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Group Roles


While norms relate to rules and expectations shared by all group members, a role is the behaviours expected of a specific person in the group. A work team, for instance, may share a norm related to quality customer service, but individual group members may engage in different behaviours relative to that norm. Some may interact with customers on a daily basis, while others serve the customer behind the scenes. Problems can result if roles are not clear in a group. It is a manager's job to ensure that necessary roles are performed, that people understand their roles, and that resolutions are reached when role behaviours come into conflict.

Figure 4 shows how a person's role behaviours are derived. Role senders, who may include a person's boss, fellow group members, customers, suppliers, and even the formal organization through a job description, send messages about what they expect from the target person. The target person perceives (filters) this sent role and develops the received role, what she thinks others want her to do. She mixes this role with her own personal attributes and self-expectations to determine the role behaviours in which she will engage.

Some role behaviours are apparent. The team leader, for example, sets the agenda, calls the group to order, and directs the discussion by calling on various members. Each member also may perform certain behaviours dictated by her or his job title: welders weld, accountants calculate numbers, and so on. Other less apparent role behaviours evolve in a group and are particularly relevant during meetings and discussions. Two important roles are leadership roles and boundary-spanning roles.

Figure 3

Date: 2015-01-02; view: 880

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