How to create group cohesion in an organisation?

Image from Pixabay

The other day, I watched a documentary on RTS channel. I don’t recall the name of the program. It was a study by a professor who wanted to test whether a group performs better when each individual cooperates or when each one is in competition with one another.

There were 2 groups in the study. Each group was composed of perhaps 6 or 7 individuals (colleagues). They each held strings they had to pull jointly together, in order to use the strings as an instrument to lift up (brick size) blocks and to pile as many as possible, one on top of the other. It seemed to be quite a feat.

Different instructions were given to these two groups. The first group was encouraged to collaborate and cooperate as much as possible. The second group was told that they would have to work together but each person would be individually assessed based on their contribution to group effort.

In the first group, each individual was paying attention to each other’s suggestions. When someone proposed a solution, they were willing to try it and shared the pros and cons, discussed how to achieve their goal and eventually succeeded in piling quite a few blocks. In the second group, each individual tried to shine and stand out from the crowd, show that they knew better, virtually cut off others while they were talking, and basically tried working on their own which of course was not conducive of piling up a lot of blocks.

The conclusions of this study were that collaboration and cooperation in a group creates innovation and helps for better performance. Other similar studies show the same.

This may be applied to any project in your organisation. If you need to work on a difficult project and wish to be successful, you have to create a sense of cohesion or belonging to stimulate collaboration and cooperation within your group. Your group may be composed of people from various departments with different agendas. Everyone should be aware of the objectives the group is seeking to achieve and each person should feel part of the project and be given sufficient room to contribute. Each member of the group will then complement each other and you will obtain better results. This is possible when egos are set aside and competition is not part of the equation.

While technically you could say to people in your group: “Please cooperate, please collaborate”, a better solution would be to make them feel for themselves the benefits of cooperating and collaborating.

If you have trouble creating group cohesion or a sense of belonging to a group, the following steps may help:

  • Communicate on the issues at hand and the common objective you will be seeking to reach. Generally, all members of a group may not see the importance of the objective, therefore it is important to convey the importance of the objective to each member individually (in a way, you will have to start lobbying/campaigning). Some members may share their doubts or voice out objections from the onset. Try to use factual arguments to cast away their doubts. Campaigning before gathering a group may be particularly important with those who are reluctant to cooperate. If you are convinced of the merits of what the group is trying to achieve, it will come across. If you yourself have doubts, you will have trouble rallying the members of the group.

Doing the above will help achieving group cohesion. You will gradually sense growing motivation of the members of the group and they will be happy to contribute. Remember creativity and performance is better when a group collaborates.

Key take-aways:

  • Ensure you campaign and communicate well with people who will be members of your group and who have to work together. Communicate the goals, challenges, solutions.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store