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Group Dynamics and Working in Teams

With the evolution of the concept of team and the increasing importance of teamwork in organisations, a clear distinction between ‘teams’ and ‘groups’ has been made (Demirci, 2018). Humans are social beings and therefore they survive and thrive well when they are part of a group, A group can be defined as a community or assemblage that is made up of more than two individuals that are interacting and working together to achieve specific goals (Demirci, 2018). Groups can be created formally or informally within organisations at different times and to achieve distinct goals. Groups can also be viewed as the factors that have the social and physical orders coupled with the unifying and constructive characteristics that are same as the individuals (Saltman et al. 2007). The concept ‘group’ has also been defined as the community that is interlinked with each other regularly and has common norms or values that regulate the behaviours of individuals in the various roles they are assigned (Armstead et al. 2016). This implies that there should be common issues, goals, and common problems for people to interact with each other to form groups. Working in groups includes the features that allow people forming the groups to meet often and organize; these features include group leadership, role communication, authority, and socio-metric structures (Demirci, 2018). The concept of ‘group’ entails the mutual interaction of two or more individuals who work together to achieve common goals (Demirci, 2018). The primary reasons for forming groups include that the individuals have esteem and confidence in themselves, take part in the achievement and also the faults in case of failure. Groups can be either formal or informal (Saltman et al. 2007). Formal groups are those that are created by organisations and have designated assignments and rooted tasks. The behaviour of formal groups is aimed at achieving organisational goals (Demirci, 2018). Informal groups, on the other hand, are those that are formed with friendships and common interests (Demirci, 2018).

The concept of ‘group’ is common in the context of health and social care. With the new organisational arrangements in the National Health Service (BHS), clinical networks have contributed to the novel expansion of the concept of ‘group’ (Saltman et al. 2007). Clinical networks define a group to comprise clinicians from different organisations that provide various services in different locations across traditional boundaries. Working in groups is important in various ways including resulting in enhanced collaboration and communication (Martin et al. 2010). Interdisciplinary teamwork is an essential model for delivering health care to patients. The concept of group in the context of health and social care is defined as two or more individuals that interact interdependently with a common purpose, and they work toward measurable goals that are likely to benefit from the leadership that offers stability while also encouraging problem-solving and honest discussion among the group members (Saltman et al. 2007). Researchers argue that integrating services among many healthcare providers is a primary element to better serving and treating the underserved communities and populations that have limited access to healthcare (Smith et al. 2018). Working in groups is a significant health intervention in various ways. Health and social care is a complex and specialized field and this has forced the health and social workers to work together to offer complicated health services (Smith et al. 2018). With the increased prevalence of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as the special populations such as the ageing population, the health and social care providers have been forced to adopt a multidisciplinary approach to healthcare (Dinh et al.2020).

Researchers argue that when individuals work in groups in the context of health and social care, it helps in reducing the number of medical errors and consequently increasing patient safety (Reeves et al. 2011). Working in groups also means that tasks are shared with each member contributing to the completion of these tasks and this plays a significant role in reducing burnout and increasing the quality of care (Armstead et al. 2016). When individuals work in groups, no single person is held responsible for the health of a patient because an entire group of health and social workers work together to coordinate the well-being of patients (Glasby & Dickson, 2008). Groups in health and social care help in breaking down the hierarchy and the centralised power of health organisations and this offer more leverage to health and social workers. Effective communication is a feature of successful groups in health and social care (Webber, 2021). Teamwork requires coordination, co-operation, and communication between members of a group to attain the desired outcomes (Reeves et al.2018). In professions with heightened risk such as healthcare, effective groups are required to achieve group goals efficiently and successfully with fewer medical errors (Rosen et al. 2018). Considering that effective groups are centred on effective communication, the quality of health care services is enhanced because patients and their families feel at more ease to communicate their concerns and this enhances patient satisfaction in health care (Martin et al. 2010).

