WK11 SOCW6121 Assgn2 Assignment: Assessing Group Process 5 For this Assignment, describe the overall process of the group and your feelings about the group

WK11 SOCW6121 Assgn2 Assignment: Assessing Group Process 5
For this Assignment, describe the overall process of the group and your feelings about the group

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Assignment: Assessing Group Process 5

For this Assignment, describe the overall process of the group and your feelings about the group experience.

  • Choose an evaluation method described by Toseland & Rivas (2017) or London (2007), and use it to evaluate your group (i.e., analysis of the product, group questionnaire).
  • Identify something you might have changed during this process and describe what you could have done differently.

Group Process Assignments should integrate course concepts related to group process. Assignments should demonstrate critical thought when applying course material to your group experience. Support ideas in your Assignment with APA citations from this week’s required resources.

Required Readings:

Toseland, R. W., & Rivas, R. F. (2017). An introduction to group work practice (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

  • Chapter 13, “Ending the Group’s Work” (pp. 395-416)
  • Chapter 14, “Evaluation” (pp. 417-443)
By Day 7

Submit your Assignment (2-3 pgs).

Performance Appraisal for Groups: Models and
Methods for Assessing Group Processes and
Outcomes for Development and Evaluation

Manuel London State University of New York at Stony
Brook

This paper guides consulting psychologists in
how to help managers and group leaders assess
group members’ reactions, behaviors, and per-
formance. The results may be used for develop-
ment in improving group performance and for
evaluation in making decisions about group
members’ pay and assignments. Individual and
group-level measures of conditions (pressures
and opportunities), input, process, and out-
comes are considered. The paper discusses who
seeks group assessment, the multiple purposes
of assessment, models of group process to guide
assessment, what is assessed and when, methods
for assessment, and who contributes to the as-
sessment process. Implications for inculcating a
culture of assessment and continuous learning
within groups and organizations.

Keywords: group performance appraisal, group
assessment, group development and evaluation,
group diagnosis and intervention

The purpose of this paper is to help
guide consultants in encouraging and sup-
porting group assessment for development
and the evaluation of individuals and
groups. The paper examines ways to assess
the behavior and performance of individu-
als in groups and to assess processes and
performance at the group level. I begin by
considering why assessment of groups and
group members is important in organiza-
tions today, and I provide several case ex-
amples. Then I discuss who seeks assess-
ment, the multiple purposes of assessment,
models of group process to guide assess-
ment, what is assessed and when, methods
for assessment, and who contributes to the
assessment process.

Background

Jobs in the world of today are complex,
interdependent, and fluid. Much work is done
in groups (Hackman, 2002; Kozlowski &
Ilgen, in press). Projects and tasks cut
across functions and organizational levels.
Professionals, technical experts, managers,
and staff members are asked to contribute
to more than one group at a time. They may
be leaders of some initiatives and contrib-
utors to others. They may have a key role in
some groups and a minor role in others. An
employee may report to one supervisor in a
given department and function but work on
tasks in a variety of departments and
groups. Some groups are ongoing. Others
are short term. Some have clear goals and
tight deadlines. Others have ambiguous
goals and long time periods before they are
required to report to a higher authority. In
some cases, group members are colocated
and can easily meet together in person. In
other cases, they are geographically dis-
persed and may communicate mainly
through an ever-expanding array of elec-
tronic technology (e.g., email, blogs, Web
sites, instant messaging, video conferenc-
ing, pod casts, and cell phones). These dy-
namic group structures and multiple modes
of communication pose challenges for super-
visors to guide and evaluate the contributions

Correspondence concerning this article
should be addressed to Manuel London, Har-
riman Hall, SUNY-Stony Brook, Stony
Brook, NY 11794-3775. E-mail: manuel
.london@stonybrook.edu

Copyright 2007 by the American Psychological Association and the Society of Consulting Psychology, 1065-9293/07/$12.00
DOI: 10.1037/1065-9293.59.3.175
Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, Vol. 59, No. 3, 175–188

175

of individual employees and to assess and
evaluate the performance of work groups.
Because managers may have employees in
groups that are not under their control, they
will need to coordinate with other managers
to decide which groups to evaluate and how
to evaluate the results. In addition, they need
to decide whether to collect data on individ-
ual performance and/or the performance of
the group as a whole.

