PSYC 3430 Lecture Notes - Directed Graph, Centrality, Pragmatism

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Chapter 6: Structure
Group Structure: the complex set of relations that organize the group (norms, roles, and intermember
relations and communication)
- Can create strong, long lasting bonds that are resistant to change
- Understanding a group’s structure can allow us to understand behaviours, values, missions, and
goals
- Often, structure makes interpersonal situations quite predictable
Norms: emergent (self-organizing), consensual and often implicit standards that describe what behaviours
should and should not be performed in a given context
- Some norms are specific to a certain group, whereas others are accepted across groups
- Provide direction and motivation, organize social interactions, and make other people’s responses
predictable and meaningful
- Provide order to a group, however each member is somewhat restrained to a degree by norms
Types of Norms:
1. Prescriptive Norms: preferable, positively sanctioned behaviours define the socially appropriate
way to respond in a social situation (encouraged)
2. Proscriptive Norms: prohibited, negatively sanctioned behaviours (discouraged) define the types
of actions that should be avoided if at all possible
3. Descriptive Norms: how people usually act, feel, and think in a given situation (most)
4. Injunctive Norms: more evaluative, how people should act, feel, and think in a given situation
define the sorts of behaviours that people “ought” to perform, people who do not comply are open
to sanction by other members of the group
Organizational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB): behaviour that goes beyond what is expected
- Altruism: helpful behaviours directed toward individuals or groups within the organization
- Generalized Compliance: behaviour that is helpful to the broader organization
The Development of Norms
- Norms are typically implicit standards rather than explicit ones
- Muzafer Sherif: studied norm emergence process by taking advantage of the “autokinetic effect”-
the stationary dot of light will seem to move
o When judgment the dot’s movement repeatedly, they usually established their own
idiosyncratic average estimates, varying from 1 to 10 inches
o When people made their judgments in groups, their personal estimates blended with those
of other group members
o Over time, the group members with the highest and lowest averages changed their
judgments to match the group average (conformity)
Characteristics
1. Consensual: shared among group members, rather than personal, idiosyncratic beliefs
2. Implicit: often so taken for granted that members follow them automatically
3. Self-Generating: emerge as members reach a consensus through reciprocal influence
4. Stable: once they develop, resistant to change and passed from current members to new members
Transmission of Norms
- Sherif confirmed that norms emerge, gradually, as group members’ behaviours, judgments, and
beliefs align over time
o He also placed a confederate (exaggerated judgment), and others conformed this
exaggerated norm lasted for many generations of replacements
o He discovered that even though the other group members were no longer present, the
individual retained the group norm “internalized”
- Norms do not just maintain the order of the group, they maintain the group itself
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Pluralistic Ignorance: when a group member varies their outlook, values, or expectations away from the
group ultimately conform
Norms in Groups:
- For a group norm to have an influence, it must be recognized and accepted by self and other group
members
- Norms of any group vary importance for individuals
- Lower level of importance generally has less adherence
- Less members that identify with the norm = decreased performance
- Less members follow the norm = decreased performance
Roles: the types of behaviours expected of individuals who occupy particular positions within the group
dictate the part that members take as they interact
- People can fulfill the same role in somewhat different ways, and so long as they do not stray too
far from the role’s basic requirements, the group tolerates this variation
Characteristics:
1. Independent of individuals-
2. Flexible (to an extent)- each person may play the role different, but doesn’t stray too much
3. Structure interaction- create patterns of action
Role Differentiation: the emergence and patterning of role-related actions (informal)
- As the group develops, more roles emerge
- Roles tend to become more specialized over time
Types of Roles
1. Task Role: any position in a group occupied by a member who performs behaviours that promote
completion of tasks and activities, such as initiating structure, providing task-related feedback, and
setting goals
2. Relationship Role: any position in a group occupied by a member who performs behaviours that
improve the nature and quality of interpersonal relations among members, such as showing
concern for the feelings of others, reducing conflict, and enhancing feelings of satisfaction and
trust in the group
… The demands of these two roles tend to be incompatible with one another (Robert Bales)
Bales used the IPA system to identify certain specific types of behaviour within the groups
- Most people gravitated towards either a task or a relationship role
- Task Role (“Idea Man”): offered suggestions, and expressed opinions, displayed tension,
disagreement, and antagonism
- Relationship Role (“Best-Liked Man”): showed solidarity, more tension release, and greater
agreement with other group members
Roles, Stress, & Well-Being
- To prevent this, managers should write out clear job-descriptions, and adhere to these
- MAKE ROLES EXPLICIT
Role Ambiguity: unclear expectations about the behaviours to be performed by an individual what ought
and not be performed
- Caused by a lack of clarity in role itself
- Lack of consensus within the group regarding the behaviours associated with the role
- Individual’s uncertainty with regard to the types of behaviours expected of them leads to
decreased satisfaction
Role Conflict: a state of distress or tension associated with inconsistent expectations associated with one’s
role in the group
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Document Summary

Group structure: the complex set of relations that organize the group (norms, roles, and intermember relations and communication) Can create strong, long lasting bonds that are resistant to change. Understanding a group"s structure can allow us to understand behaviours, values, missions, and goals. Often, structure makes interpersonal situations quite predictable. Norms: emergent (self-organizing), consensual and often implicit standards that describe what behaviours should and should not be performed in a given context. Some norms are specific to a certain group, whereas others are accepted across groups. Provide direction and motivation, organize social interactions, and make other people"s responses predictable and meaningful. Provide order to a group, however each member is somewhat restrained to a degree by norms. Organizational citizenship behaviour (ocb): behaviour that goes beyond what is expected. Altruism: helpful behaviours directed toward individuals or groups within the organization. Generalized compliance: behaviour that is helpful to the broader organization. Norms are typically implicit standards rather than explicit ones.

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