Learning Outcome 2

The collaborative nature of groups makes them subject to challenges that individuals working alone do not face (Rosen et al. 2018). Working in groups does not imply automatic success. Focusing the efforts of individual group members presents challenges to the completion of tasks as effectively and efficiently as possible (Sprung & Harness, 2017). The barriers to working in groups in health and social care settings include increased conflicts that hinder progress (Schmutz et al.2019). Even though conflicts are common among individuals working together, they may negatively impact team performance. Conflicts may either be beneficial or detrimental to the success of groups (Jones et al. 2019). Healthy groups raise issues while also discussing varying points of view and this helps the team to reach stronger and well-reasoned decisions. Conflict in groups is classified into relationship conflict and task conflict. Relationship conflict results from interpersonal issues and differences in values, personality, and beliefs, and this universally harms the attitudes of group members as well as the effectiveness of groups (Jones et al. 2019). Task conflicts, on the other hand, are the disagreements among opinions, ideas, and approaches to the assigned tasks, which equally impacts group outcomes. Effective groups develop methods for resolving conflicts between group members. Effective communication is essential for conflict management and also to achieve high performing groups (Webber, 2021).

The other barrier to effective groups is poor leadership (Ellis, 2021). For the groups to achieve the common goals they require leaders who will determine the roles and responsibilities of every group member to ensure every person understands that their contribution is highly valued and contributes to team performance (Ellis, 2021). Having appropriate group leaders helps in resolving any issues that may arise when conducting assigned tasks. Experienced leaders can turn the negative competitive environment of a group into a dynamic and a positive one (Lamb et al. 2011). Effective leaders are those that clearly define the roles and responsibilities of every group member as this prevents other individuals from dominating or avoiding their duties (Babiker et al. 2014). Without clear roles and responsibilities, some individuals will be forced to engage in additional work to cover for other group members who fail to contribute to the shared effort (O’Reilly et al. 2017). Considering the demanding environment in health and social care, the professionals experience burnout which affects the quality of services offered to the patients (Sprung & Harness, 2017). Therefore, to achieve shared goals groups should establish clear roles and responsibilities as well as accountability norms for individual contributions to the group (Schmutz et al.2019). Lack of trust is another constraint to working in groups. Effective teamwork occurs when group members are confident that they all share common goals and they are working towards achieving them (West & Markiewicz, 2016). When the group members fail to trust each other, it becomes uncomfortable sharing their ideas with others (Rydenfält et al. 2018).

Some of the approaches to increasing group effectiveness include self-awareness (Rasheed, 2015). Throughout history, the most successful teams are those whose members know themselves. Therefore, self-awareness can be defined as possessing an accurate view of one’s abilities, skills, and shortcomings (Younas et al. 2020). Self-awareness can dramatically impact how groups communicate, collaborate, and perform. Self-awareness goes beyond the personality analysis to include one learning to observe themselves using other people’s eyes and own too (Younas et al. 2020). When group members become aware of their behaviours and mindsets, it becomes easier to avoid engaging in practices that are detrimental to group effectiveness such as conflicts, imposing points of view on other members, dominating conversations, and failing to pay attention to other group members (Rasheed, 2015). Self-awareness contributes to group performance by positively impacting coordination, conflict management, and decision-making (Younas et al. 2020).

