a team or committee can’t work to solve a problem, there may be unseen
forces at work that paralyze productivity.
Below are twelve silent group dynamics that may result in
A significant problem can produce high levels of anxiety,
which may, in turn, pressure a group to solve an issue quickly, even if
it is not the best or most thoughtful solution.
sensitive issues may lead a group to solve a problem that either
doesn’t exist or exists in a way that the solution doesn’t address.
Uncomfortable or personal details involved in an issue which
participants don’t want to confront can lead to weak or ineffectual
decisions or outcomes.
Pressure to conform may move a group to accept “group
think” rather than exercise creative or divergent thinking.
Authoritarianism Fear of authority may shut
down the expression of thoughtful or creative problem solving.
A desire not to
offend others or make colleagues feel uneasy may dampen a group’s
ability to make effective decisions or solutions.
Responsibility diffusion can weaken the outcomes of group work.
This occurs when group members deny or refuse to accept
responsibility for a group decision.
“Involvement laziness” can weaken group work when individuals
decide they don’t have to engage or contribute to the collective
Group efforts will suffer if members feel they can secure safety
in irrelevance. In other
words, members will focus on side issues or minutia in order to avoid an
unpleasant truth or fact.
Individual power plays or self-aggrandizement can derail a
Lack of orientation, goals, or direction can lead a group to
stagnate in confusion or “wheel spinning.”
When personal vendettas, spoken or unspoken, play
out during group work, they derail the focus and effectiveness of the