What Is a Group?

What Is a group? Why groups are important Nature and types of groups What does it take to have a productive group? Stages of group development The field of group dynamics Kurt Lenin Summary questions Can you Imagine your Life without Belonging to Other People? Membership in groups is inevitable and ubiquitous. We are not able to survive without belonging to groups – we are born into one, and interact in groups for most of our lives Our personal identity is derived from the way in which we are perceived and treated by other members of groups we belong to.

Maintaining a viable family -Effective business and industries -Education -Long term maintenance of psychological health Knowledge of group dynamics can and will change your life Group dynamics is the scientific study of: -The nature of groups -Behavior in groups -Group development -Interrelations between groups and individuals -Interrelations between groups and other groups A Group is a Number of Individuals who a.

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Join together to achieve a goal b. Are all affected by the same event – they are interdependent c. Interact with one another d. Perceive themselves as belonging to a group . Whose interactions are structured by a set of rules and norms f. Influence each other g. Are trying to satisfy some personal need through their Joint association Which definition(s) do you agree with?

The Group Definition we are going to work with Two or more individuals In face-to-face interaction Each member is aware of -Positive interdependence as they strive to achieve mutual goals -His/her membership in the group -The others who belong to the same group Group Structure: Roles and Norms Roles -differentiate the responsibilities of group members.

Set of expectations defining the appropriate behavior of an occupant of a position toward other related positions Norms -integrate members’ efforts into a unified whole -Common beliefs regarding group members’ appropriate behavior, attitudes and perceptions; (implicit and explicit) rules that regulate the behavior of group members Roles and Status Status: -Function of the degree to which an individual’s contribution is crucial -How much power (control over outcomes) an individual has -The extent to which the person embodies some idealized/admired characteristic.

Status and power usually go hand in hand, but not always Group’s common beliefs about appropriate behavior, attitudes, perceptions; help maintain behavioral consistency, and predict other members’ behavior Not imposed, develop out of the interaction among members Social products Muzzier Sheriff’s (1936) study Newcomer’s (1943) study of group norms at Pennington College The Group Performance Curve Pseudo group: Members assigned to work together, but perception of competitive structure. Performance below individual level. Traditional work group: Members assigned to work together, but are held accountable individually reception of individual work structure. Members seek information from each other, but are not motivated to share information. Conscientious members feel exploited do less.

Effective group: Positive interdependence, clear operational goals, constructive conflict resolution, distributed leadership, individual accountability High performance group: Effective groups + high level of commitment members have for each other and for the success of the group An Effective Group Achieves its goal Maintains good working relationships among members Adapts to changing conditions in the world If you Want an Effective

Group 1 . Establish clear, operational and relevant group goals that create positive interdependence and evoke a high level of commitment from every member 2. Establish effective two-way communication members. 4. Make sure power is distributed among group members corresponding to the needs of group members 5. Match method of decision making with the needs of the situation with the 1. Availability of time and resources 2. Size and seriousness of the decision 3. Amount of member commitment needed to implement the decision. Consensus rules! 6.

Encourage structured controversies. 7. Ensure that members face their conflicts of interests, use integrative negotiations and mediation to resolve their conflicts. Development of Groups over Time Recurring phase theories Sequential stage theories -Dustman’s (1965) five stages (forming, storming, morning, performing, and adjourning), involving nondestructive, passive leaders. -What happens if the group leader intervenes to ensure that the group functions productively? Stages of Group Development 1. Defining and structuring procedures 2. Conforming to procedures and getting acquainted 3. Recognizing mutuality and building trust 4. Rebelling and differentiating .

Committing to and taking ownership of the goals, procedures, and other members 6. Functioning maturely and productively 7. Terminating The Field of Group Dynamics Relationship among theory, research, and practice History of the Field of Group Dynamics Gained prominence in the early sass – goal: – maintain a democratic form of government and solve current problems 2 interrelated movements in psychology : –

Application of group dynamics theory how to train leaders and group members in the social skills necessary for democratic groups Triplett (1898) social facilitation-impairment studies, social interdependence, social loafing sass-ass: are individuals or groups more productive? > research on social interdependence, conformity, group popularization, Late sass and ass -Lenin, Newcomer (1943), White (1943);

Lenin, Lippies and White (1939) study of the effect of leadership styles on group dynamics Starting with the sass social psychology focused on the individual as the unit of analysis (Fastening’s studies on social communication, social comparison, cognitive dissonance, Hider’s attribution theory (1958) sass and sass – resurgence of group dynamics (Deutsche, Johnson & Johnson, Teasel, Microcosmic) Kurt Lenin (1890-1947) “If you want truly to understand something, try to change it” “Nothing is as practical as a good theory.

” A theorist and a doer Main goal: construct an empirically based theory of human behavior Action research – social science theory should not Just advance knowledge, but also solve questions that have significant social value Field theory analysis – the “proposition that human behavior is the function of both the person and the environment: expressed in symbolic terms, B = f (P, E). He pioneered the use of theory, using experimentation to test hypothesis – manipulating complex variables in natural settings.

He and his associates developed a wide variety of theories and research programs that defined the field of group dynamics Summary Why study group dynamics? What is a group? Why are roles and norms essential for groups? What characteristics distinguish effective groups from traditional groups? What stages do groups go through? What is the relationship among research, theory and practice? “If you want truly to understand something, try to change it” – What does this quote tell you about Kurt Lenin as a researcher?