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GROUP COHESION. The strength of bonds between group members. The unity of a group. The feeling of attraction between group members and the group itself. The degree to which members coordinate their efforts to achieve goals. COHESION AS A BOND.

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group cohesion
  • The strength of bonds between group members.
  • The unity of a group.
  • The feeling of attraction between group members and the group itself.
  • The degree to which members coordinate their efforts to achieve goals.
cohesion as a bond
  • Means – the total field of forces that act on members to remain in the group.
  • Similar to the forces of physics, where the forces hold particles of matter together.
  • What are some of the forces that hold people in groups despite adversity?
cohesion as unity
  • Here the term means the we-ness of the group.
  • There is a heightened sense of belonging.
  • There is a shared sense of group identity
  • Creates a desire to be active, and enthusiastic about the group.
  • Motivates members to sacrifice their own individual desires for the good of the group.
cohesion as attraction
  • Cohesion as a special kind of attraction between members.
  • The people in the group like each other.
  • The distinction should be made between personal attraction and social attraction.
  • Group cohesion corresponds to depersonalized affiliation based on group membership rather than a person liking of one another.
cohesion as teamwork
  • The willingness to work together toward some goal
  • There is a sense of personal responsibility to the group effort
  • A feeling of letting the group down when failure occurs
cohesion as multidimensional
  • Some social scientists argue that cohesion cannot be understood as a single dimension.
  • The concept is too complex to be defined as one dimensional.
  • There is very little commonality between the cohesion that exists in one group and that of another.
  • One group is cohesive because the members like one another, but another group is cohesive because the members work well together.
consequences of cohesion
Consequences of Cohesion
  • Member Satisfaction
    • In general, people are more satisfied in groups that are cohesive.
    • Cohesion provides a healthier social psychological setting than non-cohesive groups.
    • However, when people become dependent on the group any disruption can cause emotional stress.
      • While cohesion provides initial psychological support, the loss of group members can also cause stress.
      • Also, new members may not be accepted.
consequences of cohesion1
Consequences of Cohesion
  • Group Dynamics
    • Members more readily accept group goals.
    • Pressure to conform is greater – groupthink.
  • Group Performance
    • The cohesion-performance link is significant.
    • Three associated variables are: attraction, group pride, and commitment to task.
    • Strongest when cohesion is based on commitment to task, rather than attraction or pride.
work teams
Work Teams
  • Cohesive productive units….
  • But work teams are distinguished by the magnitude of the group dynamics.
    • Interaction – cooperative and coordinated
    • Structure – highly structured, group norms, roles, and communication patterns are explicitly stated.
    • Cohesion – united in the pursuit of a common goal.
    • Social Identity – common identity which is greater than the sum of the individuals.
    • Goals – teams are oriented toward a specific goal.
team building
Team Building
  • Based on the assumption that success in work groups results from a collaborative interdependence that develops through practice.
  • Five key components to the team building process:
  • Goal Setting – through a consensus building process the specific tasks that must be completed to achieve the group goal.
  • Role Definition – team members must know their role responsibilities, but they must also know the responsibilities of other team members.
  • Interpersonal Process Analysis – group members should be encouraged to study the patterns of communication, decision making, attraction, and conflict. The resulting information should be used to improve the group dynamics.
  • Cohesion Building – creating situations that improve team spirit. Continually developing trust, cooperation, and group identity.
  • Problem Solving – members should be encouraged to identify problems that undermine the ability to accomplish the stated goals, and propose solution strategies to over come the problems. If the solutions are not successful alternative solutions must be found.
  • Norms are the rules that guide human behaviors.
  • All human behavior is guided by norms. There are rules for every human behavior!
    • Descriptive norms define what people would do, feel, or think in a situation
    • Prescriptive norms define what people should do in a situation. Dominate men's’ lives.
    • Proscriptive norms define what people should not do in a situations. Dominate women’s lives.
    • Norms gradually emerge as members align their behaviors until they match certain standards.
