Groups can work more of less effectively together.
When groups are formed to achieve something together over time, how well they work together will determine a more or less successful outcome.
A work project
An academic project
Creating a product in a team
Solving a problem together
It can be useful to develop and and sign up to a set of ground rules – sometimes called a Group Contract – these are our commitments to each other in terms of behaviours and values that we all sign up to from the start of working together and to completion of our shared task, project or assignment.
Activity – a group contract or “ground rules”
Produce a written contract – to be signed by each of you – which lists the commitments each of you will make to this group about what you will do to help the group works well over the coming year.
Ensure that one person takes responsibility for sharing a copy of this with every group member.
From time to time you may wish to review how your group and the individuals within it are doing in relation to this contract. This may lead you to revise the contract. It may also generate feedback to individuals.
This contract can include…
Being positive rather than cynical
Being honest and not keeping quiet when you have something to say
Respecting others’ opinions
Being prepared to challenge and be challenged
Meetings are confidential
We keep to time
Inform others if you will be late
Do the tasks to you commit to
All actions arising from meetings are minuted and sent out within 24 hours of the meeting
One way to begin to identify the behaviours and attitudes in a group contact is to try this:
Reflecting on today, complete this sentence:
In working with my seminar group colleagues on the Masters programme, I am committed to behave in the following ways …. (Write down three personal commitments.)
Some typical ground rules
Our Group Behaviours
- Time keeping – don’t be late for meetings, always inform in advanced is you are late (if you are late you buy coffee for the rest if the group)
- Deadlines – we set and meet all deadlines and agreed actions: always inform in advance if you have trouble meeting as deadline
- No digital distraction at meetings – phones are off unless used for the group’s purpose
Our Group Attitudes
Be open and honest and prepared to challenge but also respectful of others
Don’t be silent, speak up but don’t dominate conversations
We divide work fairly – no free riders
Bring a positive attitude to meetings; criticism should be constructive
(all group members sign the ground rules or group contract)
Here’s an example…
Find out more: Here is a sample group contract from a course at the University of Delaware. They call them “group ground rules”.
Visit the Group Dynamics Resource Page