Group contract – is the regulatory document that governs the expectations of the members of a group. First of all, it contains their names and contact details. In addition, all their expectations regarding, among other things, the rules of participation in group meetings, their frequency and duration, as well as the rules of communication are described. A given document should also focus on which behaviors in the group are desirable (e. g. mutual help) and which are not (e. g. criticism without arguments). Most often there are 5 to 7 group rules, which are then followed by their members. Moreover, such a document establishes to whom specific tasks can be assigned and what are the associated responsibilities (including the definition of deadlines for their implementation).
Setting ground rules
The establishment of common rules should be primarily characterized by an intra-group agreement. The person responsible for group supervision or management should convene the first formal meeting at which all relevant and, above all, applicable rules will be established. At the very beginning, it is worthwhile for the participants to fill in a questionnaire in which they will enter their basic information such as:
- Name and surname;
- Experience to date;
- Expectations of your group;
- It's a hobby thing.
The above activities give the manager a profile with the people with whom he or she will work. After an initial acquaintance with its participants, it is time to come forward with initial proposals for harmonizing the group's work. The manager should start asking soft questions such as:
- How do you imagine cooperation in a group?
- What motivates you the most to act?
- What kind of behavior do you not like the most?
They will allow the discussion to take place and the participants to get to know each other. The manager will receive the relevant information about the group's expectations and will have the opportunity to confront them with the initial plan of the established rules.
Finally, the rules should be accepted by the members of the group. If they are properly voted through in the final form, the first version of the group contract will be created.
Assigning a roles
Once the rules are established, it is important that the manager assign roles to each member of the group. They can boil down to roles of supporters, leaders, and aggregators of knowledge. It all depends on the individual predispositions of the participants and the discussion that should be held at the beginning.
Most often, the given character traits also result from the recruitment process of an assessment center, where the later managing person should receive appropriate feedback from the HR department or participate in the recruitment of his or her potential new team.
- Hansen Z., Owan H., Pan J., Suguwara S. 2011, p.8-16
- Bouma, J. A., Nguyen, Binh, van der Heijden, Eline, Dijk, J. J. 2018, p. 7-11
- Agarwal U. A., Datta S., Blake-Beard S., Bhargava S. 2012 , p. 208 - 230
- Agarwal U.A., Datta S., Blake-Beard S., Bhargava S. (2012),Linking LMX, innovative work behaviour and turnover intentions: The mediating role of work engagement,Career Development International,p.208 - 230
- Bouma, J. A., Nguyen, Binh, van der Heijden, Eline, Dijk, J. J. (2018), Analysing Group Contract Design Using a Lab and a Lab-in-the-Field Threshold Public Good Experiment,Center for Economic Research,p.7-11
- Hansen Z., Owan H., Pan J., Suguwara S. (2011), Impact of Group Contract and Governance Structure on Performance -- Evidence from College Classroom, Analysis of Collective Decision-Making,p.8-16
Author: Agnieszka Gogola