What is Group Cohesiveness?
Group Cohesiveness can be defined as the degree and strength of attachment (togetherness) between the members of the group. It is one of the important factors which influences group behaviour. The higher the group cohesiveness, the greater will be the interaction and degree of agreement (on various matters) between the group members.
Hence, in a higher cohesive group, the members work jointly together. They trust, understand, respect and support each other and are effective in achieving the group objectives.
Characteristics of a Cohesive Group
A cohesive group is characterised by:
- A small number of members
- Frequent interaction between members and effective interpersonal communication.
- Sharing of group goals and norms between members
- Mutual interest and common background.
- High level of group loyalty
- Unity among members against any external threat or pressure.
- Group has a history of past success.
- Members stick to each other.
Factors Affecting Group Cohesiveness
Group Cohesiveness is affected by different factors, which are discussed as under:
- Interdependency: The degree of dependency of a person on the group will determine the attractiveness and ultimately its cohesiveness. When the number of individual needs satisfied by a group is higher, it determines his/her dependency on the group, which is reflected in its attractiveness and cohesiveness.
- Size of the Group: The size of the group has a great impact on its cohesiveness, as it has an inverse relationship with the group cohesiveness. This is due to the fact that the group cohesiveness increases with the interaction between the members, and when the group size is large, the chances of interaction between the members will be quite less, leading to conflicts and chaos, due to difference in opinion. A group with a few numbers of members often have high cohesiveness.
- Homogeneity: Groups having members with varied interests, attitudes, values and backgrounds are comparatively less effective than groups whose members have similar interests, opinions, attitudes, values and backgrounds.
- Stable Membership: When there is stability in relationship amidst group members, it also adds to group cohesiveness, because, as the time passes group members know each other and develop a bond and common understanding of shared goals and values.
- Location of the Group: The location of the group also greatly affects its cohesion, in the sense that when the group members are located close to each other, the frequency of meeting and interaction will be high, resulting in high cohesiveness. Moreover, when the group is isolated from other groups, then also the cohesion will be high.
- Group Status: You might have observed that a group with status and previous success stories is more engaging to the group members. So, the group members exhibit unity among themselves, which develop high cohesiveness. Unlike, when the group is criticized by all, is less cohesive.
- Group Leadership: A group leader plays an important role in group cohesiveness. He/She is the one who leads all the members and helps them to develop a bond with the group. A leader with charm, energy and influencing abilities motivates the members to work with enthusiasm and honesty, to attain the objectives in a timely manner. He/She seeks to develop and maintain group loyalty among the members.
- External Pressure: Group members often stand together, to face challenges posed by external pressures. For this, the group members minimize their personal differences and conflicts, so as to combat the common enemy. Further, there are instances when the group is unable to overcome excessive pressure and it is not able to handle such pressure.
- Competition: There are two types of competition – intragroup competition and intergroup competition. Intragroup competition, is the competition among the group members, whereas intergroup competition is the competition between the groups. Intragroup competition adversely affects its cohesiveness, because it increases differences among the members. Contrary to this, intergroup competition increases cohesiveness. The victory arising out of intergroup competition adds to the cohesion, but failures bring tensions and conflicts.
So, we can conclude that attractiveness is integral to group cohesiveness and increases productivity. And, a group that lacks cohesiveness, also lacks coordination and cooperation. The members will not support each other in their work, and they may find it difficult to achieve goals.
Contrary to this, members of the cohesive group have high morale. They don’t have conflicting views and opinions, which reduces the chances of clashes between them.