6.1 The function of groups
Understanding group dynamics is an expert occupation Specialists in this field can provide helpful insights into the operation of groups such as Parish Pastoral Councils.
All groups have three functions operating within them. These are
- Task Functions (e.g. listening to parish members and conducting activities, pastoral planning, solving problems, reviewing the Council's achievements)
- Group Life Functions (e.g. ways that members respond to conflict, roles which members play methods used to change ways of operating),
- Individual Functions (e.g. activities and processes which satisfy personal needs for security, friendship, achievement, responsibility).
It is important for all groups to balance these if they are to function productively. Groups need to
- be clear about their tasks and continually clarify their work and monitor their achievements,
- pay attention to their own group life and internal dynamics so as to maintain a healthy environment which supports and values each member and can deal with conflict,
- accept individual member's needs so that each member is able to gain from membership (e.g. some members need to be active, others need to ask questions, all need accepting for their way of operating and affirmation for their contribution).
Effective groups maintain an appropriate balance of task, group life and individual functions. They are able to concentrate on tasks which help them achieve their purposes, but they are also able to shift their focus in order to maintain the group and to help individuals meet their needs through team membership.
Next: 6.2 The life cycle of groups >>>