transmission of norms
Transmission of Norms
  • New norms develop when the context provides little information to guide actions or beliefs.
  • Groups internalize norms by accepting them as standards for behavior.
    • The longer a person remains part of the group, the deeper the norms become internalized. Called differential association.
  • A norm, when established, becomes a social fact.
    • Norms that cause immediate sanctions by other members of the group.
    • Traditions continue without the original members.
  • Roles are sets of behavior that are expected of persons in a certain socially defined position (status).
  • Roles are either explicit or implicit.
    • Explicit roles are the expectations that are directly communicated to the person.
    • Implicit roles are the expectations that are not directly communicated, you are just expected to “know.”
how roles influence status evaluations
How Roles Influence Status Evaluations
  • A persons evaluation as a status position holder is directly related to the degree to which they fulfill the role expectations of “others.”
    • Both explicit and implicit roles behaviors are involved in status evaluations, although not always with equal weight.
    • In general, the greater the number of roles a person excels at, the higher the person is evaluated as a status holder.
    • The principle applies to ALL status positions: teacher, lover, dancer, kisser, boy/girl friend, wife or husband, mother or father, secretary, lawyer, and police officer (to name a few).
    • The more status positions an individual holds the more complex and difficult the fulfillment of role responsibilities.
role differentiation
Role Differentiation
  • The development of specific roles (think behaviors) within the group, such as sets meeting date and time, records minutes, etc.
  • Task roles – behaviors in the group related to goal oriented task focused activities.
  • Socio-emotional roles – behaviors that relate to interpersonal relations; support, accommodation.
  • Individual roles – behaviors that relate to individual (or outside group) interest.
role ambiguity
Role Ambiguity
  • Stress occurs when one role conflicts with another or a role is ambiguously defined.
    • Role Ambiguity exists when the behavioral expectations are unclear or absent.
    • Indicated by statements such as:
      • I don’t know what is expected of me
      • I don’t know how I will be evaluated for a raise
      • The planned goals and objectives are not clear
role conflict
Role Conflict
  • Role conflict exists when two or more roles become incompatible.
    • Interrole conflict occurs when two or more roles attached to different status positions are incompatible.
    • Intrarole conflict results from having two or more roles within the same status position that are incompatible.
intermember relations
Intermember Relations
  • Status refers to a socially defined position that a group member occupies.
  • Status hierarchies are variations in the expectation of control among group members.
    • Status differentiation- The development of authority relations within groups.
expectation states theory
  • The theory’s main tenet is that when a group seeks members to fill a status position two types of cues are used.
    • Specific-status characteristics - Specific behavioral characteristics that members take as evidence of one’s ability at the task to be performed.
    • Diffuse-status characteristics - General qualities, such as sex and age, that group members use to allocate status.
  • Status generalization- The tendency for irrelevant, diffuse-status characteristics to influence the status hierarchy in the group
social standing
Social Standing
  • Sociometric Differentiation is the development of patterns of liking and disliking in a group.
  • Sociometric Structure is the patterns of liking and disliking in a group
fritz heider s balance theory
Fritz Heider’s Balance Theory
  • Assumes interpersonal relationships can either be balanced or unbalanced.
  • A group is balanced if:
    • All the relationships are positive, or
    • There is an even number of negative relationships
  • A group is unbalanced if there is an odd number of negative relationships.
  • Unbalanced relationships create tension which must be relieved by changing some element of the system.
    • Psychological changes in the group members.
    • Interpersonal changes in the group membership.
communication networks
Communication Networks
  • Communication networks are patterns of communication in a group that describe who speaks most frequently to whom.
    • Centralized networks tend to use a hub of data collection and analysis.
    • Very efficient when the task is relatively simple, less effective when the task is complex. Because of information saturation.
    • Those on the fringe of the communication network tend to be the most dissatisfied people in the group.
  • Communication in hierarchical networks generally flows downward and the information that is sent upward is often unrealistically positive.


