Many of the groups that a person is a member of can impact greatly on their lives - either positively or negatively. Throughout the ages writers and researchers have been interested in the dynamics of groups. How a group forms, how it changes over time, how it comes to an end, and how a group structures itself, has been investigated by numerous researchers (Adams, 1990). What I have come to learn from this course is that to understand others, I need to understand group processes.
For this semester's social work course, a reflective journal assignment was set, focusing on my working within a group. I was in group D and our task was to raise money or provide Service User support for a local charity of our choice. I was at this stage of the course aware that our group would go through a process of stages, and so I chose Tuckman's model (1965), that he later revised in 1977. The aim of this report is to evaluate the effectiveness of the group, and my contribution within the group over the semester.
Tuckman's (1951) model of group dynamics states that all groups go through four stages: forming, storming, norming and performing. Tuckman contends that groups usually form when people test the boundaries of others. We had ample opportunity to do this, I think to our advantage, as we all knew each other from this class. I was fortunate to have mostly teamed up with people who had similar motivation levels to me. However, on reflection I can see how being placed into a group, instead of choosing one myself to be in, would represent many group formations in the professional world. In the workforce people are often put into teams without having a choice. So it seems that becoming a member of a group without actively participating in the formation has some real world practicalities.
In the initial stages most of the group members were diffident to others, and appeared interested in the assignment and of making the group work. Overall, most group members were considerate and motivated. My first reaction was I thought the size of the group was rather large but overall the atmosphere of the group was calm. I think my group is rather large with 16 members. If I had a choice I would rather have around 7-8 people therefore we would have an increase equal opportunity to speak.
At our first meeting it was decided unanimously, after much deliberation, to focus on organisations that could offer us valuable learning experiences, or where we could support the Service User, as well as being able to raise funds for resources.
There was no leader/ facilitator for the first couple of meetings and so I felt that the group had no direction. Two members in particular I labelled as powerful members, as they dominate the group (with positive energy!) by being very vocal during discussions. However, there were other group members who showed signs of boredom, or disinterest, as evident by their lack of eye contact and verbal contribution. Also, no member was producing any information for our task, although some were suggesting ground