of the role that they are supposed to play in the organization. Communication is channeled through the right protocol may reduce conflict that may arise as a result of communication breakdowns. The leadership and the management of the organization are therefore tasked with the function of making sure that the organization functions within the set policies of the organization. As the management and other workers engaged in meeting the organization’s objectives, various setbacks are experienced and this being the case, this paper aims at identifying the various role conflicts that occur within groups, communication issues, intergroup conflict, lack of cohesiveness among the group members, and the various recommendations that the management of the company can employ to solve the various issues.

Impact of Role conflicts on group’s productivity

The role can be defined as the expectation that a person has in reference to some given task. It, therefore, represents the behaviors and attitudes that a person ought to portray in regard to a given position or status (Rahim, 2011). When a role conflicts with another, especially when the occupant of the position is expected to perform two or more roles that are likely to contradict or those activities which are mutually exclusive, then role conflict occurs. Role conflict can occur in various scenarios including intergender conflict, role overload, and in personal – role conflict. Role conflict affects the productivity of an individual, thus affecting the performance of the organization.

The intergender conflict occurs as a result of a role by one person being incongruent with the role behavior that another person (Forsyth, 2010). This occurs when one person receives commands from two superiors’. For example, in a situation where the instructions have to be given by two managers, for example, the design, and structural managers, it is difficult to undertake these instructions at the same time. In the process of painting, the design manager may command the foreman to rework the design of the vehicle while the structural manager may require the painting to be started on the inside. This is likely to create a conflict since the two leader’s demands may not be fulfilled at the same time. At the same time, an individual; occupying two or more roles that are inconsistent may fail to perform the two jobs at the same time. For example in the company, the person responsible for painting is also the one who does his artwork. Deciding on when to leave one task to perform the other may result in conflict. Role conflict may also lead to person-role conflict and role overload. The effect of role conflict is likely to lead to job dissatisfaction, thereby reducing the productivity of workers within the organization. At the same time, job-related tensions and low confidence levels are likely to be experienced in the organization (Rahim, 2011). This being the case, it is the responsibility of the organization management to identify the level of conflict and its sources, so that measures can be devised to tackle the issue.

Role conflict and ambiguity can be addressed when the question of organization structure is dealt with. In this, the organization can implement strategies like defining the job specifications, the promotion of personal development as well as communication. If communication is channeled out properly, then role conflict can be reduced since each person’s responsibility will be communicated and any conflict solved.  The type of supervisory style should also be put into focus so that the company can have better communication between the workers and the management.

Communication problems among group members

Communication problems may cost the problem its productivity and money.  Inefficient communication may lead to conflict between the management, the supervisors and, the subordinates. It is therefore important to ensure that there is a clear communication link so that work can be clarified while at the same time issues resolved.  Some of the communication problems that may arise in the workplace include language barriers. People from diverse settings may be advantageous to an organization but at the same time may be a source of conflict. People from different backgrounds, age,s or different levels of experience may affect the nature and the way communication is channeled within the company.  Communication problems may also occur as a result of personal issues. For example, when the company’s employees have personal problems that they are not able to address, then, they are likely to affect the other group members since they will not be able to communicate properly. For example, a disagreeing team may find it difficult to solve their issues if they are not in communicative terms and this may affect the company’s productivity. Lack of feedback may also lead to role confusion and this may affect the productivity of the company. Effective communication is important since goals, roles, and other company policies and instructions are channeled effectively to all the workers of the company and the external environment.  It is therefore important for the company to devise strategies that address communication within the workplace.

Creating effective communication within an organization

Effective communication can help improve the company’s productivity.  This being the case, the management should clearly elaborate the roles and responsibilities of the workers so that each of the members can perform within the scope prescribed.  This entails having regular meetings with the organization staff to discuss issues and other important topics about the company. At the same time, roles and expectations could be communicated using the company laid down procedure book. Communicating expectations and encouraging the members to communicate with each other may reduce conflicts that may arise since employees will feel at ease with each other. Communication centers are also important tools to address communication challenges. In this, all communication may be channeled through specified channels and this could reduce, role conflicts, lack of cohesion, or communication breakdown (Wrench, 2013).