Interpersonal processes that change group members’ thoughts, feeling, and behavior.

Majority influence pushes the group toward consensus.

Minority influence sustains individuality and innovation.

asch s research on conformity
Asch’s researchon conformity
  • Subjects asked to judge which of three lines (A–C) matched another line (X)
  • The correct answer was obvious
  • Others in the room (confederates) selected the wrong answer
  • 75% of participants conformed to incorrect judgment at least once
asch s research continued
Asch’s research (continued)
  • Situation contained no explicit sanctions for nonconformity
  • Participants either changed their belief in their initial judgment
  • Or, just went along to be accepted by the group
responses to social influence
Responses to social influence
  • Compliance
  • Identification
  • Internalization
  • Conformity due to rewards or punishments
  • Often temporary
  • Based on the power of the influencer
  • Conformity based on the desire to be like the influencer
  • Based on the attractiveness of the influencer
  • Complete acceptance of a new belief
  • Relatively permanent
  • Based on credibility of influencer
  • Conversion (private acceptance) is where group members actually change their mind
factors affecting influence
Factors Affecting Influence
  • Culture
  • Sex
  • Individual Characteristics
  • Setting
the influence culture
The Influence Culture
  • To a certain extent conformity is affected by culture
    • Whether the culture is collectivist or individualistic
    • But research does not support the idea that rebellious cultures produce less conformity
    • In general, people are becoming less conformist across cultures
the influence of sex
The Influence of Sex
  • In social situations women are more conforming than men
  • But in private situations women are not more conforming than men
  • Sex role socialization plays a large part in the level of conformity
  • Women conform to develop consensus and stability
  • Men do not conform to distinguish themselves from others
the influence of individual characteristics
The Influence of Individual Characteristics
  • Three variables have been found to be most associated with differences in conformity: age, personality, and expertise.
  • Age – The young tend to be more conforming than older people.
  • Personality – Authoritarian people (conventional, conservative, respectful of authority) tend to be more conforming than the laissez faire person.
  • Expertise – Those who have more experience in a given situation (or task) are less likely to conform, despite the pressure from the group.
minority influence
Minority Influence
  • Minorities that offer compelling arguments against the majority are more influential.
  • Minorities are more influential when the majority is uncertain.
  • Minorities who explain dissent with their own expertise are more influential.
  • Minorities that sit at the head of the table are more influential.
  • Minorities that make some concessions to the majority are more influential.
sources of group influence
Sources of Group Influence
  • Informational Influence
    • The influence that results from the discovery of new information about a situation.
  • Normative Influence
    • The influence that results from a desire to think, feel, and act in ways that are consistent with group norms. Deviance is often punished and therefore, avoided.
  • Interpersonal Influence
    • The influence that results from personal appeals such as, complaining, demanding, threatening, and manipulating others.
power v authority
Power V. Authority
  • Power is the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position to carry out his/her will despite the resistance of others, regardless of the base of power
    • power is essentially tried to the personality of the individual
bases of power
Bases of Power
  • Reward
    • The power person controls the positive and/or negative reinforcements for the target person(s).
  • Coercive
    • The power person controls the punishments feared by the target person(s).
  • Legitimate
    • The target believes the power person has the justifiable right to demand the performance of certain behaviors from the target.
  • Referent
    • The power person derives power from the respect or admiration the target has for the power person.
  • Expert
    • The power person has power over the target because of some special skill or abilities.
  • Informational
    • The ability to use (misuse) informational resources, including rational argument, persuasion, and data (factual or false) to wield power over a target.
  • Authority is the probability that a command, with a specific content, will be obeyed by a given group of people.
    • authority is always associated with the social position (status).
    • authority alone is part of the social structure, and therefore permits systematic development of group conflict.
the nature of authority
The Nature of Authority
  • Authority always produces structure conflicts in all societies because:
    • Authority relations are always relations of super and subordination
    • The super ordinate is expected to control the subordinate
    • Expectation are attached to status positions rather than the character of the individual
    • Authority relations specify the persons subject to control and the spheres within which control is permissible.
      • In all socialized relations, there is a duty to obey.
    • Since the authority relations are legitimate, non-compliance results in negative sanctions.
      • The function of the legal system to support the exercise of legitimate authority.
conformity defined

