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April 24, 2013

Group Process


I work for Williams-Sonoma, a prominent American retail company, which deals in high-end furniture, kitchenware and linens among other house wares. The company has been exceedingly success since its establishment in 1956. This has seen it grow to its current enviable stature where it now operates over 560 successful retail stores both in the U.S and Canada. It has a portfolio of brands the main ones of which are Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn, West Elm among others. One of the most instrumental factors behind this success has been the productivity, ambition, innovation and vision of its employees. Over, the years, the company’s management has devised numerous, innovative measures to motivate employees and ensure that they give their ultimate potential to the company. One of these creative strategies is the group process, which denotes the mobilization of employees into functional, effective groups. As a result, the group process has been at the core of the company’s organizational structure, which has seen employees work together to meet organizational objectives. As an employee of the company, I have been deeply involved in various groups within the company. The main focus of these groups has mainly been on inclusive decision-making, as well as participatory conflict resolution.

Organizational Effectiveness
Organizational effectiveness is a broad concept, which measures how a company has fared with regard to the achievement of its core objectives. Interestingly, employees are vital for any company to become effective. Indeed, the skills, motivation, and experience of the employees are essential in ensuring that employees dutifully play their role within the organization. However, the group process is essential for an organization to tap the above employee attributes for its benefit. In any company, the group process acts as a blueprint as regards how to tackle various core issues at the company. At Williams-Sonoma, I have the group process to be extremely valuable in enhancing organizational effectiveness. As a member of various groups, there are numerous processes that I and other group members engage in to facilitate organizational effectiveness.

Firstly, the group process helps in filtering through the various core issues and sorting them out to facilitate a common, concerted approach with regard to them. As a group member, I find this process exceptionally essential in helping the employees focus on the core issues pertinent to the achievement of the envisaged objectives crucial to organizational effectiveness. This is invaluable to any company as it ensures that employees never lose focus on their core responsibilities. Often, employees tend to spend valuable time undertaking activities that are non-essential in an organization. However, I have realized that the group process is instrumental in ensuring that employees maintain their focus on the core issues, therefore, helping the company to thrive.

Secondly, I have realized that the identification of roles for the various group members is vital in sustaining the group process. At Williams-Sonoma, this is an essential element in the group process. It entails the identification of the roles that each member has to play within the group to ensure that it realizes its intended outcomes. In addition, it includes the efforts to improve interactions among group members where members support and motivate one another for the achievement of the group’s output targets. This has been extremely useful since it has helped members to work as units and stand in for any member(s) who may lack the skills, experience or the stamina to undertake his tasks excellently. Thirdly, this process focuses on the individual member in an effort to understand his needs and his competencies as a group member. In this regard, group members seek to tap a members full potential while also encouraging him to work keenly on his failings. When the group identifies that a member does not seem suited for his current tasks, there may be role switching where the group assigns the member the task that it feels best suits him. This spurs productivity as members often work in areas where they are exceptionally competent and suited. The group also discusses the issue of ghost roles to ensure that employees are fully aware of implicit roles that may fall within their responsibility. This makes sure that no roles however minute escape the attention of group members.

Thirdly, the group process at Williams-Sonoma focuses on enhancing effective communication to facilitate the achievement of organizational effectiveness. Often, communication block may hinder employees from achieving their best potential. This occurs where communication between an employee and other colleagues is not effective. This prevents the group members from communicating ideas, feelings or opinions, therefore, curtailing their effectiveness. The group process has the obligation to ensure that there is adequate, effective and timely communications amongst members, which has been exceedingly valuable in enhancing the achievement of the group’s targets. This, helps in realizing most of the organizational objectives, therefore, enhancing organizational effectiveness.

In any group process, it is imperative to discern which tasks are best handled by the group and which by the individual. In my group, there are several tasks that fall within the group’s jurisdiction. For instance, decision-making is always the preserve of the group. This is because it calls for an all inclusive approach, which is only possible when the entire group participates in the entire process. Secondly, the identification and assignment of roles also falls within the group. This offers both equitability and exchange where members interact constructively in identifying tasks and sharing them. Thirdly, conflict and resolution is exclusively the responsibility of the group. This ensures that the process takes consideration of all differing opinions in reaching to a conclusion. Fourthly, goal setting is also partly the group’s role. This is, however, with regard to the group’s objectives and member’s expectations from other group members. On the other hand, role of self-improvement falls directly on an individual member. While other members can help him in this regard, it remains a member’s primary responsibility. This is necessary to guarantee overall group improvement and vibrant participation by members.

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