GROUP DYNAMICS The Sociology of Small Groups
Importance of Small Group Studies • groups are biggest part of life • most work is done in and with groups • knowing how and why groups function, or fail to function is a key to success
Why Do People Form Groups? • safety • preservation • many other reasons
What Is a Group? • interaction with expectation about other’s behavior • sense of belonging • are two people a group?
What Makes a SMALL Group? • how many is small? • importance of size
The Science of Group Dynamics • What is a group? • Interdependence among members • Shared expectations about behavior • Sense of belonging • A group defined: • two or more people who interact on the basis of shared expectations about each others behavior and have a sense of belonging.
Common Features of Groups • Communication • Face to face communication over a period of time. • Influence • The group influences the individual and individual has influence on the group. • Interaction • Regular interaction in ways that develop a “group identity.” • Interdependence • Each member depends to a degree on the others to accomplish goals • Interrelations • Dynamic interrelations means that the personal relations among members is constantly changing. • Psychological significance • The group has an impact on the psychology of the individual identity • Shared identity • The group identity is or can be separated from the individual • Structure • Consisting of status and role differentiation between and among the members
Primary Group • Relatively small in size • Intimate interaction • Long lasting • Do not necessarily need a goal or purpose for association • No leadership requirement
Secondary Group • Relatively large in size • Individuals can remain anonymous • Little or no face to face interaction • A goal or purpose • Leadership requirement • Last a short period of time • Groups disbands (or reorganizes) after the goal is accomplished
Are Groups Real? • Some say NO: • No concrete nervous system • Actions of all are nothing but the sum of individual inputs • Some say YES: • Field Theory • The behavior of people in groups is based on the individuals in interaction with the environment • Interactionism formula • B=f(P,E) • Behavior = function of interaction of personal characteristics with environmental factors.
SEQUENTIAL STAGE MODEL(also: Task Group Development Model) • there is a typical order that all groups pass through • forming - storming - norming - performing - adjourning
Group Development • Groups develop through five basic stages: • Forming - apprehension • Storming - conflict • Norming – status and role attainment • Performing – goal striving and accomplishment • Adjourning – disbanding or re-organizing
STUDYING GROUPS Research Design and Theory
Observational Techniques • Participant Observation • Direct Observation • Case Study
Participant Observation • Researcher roles • Complete participant • No separation between the researcher and the members of the group. The researcher is a complete functioning member of the group. • Participant as observer • Participates with group knowledge of the researcher role. • Observer as participant • Group is aware of researcher role, but researcher does not participate. • Complete observer • Group is unaware that the researcher is observing.
Direct Observation • Types of Observation • Unstructured – observations made in the natural setting. No formal content to the observations. • Semi-Structured – Observations made in the natural setting using an observation instrument (i.e. IPA or some behavioral checklist) • Completely Structured – Researcher completely controls the environmental setting.
Case Studies • Refers to an in-depth examination of a single group. • Pros • Good for exploratory investigation of group processes • Detailed information is helpful to all future researchers • Cons • Limited generalizability • Researcher bias
Experimentation • Refers to situations where the researcher directly controls extraneous variables and at least one independent variable. • Independent variable • Dependent variable • Pros • Causal relationships • Small researcher bias • Cons • Generalizability • Hawthorne effect
Quasi-experimental Studies • A non-experimental technique that uses statistical data to compare variables. • Causation criteria must be checked • No manipulation of naturally occurring variables is done • Examples: correlational studies, questionnaires, existing data analysis
Causation Criteria • Time-order sequence • Correlation between variables • No third variable explanation
Theory in Small Group Research • Motivational Theories • Stress the role played by the group members motivations; habits, goals, expectations, etc. • Behavioral Theories • Stress the role of external social forces on the behavior of individual group members; rewards, punishments, power dynamics, etc. • Systems Theories • Stress the role of organizational systems and inter-relationships between members on the behavior of people in groups. • Cognitive Theories • Stress the role on individual mental processes used to organize and give meaning to environmental factors acting upon the group. • Biological Theories • Stress the role of individual biology on the behavior of members of a group.
The Individual and the Group Do People Need Groups?
Isolation to Belonging • Isolation • Alone as good • Introspection • Rejuvenation • Meditation • Alone as torture • Depression • Confusion • Survival
Isolation to Belonging • Belonging • Inclusion as good • Need to belong • Natural selection and genes • Survival • Inclusion as torture • Disease transmission • Predators • Value and culture clash
Individualism to Collectivism • Individualism – a world view based on the idea that people are autonomous and must be free to act and think in ways they prefer, rather than submit to the demands of the group. • Collectivism – a world view based on the idea that the group needs and goals are more important than any idividual
Individualism to Collectivism • Individual or collective orientations generate vastly different perceptions of the world around us. • Ingroup v. outgroup orientation • Ingroup – the people we associate with are the focus of attention, effort, and energy. • Outgroup – the group or groups “other people” belong to. Particularly those that are different or inferior to “my group.” • Exchange v. communal relations • Exchange relations focus on the individual inputs to the group. Each member strives for the highest reward and the lowest input. Self-serving (egocentric) means max reward, and lowest contribution. • Communal relations focus on the rewards the group receives rather than the individual. Work is viewed as a group effort. Group serving (sociocentric) means concern only for the well-being of the community.
Individualism to Collectivism • Worldview also influences the norm structure of the individual and group. • Equality – is a norm that requires the equal division of rewards to all members of the group, regardless on personal input. • Equity – is a norm that requires a division of rewards that is based on each members input to the group rewards.
GROUP FORMATION THEORIES • Psychodynamic Theories • Replacement Theory • FIRO • Social Theories • Social Comparison • Social Exchange Theory
Psychodynamic Theories Replacement Theory • The theory says that people join groups to fulfill some biological or psychological needs that would not otherwise be satisfied.