Groups handle a range of tasks and take
a variety of forms. These include commit-
tees, boards of advisors and directors,
councils, quality improvement teams, re-
search and development teams, and task
forces. Work groups can be classified by
type (e.g., executive, negotiation, produc-
tion, advisory, service), function (plan, di-
rect, integrate, display, treat), and settings
(corporate, medicine, transportation, fast
food, law) (Devine, 2002). Groups may
engage in problem solving (e.g., error de-
tection and correction), decision making (a
personnel selection committee), planning
(strategy formulation), and/or implementa-
tion (product roll out, customer service,
event management).

Executives and managers are responsi-
ble for these groups—starting them, lead-
ing them, providing oversight, and staffing
them with employees in their units. As
such, they may be concerned about the
groups’ progress, effectiveness, and out-
comes. Consider several examples:

A hospital executive commissions contin-
uous quality improvement (CQI) teams for a
host of issues, such as emergency room re-
sponsiveness, patient monitoring, safety, lab
test accuracy, and so forth The groups are
composed of staff from a variety of organi-
zational levels and functions in the hospital,
including physicians, nurses, lab technicians,
therapists, and other professional and support
staff. The executive wants to know how these
groups are doing. Are people participating
actively? Are they taking the time they need
to collect data and delve into the problems?
Are they implementing solutions and achiev-

ing gains in productivity and quality of ser-
vice? Have they learned CQI techniques that
they can apply to future quality improvement
efforts?

A manager is responsible for the imple-
mentation of an enterprise-wide, compre-
hensive data system to handle customer,
personnel, facilities, and financial data. The
work is distributed to a number of sub-
groups, each consisting of functional and
technical specialists. The manager wants to
know whether the members of these groups
are working effectively with each other and
whether the groups are making progress.
Are the groups in synch with each other?
Should members be rewarded for their ex-
tra service contributions to this important
and costly initiative?

A multinational automobile corporation
has research and development teams for new
vehicle design and technology. The members
of many of these groups represent different
functions (engineering, operations, market-
ing), partner organizations (suppliers, distrib-
utors, sales), and geographic regions, includ-
ing international offices. Employees are
likely to be on more than one group on un-
related projects. Some groups rarely meet in
person. Most rely on various electronic media
to communicate, share knowledge and ideas,
examine issues, experiment, and make deci-
sions. Regional time differences, varying lan-
guage capabilities, and cultural differences
make group leadership and member interac-
tion difficult. Some groups stay intact for
years, working on ambitious, complex
projects that have long time lines. Members
of these groups may shift as the focus moves
from the idea stage to design, implementa-
tion, and delivery. The vice president for re-
search and development wants to track these
groups to know who is doing what and
whether the groups are working effectively.

Considerable research and practice fo-
cuses on performance appraisal of individ-
uals (cf. Tziner, Murphy, & Cleveland,
2005). The challenge of measuring group
members’ performance is that the output of

176 Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
September 2007

the group can be observed and measured,
but not necessarily the contributions of
each member (Petersen, 1994). In addition,
in many groups, the results of a given mem-
ber depend on the efforts of all the workers.
Wageman, Hackman, and Lehman (2005)
noted that there are many instruments for
measuring overall group process and per-
formance, including consultant-developed,
often online, rating formats that are meant
to diagnose and assess group dynamics. As
examples, they cited Cornelius Associates
(2004); Lefton and Buzzotta (2005); Link-
age Assessment Services (2004); Reliable
Surveys Online (2005), and Parker’s (1998)
print compilation of 25 such tools. These
instruments tend to have high face validity,
and they are used to give feedback and
interpret the results in comparison to norms
derived from a large number of other
groups. However, they are not necessarily
based on established theory and research on
variables that are indeed important for per-
formance (Wageman et al., 2005). In addi-
tion, instruments for helping teams perform
better must measure variables that are
known to affect performance, can be ma-
nipulated, and are applicable in many dif-
ferent situations so that norms can be es-
tablished for understanding a group’s
scores. Instruments that are used in re-
search need to be generalizable—that is,
they need to measure concepts that are im-
portant to describing a group and the con-
ditions under which it is operating, and be
psychometrically sound, with high reliabil-
ity and convergent and discriminant valid-
ity (Wageman et al., 2005). The value of
measures of group output quality and quan-
tity depend on the adequacy of information
systems, the reliability of the measures,
controllability of the constructs (i.e., they
are constructs that group leaders and man-
agers can do something about), and avail-
ability of the results as feedback to group
members (Reilly & McGourty, 1998).

