1. Characteristics of a group

1.7 Cohesiveness

Cohesiveness is a measure of the attraction of the group to its members (and the resistance to leaving it), the sense of team spirit, and the willingness of its members to coordinate their efforts. Compared with members of a low-cohesive group, those in a high-cohesive group will, therefore, be keen to attend meetings, be satisfied with the group, use "we" rather than "I" in discussions, be cooperative and friendly with each other, and be more effective in achieving the aims they set for themselves. The low-cohesive group will be marked by absenteeism, the growth of cliques and factions, and a sense of frustration at the lack of attainment.

Questions to ask on group cohesiveness are:

  • How satisfied are members with the group and their part in it?
  • Did members seem glad to see each other again?
  • Did there seem to be a sense of shared purpose or was everyone "doing their own thing"?
  • Did any subgroup or private conversations develop?
  • Was the quality and quantity of communication high or low?
  • Did members turn up on time and stay to the end without looking distracted?
  • What evidence was there of interest or lack of interest among members in what was happening or where the group was going?
  • Did members talk inclusively about the group-"our group","we", and "each one of us" rather then "the group","I", or "you"?

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