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PSYC 3430 (63)
Chapter 1


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PSYC 3430
Peter Papadogiannis

CHAPTER 1 NOTES INTRODUCTION TO GROUP DYNAMICS Group dynamics: the actions, processes, and changes that occur within groups and between groups. DEFINING GROUPS • Groups come to existence when people become linked together by some type of relationship. • Group: two or more individuals that are connected by and within social relationships • Sociologist John James study suggests that groups tend to gravitate to the smallest size, two. Who are connected? • The larger the group, the more ties are needed to join members to each other and the group. • When the ties linking members are strong, the group is more enduring and its influence on members is more extensive. By and Within Social Relationships: • When people are linked by a relationship, they become interdependent, for they can influence one another’s thoughts, actions, emotions, and outcomes. • A social relationship suggests that this interdependence is not caused by some impersonal factor (proximity or common origin) but by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of other human beings. • 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: a set of interpersonally interconnected individuals or groups. Focus 1.1: E-groups: The reality of Online Groups: • Are people who have never seen each other face-to-face but only communicate through computers considered to be a group? Yes until research suggests otherwise. o Online group: two or more individuals who interact with each other solely or primarily through computer based information technologies rather than through face-to-face interactions. o Offline groups: two or more individuals whose interaction with each other occur primarily or solely in conversational, face-to face situations and not via computer based technology. DISCRIBING GROUPS Interaction: • Task interaction: the conjointly adjusted actions of group members that pertain to the group’s projects, tasks and goals. • Relationship interaction: (socioemotional interaction) the conjointly adjusted actions of group members that relate to or influence the nature and strength of the emotional and interpersonal bonds within the group, including both sustaining (social support, consideration) and undermining actions (criticism, conflict) Goals: • Members of a group are united by their common goals. • The groups Bales studied spent the majority of their time (63%) dealing with goal-related activities. • FOUR TYPES OF GROUP GOALS AND GROUP TASKS: o Generating: concocting strategies, producing new ideas, developing plans, creating novel solutions. o Choosing: selecting between alternatives, settling on a single option among many, making a choice. o Negotiating: managing differences of opinions, resolving conflicts and disputes, improving coordination. o Executing: taking action, carrying out a plan, making something, performing a task. • The most effective groups are the ones that are most conscientious when examining their purposes and procedures. Interdependence: • Mutual dependence, as when one’s outcomes, actions thoughts, feeling and experiences are influences to some degree by other people. o Interdependence can be:  Symmetrical: influence among member is equal and reciprocated.  Hierarchical: person at the top influences those at the bottom and there is no reciprocity.  Hierarchical with unequal reciprocity: those at the bottom might influence the one at the top to a degree, but the one at the top influences those at the bottom to a much greater degree.  Sequential: A influences B, B influences C but there is no reciprocity between them. Structure: • Group members not connected at random, but in organized and predictable patterns • Group Structure: the persistent and interrelated features of a group, such as roles and norms that influence the functioning of the group as a whole and create regularities in the interactions of its members. • Roles: A socially shared set of behaviours, characteristics and responsibilities expected of people who occupy a particular position or type of position within a group; by enacting roles, individuals establish regular patters of exchange with one another that increase predictability and social coordination. (Leader, follower, information seeker, information giver etc.) • Norms: a consensual and often implicit standard that describes what behaviours should and should not be performed in a given context. Cohesiveness: • A group is an entity that forms when interpersonal forces bind the members together in a unit with boundaries that mark who is in the group and who is outside of it. • Group Cohesion: the solidarity or unity of a group resulting from the development of strong and mutual interpersonal bonds among members and group level forces that unify the group, such as shared commitment to group goals. • Without cohesiveness, the group would disintegrate and cease to exist. TYPES OF GROUPS • Primary Groups: o A small, long term group characterized by frequent interaction, solidarity and high levels of interdependence among members that substantially influences the attitude, values and social outcomes of its members. ( families, good fiends) o primary groups protect members from harm, care for them when they are ill and provide them with shelter and sustenance o They create a connection between the individual and society at large. They create a “we” o Examples of Primary groups: close friends, families, gangs, military squads…. • Social Groups: o A relatively small number of individuals who interact with one another over an extended period of time such as work groups, clubs and congregations. o They are larger than primary groups and more formally organized. There is shorter duration and less emotional involvement. o Are often task-oriented: their primary purpose is the performance of tasks rather than enjoying relationships. o Examples of social groups: coworkers, expeditions, fraternities, study groups… • Collectives: o A relatively large aggregation or group of individuals who display similarities in actions and outlook. A street crowd, a line of people, a panicked group escaping a fire are examples of collectives, as are more widely dispersed groups (listeners who respond similarly to a PSA) o Examples of Collectives: audiences, bystanders, crowds, mobs… • Categories: o A social category I a perceptual grouping of people who are assumed to be similar to one another in some ways but different in some ways from individuals who are not member of that group. o Members of the same social group or category often share a common identity with one another; they know who belongs to their category and who does not. o Social Identity: an individual’s sense of self derived from relationships and memberships in groups; also, those aspects of self that are assumed to be common to most of the members of the same group or social category. o Conflict can arise when the sense of us and we interacts with the sense of them and they. (people who belong to different categories) o Examples of categories: Asian Americans, New Yorkers, Women, Men… PERCIEVING GROUPS: There are distinctions between diverse types of groups. • Entitativity: Seeing groups: o Social psychologist Donald Campbell coined this term to describe the apparent cohesiveness or unity of an assemblage of individuals, the quality of being a single entity rather than a set of independent, unrelated individuals.  We don’t see an automobile to be 4 wheels, a trunk, doors, hood etc.; we perceive it as one single thing: a car. o Entitativity is influenced by similarity, proximity and common fate, as well as such perceptual cues as pragnaz (good form) and permeability. • Types of groups and Entitativity: o People are more likely to consider aggregations marked by strong bonds and frequent interactions among members to be groups, but less certain that those aggregations such as crowds, waiting lines or categories qualify as groups. • Entitativity’s Implications: o The THOMAS THEOREM: the theoretical premise, put forward by W.I Thomas, which maintains that people’s understanding of a social situation, even if incorrect, will determine their reactions in the situation. “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences” o This idea of seeing a gathering of people as true groups and not as single individuals triggers psychological and interpersonal changes.  Entitativity changes people’s perceptions of their relationship to their group because it causes members to identify with the group and its goals, values the importance of membership an
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