Throughout this paper, I use the term
assessment because it implies multiple pur-

poses. Assessment can examine group pro-
cesses to diagnose the group members’ in-
teractions, determine progress, and provide
feedback to help the group perform better.
In addition, assessment can measure group
outcomes to reward its members and make
decisions about the individuals and the
group. Importantly, assessment is a pro-
cess, not a one-time collection of data. This
is similar to performance appraisal or 360
degree feedback surveys in the context of
performance improvement and career de-
velopment (London & Tornow, 1998). As a
process, group assessment refers to deter-
mining what is to be assessed, why, and
who is involved. It includes designing the
assessment, implementing it, using the in-
formation (accepting and interpreting the
results and taking action), and later mea-
surement.

Who Seeks Assessment?

Group assessment may be useful to dif-
ferent stakeholders. These include manag-
ers and executives who commissioned the
group or have oversight over the group.
They need to evaluate the contributions of
the people who work for them who are
assigned to one or more groups with differ-
ent leaders. They want to track group
progress to know what is happening.

The group’s leader, as coach of the
group, and the group’s facilitator, if there is
one, would want to diagnose the group’s
needs for support and development to fos-
ter its effectiveness. The company’s orga-
nization development officer, human re-
source professional, director of training, in-
house organizational psychologist, or
outside consulting psychologist may want
to assess group process and performance to
determine needs for training and facilita-
tion. In addition, they may work with ex-
ecutives to select people for new groups or
to form or restructure existing groups to
enhance organizational performance and
meet corporate needs (for instance, form a

177Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
September 2007

task force to develop a new product in
response to the competition). Psychological
consultants may work with professionals
and managers to design and implement
group assessment methods and generally
encourage and support group appraisal for
development and evaluation.

Purposes for Assessment

Assessment may be for individual and
group development or evaluation. Develop-
ment refers to the compilation of learning
over time. As a group develops, members
learn more interdependent forms of inter-
action (Kasl, Marsick, & Dechant, 1997;
Kozlowski, Gully, Nason, & Smith, 1999).
Assessment can diagnose learning gaps and
determine interventions that will improve
group process. Evaluation refers to deter-
mining the quality and quantity of group
and individual outputs, often to make deci-
sions about the individuals in the group
(pay, promotion, continuing them on the
group) and about the group as a whole (e.g.,
whether to disband or maintain it, change
its goals, reward all group members
equally, etc.).

Data for development may focus on ex-
amining the input to the group (whether the
group has the talent it needs) and the con-
ditions under which the group is operating
(time pressure, availability of resources).
Assessment data can determine group com-
petency—the ability of the group to accom-
plish its goals and the ability of members to
contribute to the group. Group and individ-
ual competency requirements depend on
the nature of the group (e.g., problem solv-
ing, decision making, production), the na-
ture of the task (e.g., its complexity and the
degree of member interdependence; Kasl,
Marsick, & Dechant, 1997), the conditions
under which the group is operating (time
pressure, resource availability), and mem-
bers’ readiness to participate actively and
cooperate (London & Sessa, 2006a; Reilly
& McGourty, 1998). In addition, data for

development may focus on group pro-
cess—member interactions, conflict resolu-
tion, negotiations, attendance, and meeting
commitments, to cite a few examples.

Another reason for assessment data is to
evaluate the effectiveness of different
group intervention methods. For instance, a
facilitator might stop the group process to
talk about how things are working or ways
of negotiating and resolving conflict. Does
this help? Are some group interventions
better than others under certain conditions?
Group assessment may track changes in
group process and performance over time,
determine changes in members’ behaviors
toward each other, determine the effects of
these changes on group outputs, and com-
pare groups that are treated differently as a
field experiment.

