Aiding Attainment, System Stability, and Group Effectiveness



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Texas Tech University


Since a human group is a system, it is important to identify the components of the functioning group. These include: task type, characteristics of individual members, group structure, physical properties of the environment, and the behavior setting. Since all parts of a system are interrelated, a change in any one part can affect system stability. System stability, in turn, is expected to affect aiding attainment behaviors, and these to affect performance.

A split-plot factorial design experiment was conducted to determine when aiding attainment behaviors are most likely to occur and when they are facilitative. Groups were either in a group (appropriate) or an individual (inappropriate) behavior support condition. Group members were either heterogeneous in ability (high, medium, low) or homogeneous (all medium).

Group composition and behavior support had significant and additive effects on aiding attainment behavior. A distinction between active and passive aiding attainment behaviors was found. Active aiding attainment behaviors were significantly affected by behavior support; there was a greater amount of aiding attainment in the group behavior support. Neither group composition nor behavior support had a significant effect on passive aiding attainment behaviors. The correlations between passive aiding attainment behaviors and measures of performance indicate that passive aiding attainment behaviors may be more important in inappropriate behavior supports in order to alert other members of potential problems. That is, aiding attainment behaviors ought to help the group meet it's goals and to maintain balanced outcomes.

Group composition was found to have a direct effect on the outcome variable, quality, over the third and fourth sessions. Finally, aiding attainment was correlated with quality over all conditions and sessions (r;(38) = .35, D < .05) .