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PSYC 3430 (63)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1

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PSYC 3430
Peter Papadogiannis

Chapter 1: Intro to Group Dynamics: What is a group?  Definition: two or more individuals who are connected to one another by social relationships  Size: dyads (two members) and triads (three members) to large collectives (this class, mobs, audiences)  Connected: members are linked, networked. Ex. In a family, relationships are based on kinship. At work, relationships are based on task related interdependencies.  Social, interpersonal connection: not categorical  Why do we need groups? – Many of our activities involve other people. Gain social skills.  The maximum number of ties within a group in which everyone is linked is given by the equation n(n-1)/2, where n is the number of people in the group  Membership – the state of belonging to, or being included in, a social group; also, the collective body of all members of a group  Social network – to become part of a social network, an individual need only establish a relationship of some sort with a person who is already part of the network o Ex. If persons A and B already know each other, they are linked by a social relationship, then C can join their network by establishing a relationship between either A or B. Types of Groups:  Billions of groups in the world – most groups tend to be relatively small (ranging from 2-7 members)  Sociologist John James recorded the size of groups in Portland, Oregon (n = over 9000) and found that groups tend to gravitate to its smallest # = 2  Our first experience is a group experience  No two groups are the same – but groups do process common characteristics  Groups are beneficial, but are also flawed  Not all group experiences are positive  Categories – a collection of people or things that share a common attribute or are related in some way  Groups can be classified by basic categories or clusters – but cant be classified by categories alone  Aggregate – a collection of individuals who are present in the same time are place but who do not form a unit. Ex. Individuals on a subway  Groups and Aggregates can be psychologically fulfilling/satisfying  Moving from a category/aggregate to a group  Perceiving groups: people intuitively draw distinctions between groups/aggregates/collectives – intimate groups, task-focused groups, loose associations, and more general social categories  People often classify groups into two categories – groups and non-groups and different types of groups  Cooley (1909) drew a distinction between primary and secondary groups Types of Groups:  1) Primary groups – small, long-term groups characterized by face-to-face interaction and high levels of interdependence (family, good friends, etc)  2) Secondary groups – larger, less intimate, more goal focused groups. Less emotionally involving. Ex. Study groups, work groups, congregations o Social/Task groups – work groups in employment settings and goal-focused in a variety of non-employment situations. Ex. Teams neighbourhood associations  3) Planned Group – a group that is deliberately formed by its members of an external authority, usually for some specific purpose or purposes o Concocted – planned by individuals or authorities outside the group. Ex. Production lines, military units, task forces, crews professional sports teams o Founded – Planned by one or more individuals who remain within the group. Ex. study groups, small businesses, clubs, associations  4) Emergent Group – a group can result from basically nothing. Groups that form spontaneously as individuals find themselves repeatedly interacting with the same subset of individuals over time and settings o Circumstantial – emergent, unplanned groups arising when external, situational forces set the stage for people to join together often only temporarily, in a unified group. Ex. Waiting lines (queues), crowds, mobs, audiences, bystanders o Self-organizing – emerge when interacting individuals gradually align their activities in a cooperative system of interdependence. Ex. Study groups, friendship cliques in a workplace, regular patrons at a bar  5) Weak associations/Collectives – Aggregations of individuals that form spontaneously, last for brief periods, and have very permeable boundaries. Display similarities in actions and outlook. Ex. Crowds, audiences, clusters of bystanders  6) Categories - Aggregations of individuals similar to one another in terms of gender, ethnicity, religion, or nationality. Ex. Women, Asian Americans, physicians, U.S. citizens, New Yorkers. Entitativity – the apparent cohesiveness of unity of an assemblage of individuals. Ex. an automobile is not perceived to be 4 wheels, doors, a trunk, a hood, a windshield, and so on, but a single thing – a car. Essentialism – The belief that all things, including individuals and groups, have a basic nature that makes them what they are and distinguish them from other things. Paradigm – Scientists’ shared assumptions about the phenomena they study Levels of analysis – the focus of study when examining a multilevel process or phenomenon such as the micro-level (individuals in a group, qualities, characteristics, and actions of the individuals members), meso-level (the group, cohesiveness, size, structure), or the macro-level (the organization or society where the group is located, communities, societies) Interaction:  Groups are systems that create organize, and sustain interaction among members  What do people do in groups – words, actions, instruction, support, emotions  Task interaction – actions performed by individuals pertaining to groups tasks and goals  Relationship interaction – actions performed by the group relation to emotional and interpersonal bonds  As groups increase in size the more task and relationship interacti
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