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Dissertation Abstract

Cohesive Strategies for Group Leadership: The Relationship of Cohesion to Stages of Group Development

Daniel R. Noel
Regent University

Organizations are increasingly using groups and work teams to accomplish organizational goals. Understanding group processes enable organizational leaders to implement strategies for achieving goals with groups more effectively. Constructs of group processes, like cohesion, provide an increased understanding of how groups can be more effective at developing over time and reaching stages of productivity. This study investigated the relationship of cohesion to specific stages of group development among similar groups over time. Specifically, it regarded cohesion as a function of group development serving unique purposes within various developmental group stages. Tuckman's (1965) sequential theory of group development was used as the theoretical framework for understanding how groups develop. Wheelan's (2005a) integrated model of group development was used to support the notion of cohesion serving particular roles throughout developmental stages. Understanding this relationship provides greater insight into group processes as well as increased understanding of how cohesion functions to increase group productivity and effectiveness. To date, research on group cohesion has lacked quantitative support of investigating how it develops over time and how it is influenced by group developmental stages. Specific dimensions of group cohesion were investigated through an exploratory factor analysis and compared to stages of group development. Organizational leaders, specifically group or work team facilitators, benefit by an increased understanding of employing cohesive strategies at precise developmental stages for optimal group performance. This study attempted to provide quantitative support in understanding group processes using the Group Development Questionnaire (Wheelan & Hochberger, 1996) and the Group Cohesion Scale (Treadwell, Veeraraghavan, Kellar, & Kumar, 1996). The sample consisted of 10 adult cohort groups ( N = 92) enrolled in an accelerated degree completion program in organizational management. Quantitative analysis provided data for identifying developmental stages of groups as well as determining the strategic roles cohesion serves within those stages. Two administrations of these instruments occurred among the groups, showing developmental patterns over time. Other variables such as group size and effectiveness to group cohesion were also investigated. This study broadens the understanding of effective group processes for organizations that use groups or work teams to achieve organizational goals.