History of Group Dynamics

Report
What is a Group? History of Groups
Outline
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Class Exercise
What is a group?
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History of group dynamics
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Members of groups interact
Groups have structure
Groups have goals
Members identify themselves as a group
Groups have two or more members
Late 19th Century & LeBon
Psychological Perspective
Sociological Perspective
Today’s Group Dynamics
Dracula Exercise
Class Exercise
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1) List everything you do in a
typical day from the moment you
wake up to the moment you fall
asleep.
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2) Write at least ten different
answers to the following question:
Who am I?
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3) Count on your list all of the
activities you perform with groups
and those you perform alone.
Calculate a percentage of group
activities.
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4) Count on your list descriptions
that include information about the
groups we belong to (and those
that don’t). Calculate a percentage.
Members of Groups Interact
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Groupness
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Size
Interdependence
Temporal pattern
Groups are ‘groupier’ when they are small, able to interact on a
variety of issues, and have a past and envision a future
Groups Have Structure
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Group structure
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Norms
Roles
Status Systems
Communication structure
Structure
Groups Have Goals
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Goals
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Generating
Choosing
Negotiating
Executing
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Tension between 2 goals:
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Task accomplishment
Socioemotional needs
Members Identify Themselves as a Group
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If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is
a duck.
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“a group exists when two or more people define
themselves as members of it and when its
existence is recognized by at least one other”
(Brown, 1988)
Groups Have Two or More Members
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Dyad
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2 person group
Group
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Two or more interacting, interdependent people
History of Group Dynamics:
Late 19th Century & LeBon
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Study of groups began in late
1800s
Roots in psychology and
sociology
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Collective mind (LeBon)
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Contagion
Psychological Perspective
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Social facilitation
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Triplett (1898)
 Noticed bicyclists performed better when riding with others
 Study
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with children performing simple task either alone or
with others.
Results:
 Children performed better when in the
presence of others compared to when alone
But groups aren’t real…
Kurt Lewin
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“There is no more magic
behind the fact that groups
have properties of their own,
which are different than the
properties of their subgroups or
their individual members, than
behind the fact that molecules
have properties which are
different from the properties of
the atoms or ions of which they
are composed.” -Lewin
Groups could be studied
scientifically
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Field theory
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B = f (P, E)
Lifespace
Research Center for Group
Dynamics
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Adapted experimentation to
the problems of group life
Lewin, Lippit & White
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Groups of 10- and 11-year- old boys to meet after school to
work on various hobbies.
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Each group included a man who adopted one of three
leadership styles
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Autocratic, democratic, or laissez-faire
Results:
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Autocratic: worked more only when leader watched; more hostile
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Democratic: worked even when leader left
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Laissez-faire: Worked the least
‘There is nothing so practical as a good
theory’
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Lewin: Theoretical and applied research should go hand
in hand
Theory
Practice
Rodney Dangerfield Era
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Experimental model- trying to gain respect
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Study of small groups, in the lab, with undergraduates,
manipulating one factor
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Cause-effect
Research in the 60s and 70s
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Conformity
Group polarization
Helping
Social facilitation
Group aggression
Research Example
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Bystander Effect (Latane & Darley,1970)
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Study in Beverage Center
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Conditions:
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Staged robberies in stores
When clerk went to back, 2 robbers stole merchandise
Stole with only one other shopper
Stole with a few other shoppers
Results:
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Alone shoppers more likely to report theft!
Limitations of Lab Experiments
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Cannot mimic the complex environment
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Cannot mimic ebb and flow of groups over time
Sociological Perspective
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In 1950s sociologists looked at
groups as miniature social
systems
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Forefathers of sociological
thought:
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Durkheim
Cooley
Mead
New Measurement techniques:
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Sociometry
Interaction Process Analysis
Today’s Group Dynamics
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Today, research is conducted by a variety of disciplines
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Psychologists, communication researchers, social workers,
sociologists…
Today group dynamics researchers use a variety of
research methods
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Much research focuses on real world groups
Dracula Exercise
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This problem solving exercise will be a good
introduction to group dynamics.
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TASKS:
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Read situation sheet
Individually create a plan
Individually rank items from most important to
least important
As a group, rank items again
Score your own and your groups ranking
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Use answer sheet and compute absolute values
The lower the score the better!
Dracula Exercise
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Answer the following questions.
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What is the group’s goal
What were the patterns of communication?
How did leadership emerge in the group?
What determined how influential each member was?
What method of decision making was used and how effective was it?
Why/why didn’t members challenge each other?
What conflict arose and how were they managed?
What actions by the group members helped/hurt the team?

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