Assessment can also be used by manag-
ers and group leaders to evaluate members’
contributions and incorporate this informa-
tion in the members’ annual performance
appraisal as well as provide members with
feedback to improve their performance. If
the manager’s employees work interdepen-
dently on a daily basis in their natural work
team, the manager may want a way to as-
sess their independent and collective effort
as part of the annual performance appraisal.
Such data can be used to hold the leader
and the members of the group accountable
for the group’s results. In addition, mem-
bers of the group may share equally in an
award that recognizes the group’s accom-
plishments. Group skills and members’
abilities can be assessed and used as input
for future assignments. Executives can use
the results to make decisions about the
group, such as whether the group should
continue, whether new members should be
added and others dropped, and/or whether
the group needs a change in leadership.

The purpose for collecting the data may
affect the data itself. For instance, raters
may be more lenient if they know that the
data will be used to make administrative
decisions than if the data will be used

178 Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
September 2007

solely for development; Kozlowski, Chao,
& Morrison, 1998; London, 2001; London,
Smither, & Adsit, 1997). The purpose may
also affect how the data are perceived and
used as feedback, for instance, whether the
group leader and members will be held
accountable for their performance (London
& Sessa, 2006b).

Group performance data can be com-
pared within the organization to determine
effective leadership behaviors, task struc-
tures, goals, and resources. Surveys of
group members’ feelings about the group
can evaluate group climate. When averaged
across groups, survey data can measure or-
ganizational climate. The results may have
implications for employee retention as well
as the ability of the organization to be ef-
fective—to develop and implement new
products and services that create new mar-
kets or beat the competition. Assessment
across groups can also be a way for an
executive to determine if the organization
has adopted the culture that the executive
wants to promulgate.

Deciding Which Groups to Assess

Managers are likely to be responsible
for different types of groups. These may
include natural work teams (the employees
who report directly to the manager), ongo-
ing groups (boards, councils, standing com-
mittees), and special initiatives (task forces,
product development teams, quality im-
provement teams). Assessing these differ-
ent groups provides the manager with a
picture of the state of organizational per-
formance and development. Different eval-
uation techniques may be needed for these
different groups, recognizing (a) their de-
gree of permanency (whether they are of
limited duration and will disband after ac-
complishing a specific goal; long-term with
complex goals that will take months or
longer to accomplish; or ongoing, meant to
accomplish multiple goals or a continuous
task), (b) imposition on employees’ time
(infrequent periodic meetings or concen-

trated time working together), (c) mem-
bers’ modes of interaction (in-person
and/or online), and (d) the group’s stage of
development (early, mid, late) in relation to
accomplishing their goals and members’
familiarity with each other and experience
collaborating (group maturity).

For a permanent group, the manager
might want to know about member atti-
tudes about the group and the leader as well
as the accomplishments of the group during
a range of time (e.g., the activities of a
council during the last year). Managers
may want to know whether employee time
spent on standing committees, councils, or
boards is worthwhile and whether these
groups are adding value to the organization.

Short-term groups can be evaluated at
different stages of their group progress.
During the early stage (before and shortly
after the first meeting or two), questions for
members, the leader, and observing super-
visors can focus on whether the group has
the talent it needs, members who are aware
of each other’s backgrounds and expertise,
motivated members, a clear goal, and clear
expectations of what they are expected to
do. When the group task is underway (ap-
proximately at the midpoint), assessment
can focus again on whether members are
clear about their goals, the structure of the
task(s), and responsibilities. Questions can
also address how well members are inter-
acting with each other— how well they are
getting along, participating actively, sup-
porting each other, being critical of each
other, and contributing to, or standing in
the way of, progress. As the group con-
cludes its work and prepares to disband, or
after the group has ended, evaluation can
focus on the value of the work to the orga-
nization, what the members learned about
the subject matter, and whether the group
members have gained capability to contrib-
ute to groups in the future (i.e., their ability
and desire to cooperate and work produc-
tively in a group setting).

179Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
September 2007

When Should Group Evaluations Be
Conducted?

For ongoing groups, formal evaluations
may be conducted annually as input to in-
dividual performance appraisals and, con-
comitantly, as an assessment of organiza-
tional effectiveness. Organizational assess-
ment might be incorporated into an annual
corporate performance report along with
financial data. For short-term groups, for-
mal assessments can be conducted as the
group concludes its work or immediately
thereafter. This is when the members are
likely to be open to discussing how they did
as a group and receiving group feedback
(Hackman & Wageman, 2005). In addition,
this is the time to capture the leader’s and
members’ opinions of the members’ indi-
vidual contributions while they are still
fresh in their minds. In long- and short-term
groups, informal assessments should be
conducted in relation to the stage of the
group to assess environmental conditions,
input, and process variables.

Who Participates in the Assessment
Process?

Methods for group assessment may be
designed centrally and applied organiza-
tion-wide. This establishes common stan-
dards and expectations for groups across
the organization. Examples might be the
use of standard procedures, such as surveys
that measure members’ perceptions of
group process and outcomes and ratings of
individual members’ contributions and per-
formance.

The data may be collected by the human
resource department, department managers,
group leaders, or group facilitators (profes-
sional organization development consult-
ants who work within the organization or
who are external consultants). Attitude sur-
veys and performance ratings from the
group leader and members may be col-
lected during group meetings or away from
the group setting to guarantee confidential-

ity of the ratings. Data for evaluation pur-
poses should be collected separately from
data for diagnosis and development.
Whether survey data are collected for eval-
uation and/or development, the data should
be collected in a way that promotes raters’
openness and honesty. Raters need to know
and understand the purpose for the data and
who will have access to it. Data for devel-
opment may remain within the group or
averaged across group members for discus-
sion with managers about group progress
and resources needed to improve group
functioning. Data for evaluation may reflect
individual as well as group performance
and be compared to other data (e.g., ob-
server ratings, objective indexes of group
results) to make decisions about the group
as a whole.

Group leaders and members can be ex-
cellent sources for designing the assess-
ment process, determining how data are
collected, reviewing and interpreting the
results and discussing implications for
changing behaviors and interactions. The
group leader and members themselves are
key stakeholders for the group’s success.
As partners in the assessment process,
along with executives and managers, they
should feel that they “own” the data and
have a stake in using it to foster their per-
formance. As such, they will take the data
collection process seriously, share and in-
terpret the results, and use the results as
stimuli to suggest directions for behavior
change.

What Is Assessed?

I distinguish between two general ap-
proaches to assessment. The constructivist
approach asks whether the right ingredients
are present (time, talent, and task; Ericksen
& Dyer, 2004), determine conditions (re-
sources, pressures, and opportunities), and
specifies interventions to help the group
(e.g., change members, provide group
training, hold a process discussion with
member, and/or find more resources). The

180 Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
September 2007

deconstructivist approach starts with the
group as it is in the moment and tries to
discern what is happening or has happened.
It seeks to identify the barriers to more
effective process and what factors are ham-
pering or helping group progress, and what
can be done to address these factors (e.g.,
process reflection about what the group
needs to learn or has learned to improve its
performance).

Group process will depend on the nature
or purpose of the group. For instance, pro-
cess measures might focus on collaboration
(sharing information and joint decision
making). Process measures might assess
brainstorming used to generate alternatives,
facilitated discussion and voting methods
to evaluate alternatives, and the availability
and use of specific techniques related to the
task, such as fishbone analysis to examine
root causes of problems in quality improve-
ment teams. Data can also focus on group
progress in terms of task and goal clarity,
leadership, member participation, and the
social context (Murphy & Cleveland,
1995). The leader may prepare feedback to
individual members or to the group as a
whole and determine ways to improve the
group’s performance and create a high per-
forming team. Similarly, a facilitator may
use assessment results to determine what
training or organizational methods the
group might use to be more productive.
These might include teaching the group
continuous quality improvement/total qual-
ity management (CQI/TQM) skills such as
identifying customers, elements of work
process, and problem frequency; using
brainstorming; and applying methods for
reaching consensus (e.g., multivoting).

