A Case Analysis of Student Project Groups to Illustrate a Model of Group Behaviour
In this paper, the dynamics and functioning of ten student project groups will be subject to qualitative analysis. The purpose is not to develop or test theory. Rather the paper uses a case study situation to illustrate the complexities of group functioning. This illustration is achieved by applying an existing model of groups as a means of organising and structuring the case analysis. The model is the group behaviour model presented in one of the major Australian organisational behaviour texts (Robbins, Millett, Cacciope & Waters-Marsh, 1998). The paper, therefore, is a useful one for explaining how this particular model can be applied in practice.
The main points are that although models such as this one can be
helpful in explaining observed behaviour of groups, they do not necessarily always
successfully predict behaviour. Rather, they seek to capture complexity, hence the
diversity of group experiences documented in this paper. The main factors that appeared to
influence the success of the groups were imbalances in group demography leading to
conflict, and group member ability. At a practical level, the paper may provide a useful
lesson for educators interested in student group functioning, and has some implications
for managing diverse work groups.
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