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Chapter 5

Chapter 5.pdf

Course Code
PSYC 3430
Peter K Papadogiannis

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Chapter 5: Cohesion
The nature of cohesion
Most theoretically importance concept
Only comes about if a group exists
Signals the health of a group
Cohesive group will more likely prosper over time because it retains members and
allows them to reach goals that would elude a more incoherent aggregate
Group that doesn’t have cohesion is at risk because if too many members drift away, the
group wont survive
Knowing more about cohesion facilitates understanding things like productivity,
member satisfaction and turnover, morale, formation, stability, influence and conflicts
of groups
Components of cohesion
Cohesive groups are unified and morale is high
Members enjoy interacting with one another and remain in the group for prolonged
period of time
o PROBLEM: what about other groups: ones where group members are all friends
but have no commitment the group as a whole or groups where members don’t
feel emotionally connected to one group anymore but still feel proud of their
o RESPONSE: cohesiveness takes many different forms and fulfills many functions
that theorists have complained that the concept, ironically lacks cohesion
Cohesion is not a simple unitary process but a multi-component process with a variety
of indicators
As a result, there is no such thing as a typical cohesive group. Nor is there a single
theory of cohesion that group experts agree properly identifies the core components
of cohesion
o i.e. some stress strength of bonds between members whereas others
emphasize emotional intensity. ( REFER to table on next page for various
definitions of cohesion)
Four interrelated process that serve as glues which hold groups together are :
o Social relations, task relations, perceived unity and emotions
o CLUE to remember STPE :some trucks park everywhere

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Social Cohesion
Lewin & Festinger
Big names in this theory are Kurt Lewin and Leon Festinger
Lewin defined term cohesion to describe the forces that keep groups intact by pushing
members together as well as the countering forces that push them apart
Festinger: stressed social forces that bind individuals together
o He defined group cohesion: the total field of forces which act on members to
remain in the group
In measuring cohesion they focused on attraction more than any other force
o Groups asked to identify all their good friends and calculated the ratio of in-
group choices to out-group choices. The greater the ratio the greater was the
cohesiveness of the group
o Attraction between individuals is a basic ingredient for most groups but when
these relations intensify and proliferate throughout the group, they can
transform a conjoined group into a cohesive one

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Cohesion is a multi level process as well. group members can be bonded to their
groups in a number of ways
o At the individual level and at the group level
o Individual level: specific group members attracted to other group members
o Group level: members attracted to the group itself rather than specific
individuals in the group
Levels of attraction usually covary:
o Friendship among members tends to generate liking for and pride in group as a
However levels of attraction needn’t go hand in hand
o If groups focus is on work and performance not leisure and socializing
Difference in levels of attraction
When cohesion is based on individual level attraction and those who are liked leave the
group, the remaining members are more likely to quit
Cohesion based on group level attraction, people remain members even when specific
members leave the group
Michael Hogg
Some researchers reserve cohesion for group level attraction
Notes that although members of cohesive groups usually like one another, this personal
attraction is not group cohesion rather group cohesion corresponds to a form of group
level attraction that he labels Social attraction
o Social attraction: a liking for other group members that is based on their status
as typical group members
Social attraction is depersonalized based on admiration for individuals
who possess the kinds for qualities that typify the group
Any factor that increases members’ tendency to categorize themselves as group
members (conflict with other groups, presence of an outgroup) will reduce personal
attraction but increase depersonalized social attraction
His view means that cohesiveness is not limited to small groups but is also a feature of
larger collectives and categories
Task cohesion
Many theorists believe that cohesion has more to do with members’ willingness to work
together to accomplish their objectives than it does with positive interpersonal relations
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