Different Leadership Styles that relate to Health and Social Care Settings

Over the past two decades, leadership development has been a priority in the health and social care settings (Smith et al. 2018). With the evolution of healthcare, the ideal and desired characteristics of individuals in leadership roles are changing. Ranging from the dire need for technological savvy to heightened cultural awareness and sensitivity, much is needed of the contemporary leader in the health and social care setting (Field & Brown, 2019). Leadership entails the relationship between the people that lead and the followers, while it refers to the process of directing and coordinating the activities of a group or team of people towards achieving a common goal (Field & Brown, 2019). Various leadership styles are effective in health and social care settings. The effective leadership styles in these settings can be grouped into relational leadership styles and task-focused styles (Durmus & Kirca, 2019). The relational leadership styles are those that focus on relationships and people and they include participatory and transformational leadership (Durmus & Kirca, 2019). Researchers contend that transformational leadership is the gold standard of leading and managing followers in a group or team and the organization at large (Allouban et al. 2019). Transformational leadership style is at the heart of health and social care because it significantly impacts patient outcomes, safety culture, and employee satisfaction (Allouban et al. 2019). Transformational leaders in health and social care settings lead by example while also ensuring effective communication with the individuals that they lead (Deshpande et al. 2018). These leaders are empowering and motivated, working closely with the followers to achieve organizational goals, and they encourage and motivate their people they lead to better to go beyond the set expectations (Deshpande et al. 2018). Employee job satisfaction and reduced burnout is a great concern for healthcare leaders because it impacts healthcare outcome (Alqahtani et al. 2021). There is a positive correlation between transformational leadership and job satisfaction for healthcare workers (Deshpande et al. 2018). This is because this form of leadership contributes to the positive affective well-being of employees which is necessary for job satisfaction (Deshpande et al. 2018).

The other leadership style that relates to health and social care settings is participatory leadership. This style entails the leader taking into consideration the views of groups and individuals (Chatterjee et al. 2018). Experience, skills, knowledge, and innovation are among the most significant factors in the decision-making process, with a heightened range of participation and expertise in engagement (Chatterjee et al. 2018). The World Health Organization (WHO) in the year 2016 noted that for increased quality of healthcare and patient satisfaction it was essential that the hierarchical health leadership models were replaced by participatory leadership, and this was linked to the fact that inclusiveness and involving all the affected stakeholders helps in strengthening health services. Participatory leadership works well in the health and social care settings because all group members feel valued and comfortable to air their opinions which in turn enhances innovation which is essential to improved patient outcomes (Alqahtani et al. 2021). However, leaders adopting participatory leadership should keep their eyes open for cases such as when a decision should be made rapidly considering that they work in a setting where emergencies and adverse events are likely to occur (Alqahtani et al. 2021).

Task-focused leadership styles are also effective in health and social care settings, provided that the leaders understand the demerits of these approaches beforehand. These leadership styles entail clarifying the set objectives and roles of members within a group or team, planning relevant business activities, and continuous monitoring of performance and processes (Durmus & Kirca, 2019). Leaders who adopt this leadership style are more focused on meeting deadlines, completing jobs and following specific directives (Durmus & Kirca, 2019). Task-focused leadership styles have a positive correlation with increased patient satisfaction (Allouban et al. 2019). The forms of leadership under this class include autocratic and transactional leadership. Leaders in transactional style work as exchange managers through the rewarding of high-performing employees who increase the productivity of the organization, and these leaders show more interest in processes instead of shared values with forward-thinking opinions (Günzel-Jensen et al. 2018). In health care crises where explicit orientations are necessary the most effective style is transactional leadership as it makes it easier for leaders to direct critical events. Transactional leadership is also most appropriate during emergencies such as cardiac arrest because it prompts healthcare workers to focus on the task as a whole on the patient (Durmus & Kirca, 2019).

Autocratic leadership is closely linked to transactional leadership and it is characterized by leaders that are controlling, power-oriented, like giving directives, and are closed-minded (Barr & Dowding, 2019). Autocratic leaders require the followers to be obedient, loyal, and strictly adhere to the set rules. This form of leadership applies to health and social care settings especially during emergencies because healthcare leaders adopting this style make the decisions by themselves without consulting other group members (Barr & Dowding, 2019). Critical information is often hidden from the group to avoid the incorporation of their views or opinions. Notably, this method can have a negative impact on healthcare workers because no mistake is tolerated and those who comply with the set rules are rewarded whereas those that disobey are punished (Chatterjee et al. 2018). Durmus & Kirca, (2019) note that when followers perceived the hospital leaders as autocratic the productivity of their work was negatively impacted. This is because with autocratic leadership the health care and social workers are denied the right to air their opinions and the punishments and rewards linked to their work are precise and clear (Durmus & Kirca, 2019). All leadership styles have their merits and demerits and therefore it is important to have flexible leaders that understand when it is necessary to adopt the most appropriate leadership approach (Ellis, 2021).


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