ch. 8 - group processes

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Ingrid L.Stefanovic

Chapter 8: Group Processes What is a group? Group: a collection of 2 or more people who interact with each other and are interdependent, in the sense that their need and goals cause them to rely on each other Groups are people who have came together for a common purpose Why do people join groups? Forming relationships with other people fulfills a number of basic human needs In our evolutionary past, there was a substantial survival advantage to establish bonds with other people o People who bounded together were better able to hunt and grow food, find mates, and care for children People in all cultures are motivated to form relationships with other people and to resist the dissolution of these relationships Groups to which we belong even play an important role in defining who we expect to be in the future o Feeling a part of a university was association with positive self-esteem and well being Group membership also plays an important role in motivating people to become involved in social change Those who identify most strongly with their group are most likely to engage in social action The composition and functions of groups Most social groups are from 2-6 members If groups become too large, you cant interact with all of the members o Ex. the college or university you go to is not a social group because you are unlikely to meet and interact with every student there Another important feature of group is that the members tend ot be alike in age, sex, beliefs, opinions Theres 2 reason for homogeneity of groups o First, many groups attract people who are already similar before they join o Second, groups operate in ways that encourage similarity in the members Social norms social norms are powerful determinants of human behaviour but if people go against them, they can be pressured to leave the group Social roles Social roles: shared expectations by group members about how particular people in the group are supposed to behave Norms specify how all group members should behave, roles specify how people who occupy certain positions in the group should behave A boss and an employee in a business occupy different roles and are expected to act in different way in that setting Roles can be very helpful because people know what to expct from each other When members of a group follow a set of clearly defined roles, they tend to be satisfied and perform well There are potential costs to social roles o One cost is that people can get so into a role that their personal identity and personality are lost o Social roles can be so powerful that they can take over our personal identities and we become the role we are playing Ex. the study where students had to take on roles of prisoners and guards However, not all the people are cause in their social roles and unable to resist But most of us would be unable to resist the social influences in powerful situations and would perform acts we thought we were incapable of performing
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