Conformity (defined)

A change in a person’s behavior or opinions as a result of real or imagined pressure from a person or group of people

milgram and obedience
Milgram and Obedience
  • Ground-breaking research conducted at Yale in the 1950s
  • Participants acted as the teacher; the “learner” was a confederate
  • “Teacher” administered increasingly intense shocks as instructed by experimenter when learner gave wrong answer
  • 65% of participants continued to the end of the experiment
milgram and obedience continued
Milgram and Obedience (continued)

Milgram’s research scenario maximized

Milgram’s research scenario maximized


  • Participants were volunteers
  • Participants were alone with experimenter
  • Experimenter was highly credible authority figure
  • Setting was highly credible university
  • Obedience decreased if authority figure not present in the room
  • Obedience decreased if experiment conducted in rundown commercial bldg
  • Obedience decreased if “teacher” required to hold “learner’s” arm on the shock plate
obedience continued
Obedience (continued)
  • People predict that others will obey to a greater degree than they do
  • People predict that they themselves will obey much less than they actually do
power tactics
Power Tactics
  • Direct/Indirect Tactics
    • Direct tactics include threats, demands, and faits accomplis (simply going ahead).
    • Indirect tactics include manipulation, hints, ingratiation.
  • Rational/Non-rational
    • Rational tactics include reasoning, logic, and good judgment.
    • Non-rational tactics include misinformation, deceit, and emotional appeal.
  • Bilateral/Unilateral
    • Bilateral tactics include cooperation, discussion and negotiation.
    • Unilateral tactics include demands, evasion, and disengagement.
resistance to power and authority
Resistance to Power and Authority
  • Reactance
    • A cognitive and emotional reaction that occurs when a person feels that their freedom to make choices is threatened.
    • The person tries to reassert their autonomy.
  • Revolutionary Coalition
    • A subgroup that forms within a larger group that seeks to overthrow the current leadership.
  • Disruptive Contagion
    • If the non-compliant person in the group is too severely punished a ripple effect of discontent can spread to other members of the group.
social facilitation

Social Facilitation

When does the presence of other improve our performance?

