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Chapter 1

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PSYC 3430
Peter Papadogiannis

Chapter 1 Group dynamics are: The influential actions, processes and changes that occur within groups and between groups, over time The scientific study of those processes What is a group? Requires at least two people Groups connect people to one another In most cases the connection is a socially meaningful one A group is two or more individuals who are connected by and within social relationships. Dyads two members Triads three members On average, most groups tend to be relatively small in size, ranging from two to seven members. Smaller groups of two or three members possess many unique characteristics simply because it includes so few members. Dyad: Only group that dissolves when one member leaves Only group that can never be broken down into subgroups Sometimes linked by a unique and powerful type of relationship love o Makes their dynamics more intense than those found in other groups Larger Groups: Members are rarely connected directly to all other members Subgroups are likely to form One or more leaders may be needed to organize and guide the group The members of any given group are networked together like a series of interconnected computers. These connections or ties, may be based on strong bonds, like the links between family members or a clique of close friends. The larger the group, the more ties are needed to join members to each other and to the group. The maximum number of ties within a group in which everyone is linked to everyone else is shown through the following equation: n(n-1)/2 n is the number of people in the group 10 ties would be needed to join each member in a 5 person group 45 ties would be needed to join each member in a 10 person group 190 ties would be needed to join each member in a 20 person group Twice as many ties are needed if they are directed relations People in a group are linked by their membership. The state of being part of, or included within, a social group. Group relationships link each member to one another and to the group as a whole Define who is in the group itself Unlike networks, groups have boundaries o To become part of a network, a person must establish a link with a person who is already in the network o Groups in contrast usually have stable but permeable boundaries Group members share a common identity with one another o They know who is in their group and who is not o The know what qualities are typical of insiders and outsiders o Called social identity Qualities that are held in common by two or more people who recognize that they are members of the same group or social category Creates a sense of we, us, they The sum of a persons social identifications, where the latter represents socially significant social categorizations internalized as aspects of the self concept Group Qualities Interaction: Group interaction is as varied as human behaviour o Exchange information with each other, verbally and nonverbally o Get into arguments o Talk over issues o Make decisions o Provide help and support for one another o Work together to accomplish goals o Teach each other new things o Touched each other literally and emotionally Two basic types of interaction: o Relationship interaction (socioemotional interaction) The interpersonal, social side of group life Actions performed by group members that relate to or influence the emotional and interpersonal bonds within the group, both positive and negative actions. If group members need support, others will offer kind words and other forms of help When group members disagree with others, they are often roundly criticized and made to feel foolish When a coworker wears a new suit, others notice in his or her work unit and offer criticisms or compliments Such actions sustain or undermine the emotional bonds linking the members to one another and to the group o Task interaction In contrast, includes all group behaviour that is focused principally on the groups work, projects, plans and goals Must coordinate their various skills, resources and motivations so the group can make a decision, generate product or achieve victory Goals: Groups usually exist for a reason o A team strives to outperform other teams in competitions o A study group wants to help members get better grades Members of a group are united in their pursuit of common goals Circumplex model of group tasks a conceptual taxonomy developed by Joseph McGrath that orders group tasks in a circular pattern based on two continua: cooperative-competitive and conceptual-behavioural o Distinguishes among four basic group goals: Generating Ideas or plans. Groups that concoct the strategies they will use to accomplish their goals (Type 1: planning tasks) or to create altogether new ideas and approaches to their problems (Type 2: creativity tasks). Choosing Groups that make decisions about issues that have correct solutions (Type 3: intellective tasks) or questions that can be answered in many ways (Type 4: decision making tasks) Negotiating Groups that must resolve differences of opinion among members regarding their goals or decisions (Type 5: cognitive conflict tasks) or resolve competitive disputes among
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