Group Formation Process – Stage 4: Group Maturity

Only a few remarks will be made about this final group stage because it will receive much more focus in later chapters. If a group works successfully, it will inevitable reinforce its assumptions about itself and its environment, thus strengthening whatever culture it has developed. Because culture is a learned set of responses, culture will be as strong as the group ’s learning history has made it. The more the group has shared emotionally intense experiences, the stronger the culture of that group will be.

Given these forces, a group or organization inevitably will begin to develop the assumption that it knows who it is, what its role in the world is, how to accomplish its mission, and how to conduct its affairs. If the cul­ture that develops works, it will ultimately be taken for granted as the only correct way for group members to see the world. Conformity pressures arise once again and that produces the dangers inherent in “group think,” the avoidance of exploration of ideas and actions that may be counter-cultural. The inevitable dilemma for the group, then, is how to avoid becoming so stable in its approach to its environment that it loses its ability to adapt, innovate, and grow.

Source: Schein Edgar H. (2010), Organizational Culture and Leadership, Jossey-Bass; 4th edition.

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