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Chapter 9. Leader or Follower?. Chapter Overview. What Goes On in Groups? Communication Patterns Social Influence Social Loafing Group Polarization. Leader or Follower?. Why Join a Group?. Kinds of Groups Primary Groups Secondary Groups Collectives In-Groups and Out-Groups.

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chapter 9

Chapter 9

Leader or Follower?

chapter overview
Chapter Overview

What Goes On in Groups?

  • Communication Patterns
  • Social Influence
  • Social Loafing
  • Group Polarization

Leader or Follower?

Why Join a Group?

Kinds of Groups

  • Primary Groups
  • Secondary Groups
  • Collectives
  • In-Groups and Out-Groups

How Do Groups Form?

chapter overview cont d
Chapter Overview cont’d

Leader or Follower?cont’d

The Fiasco of Groupthink

  • Group Conflict

Are Leaders Made or Born?

  • The Great Man Theory
  • Situational Explanations
  • Contingency Theory
  • Contemporary Theory
  • Gender and Leadership
  • Culture and Leadership

When Groups Go Wrong

chapter summary


Primary groups

Secondary groups








Social influence

Social loafing

Group polarization



The great man theory

Situational explanations of leadership

Contingency theory

Contemporary theories

Gender and leadership

Culture and leadership



Group conflict


kinds of groups
Kinds of Groups

Primary groups: small, intimate, face-to-face groups.

Example: a family


Secondary groups: larger and less intimate than primary groups. They often disband when the reason for their existence disappears.

Example:classes in schools or committees.

Kinds of Groups cont’d

Collectives:very large groups that usually have no leader and no concrete rules.

Example:audiences at official functions.

Kinds of Groups cont’d

In-groups: the group with which we identify.

Example:a college sorority or small military squadron.

Kinds of Groups cont’d


Kinds of Groups cont’d

Out-groups: the groups we perceive as being different from (outside of) our own group.

Example:an ethnic or racial group different from our group

In-group/Out-group processes:

Prejudice: an unfair, often negative attitude toward another person or group based solely on group membership.

Stereotyping: widespread generalizations about people (based on their group membership) which have little if any basis in fact.

Discrimination: unfair treatment or negative treatment to groups on the basis of such features as age, sex, or race.

Kinds of Groups cont’d

Frederick Douglas

Culture also matters when it comes to the value of in-groups and out-groups.

Individualistic cultures--value an individual’s gain over group gains.

Example: United States

Collectivistic cultures--value group gain over individual gain.

Example: Many Asian cultures

Kinds of Groups cont’d

how do groups form
How Do Groups Form?

Forming: the initial state of group development when individuals first come together.

Storming: the second stage of development where members begin to conflict with each other as they come to know one another’s opinions.

Norming: the group comes to agreement about the rules under which it will operate.

Performing:the group eventually comes to agreement (or consensus) and begins to function better.

why join a group
Why Join a Group?
  • To affiliate or be with others.
  • To learn information we otherwise wouldn’t know.
  • To compare ourselves relative to others (social comparison).
  • For social support in times of need.
  • To benefit from collective power.
what goes on in groups
What Goes On in Groups?
  • Communication
  • Social Influence
  • Social Loafing
  • Group Polarization
communication patterns
Communication Patterns
  • Centralized Networks:One or two individuals control the flow of information

Example:A supervisor of multiple work groups


Communication Patterns cont’d

  • Decentralized Networks: individuals communicate in relatively freely with one another; no one person is central to the group.

Example: the rumor mill


Communication Patterns cont’d

Centralized Networks

  • If the central person is not competent, the group is not competent
  • Best for simple group decision-making
  • These groups usually perform efficiently
  • Satisfaction of individual members is not particularly high

Communication Patterns cont’d

Decentralized Networks

  • Best for complicated decision-making (“two heads are sometimes better than one”)
  • Group functioning is often disjointed; no one person has all the information
  • If everyone can communicate, it can become distorted or noisy
  • Individual members may feel they have more freedom to communicate

Communication Patterns cont’d

Group Size

  • A group with many members has the potential to generate many ideas
  • The number of ideas generated is not directly proportional to the group size
  • Interactions in large groups are more likely to be formal (i.e., more rules)
  • In large groups, a few members are likely to dominate

Communication Patterns cont’d

Electronic Communication

  • …includes e-mail, cell phones, voice mail, text and instant messaging.
  • The impact of nonverbal cues is diminished: miscommunication is more likely
  • Status inequities (high and low) are reduced
  • Group members are more likely to communicate than in face-to-face interactions
  • It is more efficient because it is more task-oriented
social influence
Social Influence
  • …involves efforts on the part of one person to alter the behavior or attitudes of one or more other people

There are three types of social influence:

  • Conformity
  • Compliance
  • Obedience
social influence cont d
Social Influence cont’d


is a change in behavior due to the real or imagined influence of other people.

  • Small groups (about four people) are most likely to exhibit conformity.
  • When there are no allies, a nonconformist will not hold his or her ground.
  • Some cultures encourage conformity (e.g. collective societies); in American society we encourage nonconformity and individualism.

Social Influence cont’d


a change in behavior in response to a direct request from another person to do so.

  • An example: when someone asks you for a loan. There is subtle pressure to comply, especially if you borrowed from the individual in the past.
  • Some people comply publicly, but disagree in private with the request.

