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Introduction to Group Dynamics BLAST – RAINS Tuesday, December 8 John Huber – Asst. Dir. of Student Activities.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Group Dynamics BLAST – RAINS Tuesday, December 8 John Huber – Asst. Dir. of Student Activities."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Group Dynamics BLAST – RAINS Tuesday, December 8 John Huber – Asst. Dir. of Student Activities

2 Groups, groups, groups The Impressionists: a group of painters The 1980 Olympic Hockey team: a team The Andes Rugby Team: a group of survivors The Apollo 13 crew: 3 astronauts Questions to consider 

3 Overview What is a group? What are some common characteristics of groups? What fields and what topics are included in the scientific study of group dynamics?

4 What is a Group? Definition of a group: Two or more individuals who are connected to one another by social relationships.

5 Size: dyads and triads to large collectives (this in-service, mobs, audiences)

6 Two or more individuals who are connected to one another by social relationships. Connected: members are linked, networked

7 Two or more individuals who are connected to one another by social relationships. Social, interpersonal connection: not categorical only

8 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 Types of groups

9 Congregations, work groups, unions, professional associations Larger, less intimate, more goal-focused groups typical of more complex societies Secondary groups Families, close friends, tight-knit peer groups, gangs, elite military squads Small, long-term groups characterized by face-to- face interaction and high levels of cohesiveness, solidarity, and member identification Primary groups ExamplesCharacteristicsType of Group (Cooley, 1907)

10 Cooley (1907) primary secondary Arrow and her colleagues offer a more fine-grained analysis planned vs. emergent Types of groups ConcoctedFoundedCircumstantialSelf-organizing

11 Study groups, friendship cliques in a workplace, regular patrons at a bar Emerge when interacting individuals gradually align their activities in a cooperative system of interdependence. Self-organizing Waiting lines (queues), crowds, mobs, audiences, bystanders Emergent, unplanned groups that arise when external, situational forces set the stage for people to join together, often only temporarily, in a unified group Circumstantial Groups that form spontaneously as individuals find themselves repeatedly interacting with the same subset of individuals over time and settings Emergent groups Study groups, small businesses, expeditions, clubs, associations Planned by one or more individuals who remain within the group Founded Production lines, military units, task forces, crews, professional sports teams Planned by individuals or authorities outside the group. Concocted Deliberately formed by the members themselves or by an external authority, usually for some specific purpose or purposes Planned groups ExamplesCharacteristicsType of Group

12 Perceiving groups: people intuitively draw distinctions between groups—some look groupier than others 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).

13 Women, Asian Americans, physicians, U.S. citizens, New Yorkers Aggregations of individuals who are similar to one another in terms of gender, ethnicity, religion, or nationality. Social categories Crowds, audiences, clusters of bystanders Aggregations of individuals that form spontaneously, last only a brief period of time, and have very permeable boundaries Weak associations Teams, neighborhood associations Work groups in employment settings and goal-focused groups in a variety of nonemployment situations Task groups Families, romantic couples, close friends, street gangs Small groups of moderate duration and permeability characterized by substantial levels of interaction among the members, who value membership in the group Intimacy groups ExamplesCharacteristicsType of Group

14 Interaction: task and relationship Interdependence: sequential, reciprocal, mutual What are some common characteristics of groups?

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16 Structure: roles, norms, relations Goals: generating, choosing, negotiating, executing McGrath’s Taxonomy of Group Tasks is based on 2 key dimensions: Choosing vs. Executing (Doing) and Generating vs. Negotiating Common characteristics of groups (continued)

17 McGrath’s Taxonomy of Group Tasks is based on 2 key dimensions: Choosing vs. Executing (Doing) and Generating vs. Negotiating

18 The Paradigm: assumptions and orientations Groups are real Group processes are real –groupmind, collective conscious –Sherif's (1936) study of norm formation

19 Person A Person B Person C Convergence Alone Group Session 1 Group Session 3 Group Session 2 Average distance estimates

20 Groups are more than the sum of their parts –Lewin's (1951) field theory: behavior is a function of the person and the environment –B = f(P, E). Assumptions (continued)

21 Groups are living systems: Tuckman's (1965) theory of group development –forming –storming –norming –performing –adjourning Assumptions (continued)

22 Forming Storming Norming Adjourning Task Performing

23 Groups are influential Groups shape society Assumptions (continued)

24 What fields and what topics are included in the scientific study of group dynamics? Interdisciplinary: psychology, sociology, political science, anthropology, business, etc.

25 Team performance; effects of victory and failure; cohesion and performanceSports and Recreation Self and society; influence of norms on behavior; role relations; devianceSociology Team approaches to treatment; family counseling; groups and adjustmentSocial Work Personality and group behavior; problem solving; perceptions of other people; motivation; conflict Psychology Leadership; intergroup and international relations; political influence; power Political Science Classroom groups; team teaching; class composition and educational outcomes Education Organization of law enforcement agencies; gangs; jury deliberationsCriminal Justice Information transmission in groups; discussion; decision making; problems in communication; networks Communication Therapeutic change through groups; sensitivity training; training groups; self-help groups; group psychotherapy Clinical/Counseling Psychology Work motivation; productivity; team building; goal setting; focus groupsBusiness and Industry Groups in cross-cultural contexts; societal change; social and collective identities Anthropology TopicsDiscipline

26 Action research: integrates basic and applied research. Topics: group formation, cohesion, structure, influence, performance, conflict, etc.

27 Collective Behavior Groups and Change Groups in Context Intergroup Relations ConflictLeadershipDecision MakingPerformance Power InfluenceStructureCohesion and Development Group Formation Individual and the Group Research Methods Introduction to Group Dynamics

28 … the "field of inquiry dedicated to advancing knowledge about the nature of groups" (Cartwright & Zander, 1968, p. 7). Group Dynamics!

29 For more information visit


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