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Conditions or Context Factors Determine Whether Teams are Effective

Group members work together to achieve two goals: a. carry out group assignments, and b. maintain the morale of its members. The first goal is measured from the results of group work- called performance. The second goal is known from the level of satisfaction (satisfaction). So, if the group is intended to share information (eg study groups), then its effectiveness can be seen from the amount of information obtained by group members and the extent to which members can satisfy their needs in group activities.

1. Situational Factors Characteristics of the Group

a. Group size

The relationship between group size and group work performance depends on the type of task that must be completed by the group. Group assignments can be divided into two types, namely cooperative and interactive tasks. In a co-active task, each member works in parallel with the others but does not interact. In interactive tasks, group members interact in an organized manner to produce a single product, decision, or judgment. In the cooperative task group, the number of members is positively correlated with task performance. That is, the more members the greater the amount of work completed. For example, one person can move a barrel of oil to a truck bed in 10 hours, then ten people can move the job in one hour. However, once they start to interact, the overall output will decrease.

Conditions or Context Factors Determine Whether Teams are Effective
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Another factor that influences the relationship between achievement and group size is group goals. If the group goals require convergent activities (achieving a correct solution), only small groups are needed to be productive, especially if the task at hand requires only limited resources, skills, and abilities. If the task requires divergent activities (such as generating creative ideas), a larger number of group members is required.

In terms of satisfaction, Hare and Slater show that the larger the group size, the less satisfied its members are. Slater suggests five people as the optimal limit for dealing with human relationship problems. Groups of more than five people tend to be considered chaotic, and their activities are considered a waste of time by group members (Jalaluddin Rakhmat, 2008).

b. Communication network

There are several types of communication networks, including the following: wheel, chain, Y, circle, and star. Regarding group performance, the wheel type produces the fastest and most organized group product.

Conditions or Context Factors Determine Whether Teams are Effective 2
  1. In a wheel communication network, there is a leader who is the focus of attention. He can relate to all members of the group, but each member of the group can only relate to its leader. So, the leader is a communicator, and group members as communicants who can provide feedback to the leader but cannot interact with fellow group members because the focus is only on the leader. For example, in a question and answer quiz in class, the teacher as the leader and focus of attention can relate to all class members while students in the class cannot communicate with fellow students, they can only communicate with the teacher.
  2. Chain communication network, one member can only communicate with one other member then the other member can convey the message to other members again, and so on. For example, person A can communicate with B, B with C, C with D, and so on. This form of communication can be done by a covert agent to pass a message from one person to the next person and the next person conveys the message to another agent.
  3. In the Y communication network, three members can communicate with the people beside them like in a chain pattern, but two people can only communicate with the person beside them. For example, in a company, the director is the first person to convey an announcement about the company's new regulations, and PR is the intermediary or the second person to convey messages to staff and employees.
Circle communication network, each person can only communicate with two people on the left and right. In other words, there is no leader here. For example, when in the company, staff can submit their complaints to the company's internal PR and other staff beside them, but they cannot submit them directly to the director.

Star communication network, this network is also called all channel communication network / all channel so that each member can communicate and reciprocate with all other group members. For example, in organizational meetings, loyal members can express opinions and exchange ideas (, 27/04/2014)

c. group cohesion

Group cohesion is defined as the forces that encourage group members to stay in the group and prevent them from leaving the group. McDavid and Harari (in Jalaluddin Rakmat, 2008) suggest that cohesion is measured by several factors as follows: interpersonal attraction of members to one another; members' interest in group activities and functions; the degree to which members are attracted to the group as a means of satisfying personal needs.

Group cohesion is closely related to the satisfaction of group members, the more cohesive the group, the greater the level of satisfaction of group members. In a cohesive group, members feel safe and protected, so communication becomes freer, more open, and more frequent. In groups with high cohesiveness, members are strongly attached to the group, so they are easier to conform to. The more cohesive the group, the easier it is for its members to conform to group norms, and the less tolerant of deviant members.

Factors that determine group cohesiveness, among others: First, strong normative behavior when individuals are identified into groups that are followed. Second, is the duration of being a member of the group. The longer a member of the group, the more cooperation and solidarity will be shown (Wiryanto, 2005: 50).

d. Leadership

Leadership is communication that positively influences a group to move toward group goals. Leadership is the most decisive factor in the effectiveness of group communication. Classification of classic leadership styles, namely, authoritarian; democratic; and laissez-faire.

First, authoritarian leadership is characterized by decisions and policies that are entirely determined by the leader. Second, Democratic leadership features leaders who encourage and help group members to discuss and decide all policies. Third, laissez-faire leadership provides complete freedom for the group to make individual decisions with participation with minimal leader participation.

2. Personal Factors Group Characteristics

a. Interpersonal needs

William C. Schultz (1966) formulated the FIRO (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation) theory, according to which people become members of groups because they are driven by three interpersonal needs as follows:
Want to be part of the group (inclusion).
Want to control others in a hierarchical order (control).
Wants to gain emotional intimacy from other group members.

b. Communication act

Where groups meet, there is an exchange of information. Each member tries to convey or receive information (verbal or nonverbal). Robert Bales (1950) developed a category system for analyzing communication acts, which became known as Interaction Process Analysis (IPA).

c. Role

Like acts of communication, the roles played by group members can help complete group tasks, maintain a better emotional atmosphere, or only display individual interests (which often hinders group progress). Beal, Bohlen, and Audabaugh (in Rakhmat, 2008) believe that the roles of group members are categorized as follows:
  1. Role of Group Tasks. The group's task is to solve problems or generate new ideas. The role of the task relates to efforts to facilitate and coordinate activities that support the achievement of group goals.
  2. The Role of Group Maintenance. Group maintenance is concerned with efforts to emotionally nurture group members.
  3. Individual roles, regarding the efforts of group members to satisfy individual needs that are not relevant to the group task.
Arifin, Anwar, 1984, Communication Strategy: A Brief Introduction, Bandung: Amico.
Mulyana, Deddy, 2005, Communication Studies: An Introduction, Bandung: PT Pemuda Rosdakarya.
Rakhmat, Jalaluddin, 1994, Communication Psychology, Bandung: Rosdakarya Youth.
Rivai, Vethzal and Deddy Mulyadi. 2012. Leadership and Organizational Behavior. Jakarta: PT Raja Grafindo Persada.