The ability to work effectively with groups of people is a fundamental and necessary skill of management. Groups pervade organizational life, and fulfil many different functions at both a formal and informal level. But how can managers galvanize groups of people into action? How can they influence groups to accept organizational goals as their own and to be productive and perform at an acceptable standard? It is because answers to questions such as these are so fundamental to the process of management that developing an understanding of what groups are, and how they may be influenced and directed, is critical to effective, satisfying and productive group functioning. In this chapter we attempt to examine group structure and process as they affect group discussion, group problem-solving and group decision-making. In the two chapters that follow we concentrate on how to build effective teams and the process of team leadership.
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