Introduction to Group Dynamics. Groups, groups, groups. The Impressionists: a group of painters The 1980 Olympic Hockey team: a team The Andes Rugby Team: a group of survivors Jobs vs. Sculley: Two executives The Apollo 13 crew: 3 astronauts Questions to consider . Overview.
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The Impressionists: a group of painters
The 1980 Olympic Hockey team: a team
The Andes Rugby Team: a group of survivors
Jobs vs. Sculley: Two executives
The Apollo 13 crew: 3 astronauts
Questions to consider
What is a group?
What are some common characteristics of groups?
What assumptions guide researchers in their studies of groups and the processes within groups?
What fields and what topics are included in the scientific study of group dynamics?
Definition of a group:
Two or more individuals who are connected to one another by social relationships.
Social, interpersonal connection: not categorical only
Billions of groups in the world, but they can be classified into basic categories, or clusters
Cooley (1907) drew a distinction between primary and secondary groups
Small, long-term groups characterized by face-to-face interaction and high levels of cohesiveness, solidarity, and member identification
Families, close friends, tight-knit peer groups, gangs, elite military squads
Larger, less intimate, more goal-focused groups typical of more complex societies
Congregations, work groups, unions, professional associations
Arrow and her colleagues offer a more fine-grained analysis
planned vs. emergent
Deliberately formed by the members themselves or by an external authority, usually for some specific purpose or purposes
Planned by individuals or authorities outside the group.
Production lines, military units, task forces, crews, professional sports teams
Planned by one or more individuals who remain within the group
Study groups, small businesses, expeditions, clubs, associations
Groups that form spontaneously as individuals find themselves repeatedly interacting with the same subset of individuals over time and settings
Emergent, unplanned groups that arise when external, situational forces set the stage for people to join together, often only temporarily, in a unified group
Waiting lines (queues), crowds, mobs, audiences, bystanders
Emerge when interacting individuals gradually align their activities in a cooperative system of interdependence.
Study groups, friendship cliques in a workplace, regular patrons at a bar
Lickel, Hamilton, Sherman, and their colleagues asked people to rate many kinds of aggregations on a scale from 1 (not at all a group) to 9 (very much a group).
Small groups of moderate duration and permeability characterized by substantial levels of interaction among the members, who value membership in the group
Families, romantic couples, close friends, street gangs
Work groups in employment settings and goal-focused groups in a variety of nonemployment situations
Teams, neighborhood associations
Aggregations of individuals that form spontaneously, last only a brief period of time, and have very permeable boundaries
Crowds, audiences, clusters of bystanders
Aggregations of individuals who are similar to one another in terms of gender, ethnicity, religion, or nationality.
Women, Asian Americans, physicians, U.S. citizens, New Yorkers
Interaction: task and relationship
Interdependence: sequential, reciprocal, mutual
Goals: generating, choosing, negotiating, executing
Common characteristics of groups (continued)
McGrath’s Taxonomy of Group Tasks is based on 2 key dimensions: Choosing vs. Executing (Doing) and Generating vs. Negotiating
Entitativity is perceived groupness
Campbell’s theory of entitativity
Common characteristics of groups (continued)
Group dynamics describes both:
Individual level: focus on the individual (psychological)
Group level: focus on the group and social context (sociological)
Multilevel: adopts multiple perspectives on groups
Groups are real
Group processes are real
Interdisciplinary: psychology, sociology, political science, anthropology, business, etc.
Groups in cross-cultural contexts; societal change; social and collective identities
Business and Industry
Work motivation; productivity; team building; goal setting; focus groups
Therapeutic change through groups; sensitivity training; training groups; self-help groups; group psychotherapy
Information transmission in groups; discussion; decision making; problems in communication; networks
Organization of law enforcement agencies; gangs; jury deliberations
Classroom groups; team teaching; class composition and educational outcomes
Leadership; intergroup and international relations; political influence; power
Personality and group behavior; problem solving; perceptions of other people; motivation; conflict
Team approaches to treatment; family counseling; groups and adjustment
Self and society; influence of norms on behavior; role relations; deviance
Sports and Recreation
Team performance; effects of victory and failure; cohesion and performance
Topics: group formation, cohesion, structure, influence, performance, conflict, etc.
Individual and the Group
Cohesion and Development
Groups in Context
Groups and Change
… the "field of inquiry dedicated to advancing knowledge about the nature of groups"
(Cartwright & Zander, 1968, p. 7).