Lack of cohesiveness

Group cohesiveness plays an important role in ensuring group productivity. A group exhibiting a high degree of cohesiveness is more unified as its members have strong interpersonal attraction and a shared sense of identity that enhances goal-setting and attainment. The absence of cohesiveness in groups comprised of diverse members will compromise goal attainment because its members are lacking a sense of shared identity. Weak social relationships will reduce the significance of the group’s purpose amongst its members, thereby affecting its entire activities. The lack of shared identity will affect goal setting as its individual members might have diverse conflicting interests. The absence of specific goals will adversely affect the coordination of group activities because individuals will be pursuing different goals that do not advance the common interest of the group (Forsyth, 2012, p. 155).

Group cohesiveness can be increased through the establishment of group norms that encourage interpersonal relationships that strengthen social bonds. This may include prohibiting any form of negative discrimination in the group that is based on the members’ diversity. Apart from establishing attraction, these norms should also provide the members with a sense of pride, thereby instilling a sense of shared identity that will encourage the setting and achievement of the group’s common goals (Forsyth, 2012, p. 156-157). The norms should also emphasize high productivity at the individual and group level. Group cohesiveness can also be enhanced through designing tasks that encourage cooperation and coordination of activities. The group’s tasks should be designed in such a way that their successful completion will depend on the contribution of individual members. The interlocking and interdependent roles performed by group members will enhance cooperation and respect for each member’s contribution, thereby increasing the group’s cohesiveness which will improve its productivity.

Excessive Intergroup Conflict

Excessive intergroup conflict can adversely affect the coordination of activities between two or more departments in an organization, especially as it relates to tasks, resources, and information. This type of conflict usually results from the departments’ differentiated goals, norms, and orientations, which are highly incompatible. In such a conflict, the members of these individual groups are actually in conflict with those from another group. The differentiation makes each group internally homogenous, thus distinct from the other. Since group productivity is based on their interdependence on tasks, resources, and information, the conflict generated by their differences will adversely affect their respective productivity.

Excessive intergroup conflict can be eliminated or reduced by changing the conflicting groups’ behaviors and perceptions. The establishment of a win-win orientation in both groups will reduce competition between them while encouraging cooperation and coordination of activities for mutual benefit. The group’s differentiation should be reduced to instill a sense of shared identity and purpose, which will encourage interaction and coordination of activities to accomplish common objectives. The group’s structure should be designed in a way that encourages task interdependence as a means of attaining organizational goals. The conflict can also be addressed through hiring, transferring, or exchanging group members to eliminate or reduce the in-group and out-group perceptions increasing unproductive competition that generates conflict (Rahim, 2001, p. 180). The leadership should clarify and formulate rules and procedures and develop a communication system that provides valid information that addresses the distortions in in-group and out-group perceptions.

Conclusion

Group productivity in the organization can be increased when conflicts and other issues arising within the organization are addressed. Role conflicts arise from the conflict that arises when one is expected to person two roles that are inconsistent with each other may be avoided if the correct organizational structure and supervisory roles are well stipulated. At the same time, communication problems could be overcome if the company created a central communication center and employees were encouraged to participate in decision-making. At the same time, understanding the various diverse group needs may help improve the company’s productivity as well as reduce the intergroup conflict that may arise in the workplace

References

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Forsyth, D. R. (2010). Group dynamics. 5th ed. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Forsyth, D. R. (2012). Group dynamics. 6th ed. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Rahim, M. A. (2001). Managing conflict in organizations. 3rd ed. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.

Rahim, M. A. (2011). Managing conflict in organizations. Transaction Publishers. http://www.untag-smd.ac.id/files/Perpustakaan_Digital_1/CONFLICT%20MANAGEMENT%20Managing%20conflict%20in%20organizations.pdf

Wrench, J. S. (2013). Workplace communication for the 21st century: Tools and strategies that impact the bottom line. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger.

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