Measures should reflect what managers
want to know about the group. These mea-
sures may vary from time to time depend-
ing on the manager, the group, and its
progress. For instance, for quality improve-
ment teams, measures may assess how well
members have learned to apply CQI skills
and methods (Hackman & Wageman,

1995; Zbaracki, 1998). Assessment of CQI
teams that are working with professional
facilitators may focus on the facilitator’s
role (e.g., “The facilitator . . .guides the
team through problem solving methods, in-
cluding consensus building; . . .helps the
team leader and members to establish
ground rules; . . .helps the team resolve
conflicts; . . .provides training in CQI meth-
ods as needed”; Wilkens & London, 2006).
Other measures may be constructed to as-
sess the effects of specific interventions, for
instance, leader training in group coaching
and facilitation (e.g., Do group members
see a change in leaders’ behaviors?); con-
flict resolution, negotiation, and collabora-
tion (Do behaviors and interactions change
over time? Do groups with the training
perform better than comparison groups
without the training?); and facilitation to
promote a psychologically safe environ-
ment (e.g., Do members feel they are able
to bring up issues about how well they get
along in the group?; Edmondson, 2002;
Edmondson, Bohmer, & Pisano, 2001;
West & Anderson, 1998).

Group Performance Dimensions

Performance dimensions to evaluate
group members can be identified. These
might include commitment to (attitudes
about) the work and the group, active par-
ticipation, degree of added value, handling
conflict, negotiating, educating others,
openness to others’ views, openness to new
ideas, giving and seeking feedback and
support, accepting roles, and meeting obli-
gations. Performance dimensions to evalu-
ate group leaders may include structuring
the group’s task and agenda, maintaining
order, treating members fairly and with re-
spect, delegating tasks, and giving feed-
back. Behaviors can be conceptualized for
each of these dimensions and used to assess
the group and/or leader.

Measures can also focus on the group as
a whole, for instance, number and length of
the meetings, overall attendance, goal clar-

181Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research
September 2007

ity, task structure, goal difficulty, clarity
and frequency of communication among
members, social and task orientated inter-
actions, goal achievement (e.g., deadlines
met), quality and quantity of output, and
influence on other groups in the organiza-
tion.

Models for Guiding Assessment
Content

The models of group and organizational
process held by the manager and consultant
can and do guide group assessment. A
number of models are available, each of
which presents a perspective on what vari-
ables are important to effective group pro-
cess. Some are content oriented, specifying
variables that are related to performance,
such as composition, cohesiveness, and
motivation (cf. Guzzo & Dickson’s, 1996,
review). Others consider the sequence of
these variables—for instance, ongoing,
nonlinear cycles of input, mediation, output,
and feedback (Ilgen, Hollenbeck, Johnson, &
Jundt, 2005) along with concomitant cog-
nitive and affective states (Marks, Mathieu,
& Zaccaro, 2001). Ericksen and Dyer
(2004) highlighted the importance of talent,
task, and time as components of a high
performing team. Hackman and Wageman
(2005) pointed out the importance of rec-
ognizing how stage of group development
(early, mid, and late) determines what the
group needs and is expected to do, as dis-
cussed earlier. Another approach is a focus
on interventions, such as the importance of
the group members introducing themselves
to each other at the outset of the group so
that members develop a common under-
standing of how each of them can contrib-
ute to the group—a concept called interper-
sonal congruence (Polzer, Milton, &
Swann, 2002).

Wageman, Hackman, and Lehman
(2005) state that a high performing team
needs (a) to be a real team—meaning that
the team is bounded such that everybody
knows who is and isn’t on the team, the

team is stable over time, and members are
interdependent; (b) a compelling direc-
tion—meaning that team direction is clear,
challenging, and consequential; (c) an en-
abling structure—meaning that the team
size, diversity, and skills make sense, the
task is motivating, and the norms of con-
duct are clear and accepted, and (d) a leader
who is a supportive coach—meaning that
the leader helps members focus on the task
(setting direction, building commitment to
group purpose), gives members positive
and corrective feedback, facilitates their in-
terpersonal relationships, and avoids …

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