social facilitation defined
Social Facilitation: Defined
  • Social facilitation refers to the enhancement in task performance that occurs when people work in the presence of others.
  • Research has used two different social facilitation conditions:
    • Audience – a condition where the person performs in front of a passive audience.
    • Co-action – a condition where the person performs with others who are performing the same task.
robert zajonc distraction conflict theory
Robert Zajonc: Distraction/Conflict Theory
  • Zajonc reviewed the conflicting literature on social facilitation in an attempt to discover the contradictory findings on social facilitation.
  • Discovered two distinct types of tasks that were being required to be performed.
    • Dominant tasks – are those that have been practiced by the person to the point of being second nature. No special thought is required to complete the task.
    • Non-dominant tasks – are those that have not been practiced to the point of second nature. Special thought is required to compete the task.
distraction conflict theory
Distraction/Conflict Theory
  • Performing a task in the presence of others distracts the performer.
    • The distraction creates a “response conflict” for the performer.
    • Who or what should I pay most attention to?
  • Dominant tasks can tolerate larger amounts of response conflict.
    • The presence of others increases the level of task concentration by the performer, thus increasing the level of performance (social facilitation).
  • Non-dominant tasks can only tolerate low levels of response conflict.
    • The presence of others creates a response conflict that can not be over come (decreases task concentration), thus decreasing the level of performance (social interference).
other theories on social facilitation
Other Theories on Social Facilitation
  • Compresence Theory
    • The main tenet is that the mere presence of others increases the arousal (heart rate, adrenaline, blood pressure) in the performer.
    • The increases arousal stimulates an increase in the performance.
  • Evaluation Apprehension Theory
    • The main tenet is that the lower the level of apprehension, the higher the level of performance.
    • Conversely, the higher the apprehension, the lower the performance.
ivan steiner s task typology
Ivan Steiner’s Task Typology
  • Answers the question of how to organize a group to accomplish different tasks.
  • Identifies the six basic task dimensions:
  • The difficulty of the problem
  • Number of solutions
  • Intrinsic interest level of the task
  • The amount of cooperation required
  • The tasks intellectual/manipulative requirements
  • Participants familiarity with the task
can the task be broken down into components
Can the task be broken down into components?
  • Yes - Divisible
    • The task has two or more component parts.
    • Examples: building a house, preparing a meal
  • No – Unitary
    • The task has only one component,
    • Examples: reading a book, solving a math problem
which is more important quantity of quality
Which is more important, Quantity of Quality?
  • Maximizing task – whenever more is better.
    • Examples, generating ideas, moving sand bags
  • Optimizing task – good performance is based on predetermined criteria.
    • Examples, getting the right answer, painting a picture
how are individual inputs related to the group product
How are individual inputs related to the group product?
  • Additive – all inputs are added together.
    • Examples: tug of war, stuffing envelops, moving sand bags
  • Compensatory – the group product is the average of individual inputs.
    • Examples: the number of beans in a jar, guessing the weight of an object, selecting a room temperature
  • Disjunctive – the group product is a single choice from a pool of choices.
    • Examples: verdict from a jury, finding the problem with a computer, coaching staff setting a line-up
  • Conjunctive – the product is not complete until all members of the group complete their tasks.
    • Examples: climbing a mountain, relay race, class group projects
    • Kohler effect is the tendency for increased performance by groups because of improved performance by less skilled members of the group.
  • Discretionary – the group decides how individual inputs relate to the end product.
    • Examples: shoveling snow, team trivial pursuit
task typology applications
Task Typology Applications
  • Using the typology helps groups decide how to organize to most effectively produce a given product.
  • A group of students writing a class paper?
    • Divisible – Optimizing – Discretionary
  • City residents building a dike to stop flood waters?
    • Unitary – Maximizing – Additive
why doesn t the best team always win
Why doesn’t the best team always win?
  • Groups have one problem that individual performers do not have; process loss.
  • A group of people must construct a process for coordination of action.
  • The process is separate from the combined skill level of the individual performers.
  • Productivity = potential - process loss
process loss coordination and motivation problems
Process Loss: coordination and motivation problems
  • Coordination Problems
    • The problem here is that the group has only so much ability to combine their inputs in a constructive manner.
      • A lack of simultaneity of effort!
  • Motivation Problems
    • Ringelmann effect – the tendency for people to become less productive when they join a group.
      • The larger the group the greater the loss.
      • There is a diffusion of responsibility.
      • Social loafing is the reduction of individual effort when part of a group.
      • Free riding is a situation where an individual can do less than their share of work and still share equally in the groups rewards.
overcoming process loss
Overcoming Process Loss
  • Increased Personal Involvement
    • The greater the individuals personal stake in the group task, the lower the social loafing and free riding.
    • Indispensable contribution encourage more full involvement from each group member.
  • Clarify Group Goals
    • Groups that develop clear and singular goal reduce process losses.
  • Set High Standards
    • In general the higher the goal standard the better the performance of groups.
    • But – a level of aspiration that is too high can undermine individual effort.
  • Increase Collective Efficacy
    • Groups that belief their group can control the outcome in a situation increase the level of effort from all members.
  • Increase Unity
    • The greater the value of the group to individual members, the lower the level of process loss.