Group Structure:


Structure; is the underlying pattern of stable relationships among the group members.

Four key structural components-

1.  roles

2.  authority

3.  attraction

4.  communication


Roles; are sets of behaviors that are characteristic of persons in a particular social context;  Role differentiation, is the various role emergence and are often unique to a particular group.


Task and socioemotional roles;


Are the role[s] of the individual more task oriented or group oriented.  Bales and his associates suggest that very few individuals can fill both the task and socio-emotional needs of the group. Role ambiguity is when a role is unclear and the individual is not sure how or what to do.  ie having a role which is alien...

Role conflict; members occupying several roles at the same time which the demands may be in conflict--Interrole conflict  occurs when the  person trying to enact 2 or more roles discovers that behaviors associated with other roles are incompatible.  What would be examples??

Intrarole conflict. results from contradictory demands within a single role. being a friend devils advocate.


Roles stress is source of turmoil in the work setting.



Status relations are often patterns of hierarchical and centralized.


Status differentiation certain individuals acquire the authority  to coordinate the activities of the group  Joseph Berger propose expectation states theory;  assumes that status assumes that status differences are most likely to develop when members are working collectively on a task that they feel is important and those members who possess certain qualities that are thought to be indicative of ability or prestige.  are provide input and guidance for and form the group to act in those ways.  Good time to do the exercises on who should be saved and why....


Dominance and status; 

*  The pecking order

*  Ascribed

*  Acquired status. 


Dominance theorists propose that humans too are influenced by behaviors that signal dominance and submissiveness.  In general  High-status individuals tend to

1. tell other people what they should do

2. interpret others people's statements

3. confirm or dispute other people's  viewpoints

4. summarize or reflection discussion


According to William Stiles, when high and low status individuals meet in interaction, the alpha woman or man often presumes an understanding of the low status person's position.  Stiles developed a " Taxonomy for coding verbal statements.


Non verbal clues too are important indicators of status


During an experiment by Lee & Ofshe in studying  arguments held constant.  Found that a person assuming a differential condition; spoke softly, slowly and hesitantly got an increased award over the deference-demanding conditions; firm, rapid and loud speech and the Neutral conditions; spoke in a moderate rate, hesitated only on occasion.



Sociometric differentiation;

focuses on the relationship between the rank and file group members. How this relates to member's attraction for each other and how the attraction is reciprocal.


Noteworthy is within a large group sub groups exist and the sub groups may have increased attraction as compared  to the large group and may be more homogeneous that the total group.


Predictions of social standing must take into account the person/group fit.  The degree to which individual's attributes match the qualities valued by the groups to which they belong.


Maintaining Structural balance

Fritz Heider developed the Balance Theory Attraction relations in groups are balanced when the fit together to form a coherent, unified whole.  A two person group or subgroup, for example is balanced only if liking or disliking is mutual. 

In General the group is balanced if

 1. all the relationships are positive

2. an even number of negative relationships occur in the group


Which leads to the larger group may consist of balanced subgroups which may offset the non balance of the large group.


Communication Networks.

Regular patterns of information exchange among members of group.  Like the other forms of structure communication networks are sometimes deliberately set in place when the group is organized.  Many companies, for example, adopt a hierarchical communication network that prescribes how information is passed up to superiors and down to subordinates and horizontally to one's peers.  Even when no formal attempt is made to organize communication, an informal communication network will usually take shape over time.

Often , those with higher status initiated and received more information as did those who were better liked within the group.

Centralization and performance;

Earliest systematic studies of communication networks were cared out in the 50's  Harold Leavitt  found that the most important features of network[s] is its degree of centralization

In a decentralize structures like a circle all communicate with each other.

Studies have shown that decentralized networks out performed the centralized one.  Marvin Shaw  related this to information saturation.  That is when the system has one person you is the information transfer too much information will interfere. 

Note worthy is studies have found or at least suggest that employees who are not satisfied with their jobs are more likely to distort information.

Page 134 discusses integrative model of group structure. The use of Bale's SYMLOG System of multiple level observation of Groups.  The tree dimensions are combined;

1.      status

2.     Attraction

3.     Role and it is the use of these three dimensions that aid in understanding  the structure of the group. 

Group Structure Power Point