A Chapter by JENY

Group dynamics


              AFFILIATION FOR                              ACHIEVEMENT         


              Family is the first group an individual meets with in his life span. In a healthy family, primary cohesive force is love. In the love and concern for each other almost all discordances get dissolved. Differences are transcended or very quickly adapted to the group structure in which the basic force is the ‘need for affiliation’ of individual members.

                 In each group, there will be a force that plays a major role in binding its members together. Mainly, two types of cohesive forces are seemed to dominate a group that is more or less an organization or an institution with a purpose. One is affiliation and the other achievement. A group can not exist without catering to the need for affiliation of its members. At the same time a group can not excel in its area of functioning without motivating its individuals to be achievement oriented.

                          Some times we can see that a group does not achieve much but it cherishes a cordial bevy. In such groups, leaders will never be vigilant to keep achievement motivation of individuals alive while they attend well to the affiliation motives of group members without fail. All mediocre group exhibits an imbalance between affiliation needs and achievement needs. Such groups will be first in maintaining relationships, arranging festive gatherings, attending to the personal life of its individuals so meticulously, even at the cost of purpose for which group is made for.

                              In such groups leader finds it difficult to kindle a need for excellence in the individuals. Because it may end up in hurting the affiliation needs. The result is, group will be happy but never grow up.


                                Actually, in a group nothing is a hindrance to keep the achievement drive of its individuals alive if the group leader is adequately achievement oriented. The prime task of an achievement oriented leader is to detect the hindrances for the achievement. And then chart out a plan, a modus operandiI for removing the snag.

                                In an underdeveloped group, leader detects the snag but says there is no solution. In a developing group, leader is constantly involved in devising plans to overcome the snag. In a successful group leader has implemented his plans successfully and is ever vigilant against a relapse.

                            When a group is not moving ahead in terms of achievement, remember its functioning needs an overhauling. It needs counseling.  It needs repairing which can be done by an efficient leader who is well versed in group psychology and management. 


                      There is an illusion that a leader can fuel achievement motivation if and only if he is in a position to reward (mainly monetary) the group members in accordance with their performance. It is very true that there is high correlation between achievement and reward. But it is not an end in itself, in the case of groups where achievement of group members are closely connected to their special personality skills that can not be measured objectively. For example, the performance of a teacher or a nurse can not be measured in mathematical terms. In situations where very sensitive attributes of personality like ego, self esteem, need for acceptance, need for praise, need for growth and self actualization are operative and very much alive in the climate in which group functions, an efficient leader can exploit it.

                             Another illusion is that the person trying for fueling the achievement drive of its members should be at the helm and group members should be always at his call.  There are many other ways to motivate the individuals of group for achievement in this modern world where study and research in group dynamics have very much advanced. Almost all those theories intimidates dictator outlook of the leader. But upheld a psychological approach in which exhorting the members to be achievement oriented is accomplished by managing their personal, emotional needs and skills. This tapping of human power into a desired channel is an art. In this art leader must be very much dexterous. A leader can master this art only if he is fully dedicated to the cause.  

                       In successful groups, it is the strong desire for achievement that often caters and ensures affection and affiliation between its members. Here all members are committed to a cause which acts as a binding force. But it is often nearly impossible for a desire for affiliation and affection to generate and sustain need for an achievement, which entails a competitive spirit in the minds of those who strive for it.

                         The most unfortunate and worst curse of a group is a leader without any knowledge of group dynamics. Such groups will travel from failure to failure always groping in darkness. Leader will lead its members to a level in which they will not be aware of the fact that they are being perished day after day with respect to their cause of formation. Stagnation becomes a way of life. So always take care to strike a right balance between affiliation and achievement needs of the group.    

© 2010 JENY

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Added on May 11, 2010
Last Updated on May 11, 2010
Tags: Psychology



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