Social Influence cont’d

Methods Designed to Induce Compliance

  • The norm of reciprocity--an unwritten rule whereby when someone does you a favor, you are obligated to return a favor
  • Ingratiation--managing the impressions you leave on others so that they will like you more and comply with your requests (e.g., flattery)
  • The door-in-the-face-effect happens when someone issues a large, unreasonable request, and then when you refuse, asks for a smaller and more likely-to-be granted request

Social Influence cont’d


occurs following a direct order or command.

  • In a classic experiment on obedience, 65% of Americans obeyed a command to shock another person (Milgram, 1974). One way to reduce obedience is to place the “victim” closer to the person issued the order to do harm.

Social Influence cont’d


  • One way to reduce obedience is to place the “victim” closer to the person issued the order to do harm.
social loafing
Social Loafing

…means that individuals contribute less to a group effort than they would contribute as a single individual.

Ways to reduce social loafing:

  • inform people that their individual performance will be evaluated
  • reinforce to the group that the task is important
  • make the task challenging so people enjoy it
  • assure the group that failure IS possible but NOT acceptable
  • The Nominal Group Technique – a systematic (round-robin polling) approach to soliciting individual input into a group project.
group polarization
Group Polarization
  • Psychologists once believed that groups made riskier decisions than individuals. Individuals probably feel more responsible for failure than members of a group.
  • A newer idea is that groups make EITHER riskier or more conservative decisions than individuals.
  • This is known as the group polarization effect.
are leaders made or born
Are Leaders Made or Born?
  • The Great Man Theory:leaders are born with (or acquire) a set of traits common to all leaders. There is little empirical support for this theory.
  • Situational Explanations of Leadership:a leader is simply in the right place at the right time, such as at the head of the table.
  • Contingency theory: combines both approaches...

Are Leaders Made or Born? cont’d

Contingency Theory

  • Common Traits of leaders: person-centered (or people-oriented) VERSUS task-centered (or oriented toward getting the job done)
  • Situations vary in the level of control the leader has as well as other factors, such as whether subordinates respect the leader
  • Both traitsand situationsinteractto determine whether the leader and group will perform well.
  • People-oriented leaders are better in medium control situations.
  • Task-oriented leaders are better in situations of high or low control.
The Effects of Leader Style and Situational Control as They Affect Group Performance (According to Contingency Theory):
contemporary theories
Contemporary Theories
  • Many leaders have high levels of emotional intelligence-the ability to regulate one’s own emotions as well as be empathetic toward others.
  • Charismatic leadersinspire social change, are visionary, and appeal to their follows’ self-concepts and values.
  • Transformational leadersstimulate interest among followers to view their own work from a new perspective. They generating awareness of the mission/vision of the group, moving individuals beyond their own needs.
gender and leadership
Gender and Leadership
  • Women tend to be more democratic; are more likely to consult with subordinates.
  • Men and women are equally effective as leaders, but adopt different styles
  • As leaders, women are generally evaluated less positively than men
  • Women leaders may be more conflicted than men about career versus family life
culture and leadership
Culture and Leadership

Styles of interaction between leaders and subordinates differ across cultures.

Power distanceis the idea that people in groups accept the concept that people in a group rightfully have different levels of power and authority.

…an important element of interaction in various cultures.

President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi -- Japan

  • High power-distance cultures emphasize leader-driven decision making (e.g.Asian countries).
  • Low power-distance cultures: (e.g. U.S.) subordinates expect and promote more participatory styles of leadership.
when groups go wrong
When Groups Go Wrong

The Fiasco of Groupthink

Groupthinkis the tendency for groups to reach consensus prematurely because of the desire for harmony.

Symptoms of groupthink:

  • The group develops an illusion of vulnerability.
  • Mindguards “guard” the few ideas generated.
  • There appears to be little disagreement as members censor their concerns.
  • Group members derogate the out-group.
  • Members become rather self-righteous.
Consequences of groupthink

few ideas are generated

the group fails to discuss the problems related to their proposed solution

no contingency plans are developed in the event a problem develops

First teacher in space. A shuttle explosion ended her life. Psychologists suspect groupthink caused the explosion.

The Fiasco of Groupthink cont’d


The Fiasco of Groupthink cont’d

Preventing groupthink

  • promote open inquiry and skepticism
  • form subgroups and request each to develop several ideas
  • the leader should refrain from expressing an opinion
  • call in outside experts to provide needed feedback
  • hold a “second chance” meeting in case doubts arise after the decision is made
group conflict
Group Conflict
  • …can occur within a group or between groups.
  • …is good in that it can result in positive change.
  • …can be used to provide a growth experience.
  • Conflicts can often spiral out of control.
  • Threats, stereotypes, prejudices, etc., also contribute to escalation of conflict.
group conflict cont d
Group Conflict cont’d

Culture and Conflict

  • Collectivistic societies: face-saving is very important; disputants try to maintain each others’ self-respect, dignity.
  • Individualistic societies: disputants are concerned with preserving their own self-image.

Styles of managing conflict also differ:

Members of individualistic societies try to overpower opponents; members of collective societies try to avoid conflict altogether.

group conflict cont d45
Group Conflict cont’d

Conflict can be managed if each person knows what the other person really wants--communication is very important!

  • GRIT (Graduated and Reciprocated Initiative in Tension-Reduction)is a method whereby each side gradually concedes something to the other side. Concessions are usually made public.
  • Mediationis when a neutral person helps disputants resolve or manage their conflict.
  • Arbitrationis where a neutral person decides how the conflict will be resolved. Arbitrators generally try to mediate first.