The Basis for the Theory: two interrelated concepts • Identification refers to the tendency of a person to use role models as a guide to the formation of their own conscious personality. • In short people find someone to admire or look up to and then try to become like the model. • The more successful the person is at emulating the model the better the person feels about him/herself. • Transference refers to the tendency of people to replace the identification once directed toward the parental figure with the identification now directed toward a central authority figure (leader). • If a number of people transfer identification to the same person a group is formed. • Groups are the way people replace the original family group.
Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO) • William Schultz suggests that there are three basic needs satisfied through group formation. • Inclusion • Control • Affection
Inclusion • People have a basic need to be accepted by others and to accept others. • People want to be accepted by the people they accept.
Control • People who have a high need for control, want to control the members and directions of the groups. • People who are low need for control, want to be controlled by others.
Affection • People need to establish and maintain emotional relations. • A desire to love others and be loved by others.
FIRO and the Formation of Groups • Groups will form and be effective when there is Originator compatibility and Interchange compatibility. • Originator compatibility means that there has to be some complementary quality among the potential group members. • The members share a need for inclusion, control, and/or affection. • Interchange means there must be agreement about how much control, inclusion, and affection should exist between the group. Someone may want to be controlled but not want to be controlled all the time.
Social Comparison Theory • The main tenet of the theory is that humans form groups because they need information about themselves and their environment. • Information about the self and the environment can only be acquired from other people.
The Human Need for Information • Belief Confirmation • In some cases we form groups because we want to feel that the way we believe and our attitudes about things are right. • Reality Test • Sooner or later we must test the reality of our attitudes, in order for adult personality development. • The reality test can only be done through other people. • Self Esteem • Our attitudes are judged to be good if they correspond to the attitudes of significant others. • Social Comparison • People come together because they want information and we get that information through social comparison.
Social Comparison Propositions 1. Individuals will affiliate when their attitudes and beliefs are shaken. 2. Un-interpretable events provoke people to seek reality information. 3. Affiliation with others is the only successful method to satisfy the need for information.
Birth Order Effect Those who are first born receive more close attention from parents. First born and only children develop a greater need for social comparison cues. The first born has stronger need for affiliation. Second born-same sex children generally develop “black sheep” syndrome. Birth orders effect of biology is just being considered.
Social Exchange Theory • The main principle of the theory is that people carry out their social interaction in the very same way that businesses carry out economic exchange. • People make decisions about whether or not to engage in social interaction with someone on the basis of the judged value (or desirability) of that interaction. • The value of any social interact is determined by the persons mental calculation (cognitive calculus) of the costs and rewards. • Value = Anticipated Rewards – Expected Costs • Minimax Principle maintains that people will join groups that provide them with the maximum number of valued rewards while incurring the fewest numbers of costs.
Comparison Levels Determine Group Membership Operates on two interrelated levels of comparison: • The comparison level refers to the standard by which the individual evaluates group membership. • Heavily influenced by past experience with the most similar groups. • The CL is the lowest level of reward acceptable for the person. • The CL is determined by assessing all the known costs and rewards incurred with the membership. • The alternative comparison level (AC) refers to the comparison of one specific group to other available groups. • The AC is really the best rewards available to someone given the available alternatives. • The AC is the main factor determining group membership. • The CL is the main factor determining satisfaction with group membership.
Individuality V. Collectivity • Personal Identity • The part of self concept that is derived from individualistic qualities like traits, beliefs, and skills. • Social Identity • The part of self concept that is derived from belonging to social groups. • Self conceptions that are shared by members of the same group. i.e. Americans • Which identity type is most preferable?
Individualism V. Collectivism • Individualism refers to an orientation that places greater emphasis on the individual (rights, independence) and less emphasis on the rights of the group. • Examples included the USA, Great Britain, Australia • Collectivism refers to an orientation that places greater emphasis on the similarities of the group rather than the individual characteristics of the members. • Examples include Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela
Variations in Individualism and Collectivism • Just as nations vary on the emphasis of individualism and collectivism, so do individuals. • Some people are interdependent. • Dispositionally predisposed to place greater emphasis on group goal rather than their personal needs. • Some people are independents. • Dispositionally predisposed to place greater emphasis on their personal needs rather than group goals. • What situational and/or environmental factors influence a person to be interdependent or independent?
Group Serving V. Self Serving Bias • Group Serving Bias refers to the tendency to highlight the groups responsibility for a success. We all did well! We all worked hard for the success! • Further, the bias downplays the group responsibility for failure, blaming external situational factor for failure. • Self Serving Bias refers to the tendency to claim individual responsibility for success, while blaming negative outcomes on external social forces beyond individual control. • People who do well on a test give credit to themselves for the success, but people who do poorly on a test blame the professor, the test, their friends, their family, the class, etc.
GROUP COHESION • The strength of bonds between group members. • The unity of a group. • The feeling of attraction between group members and the group itself. • The degree to which members coordinate their efforts to achieve goals.
COHESION AS A BOND • Means – the total field of forces that act on members to remain in the group. • Similar to the forces of physics, where the forces hold particles of matter together. • What are some of the forces that hold people in groups despite adversity?
COHESION AS UNITY • Here the term means the we-ness of the group. • There is a heightened sense of belonging. • There is a shared sense of group identity • Creates a desire to be active, and enthusiastic about the group. • Motivates members to sacrifice their own individual desires for the good of the group.
COHESION AS ATTRACTION • Cohesion as a special kind of attraction between members. • The people in the group like each other. • The distinction should be made between personal attraction and social attraction. • Group cohesion corresponds to depersonalized affiliation based on group membership rather than a person liking of one another.