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Bingham, S. & Hernandez, A. "Laughing Matters": The Comedian as Social Observer, Teacher, and Conduit of the Sociological PerspectiveTeaching Sociology 2009 37: 335-352
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Today What is a group? What are some of the characteristics of groups? What are some of the effects of groups on their members?
What is a Group? Definitions can be situational
Vary according to purpose of the definition
Interrelations Psychological significance Shared identity Structure Communication Influence Interaction Interdependence
Group Characteristics More than one person Interaction fan club versus fans Interaction, influence or involvement may be task focussed (opinion, decision, goal) socioemotional (support, criticism)
Group Characteristics Structured Roles - behaviours expected of people in specific positions within a group; parts played by different member of a group Norms – implicit standards that describe what behaviours should and should not be performed in a given context; consensual guidelines that prescribe the socially appropriate, or ‘normal’, course of action
Group Characteristics Cohesion The strength of the bonds linking group members to the group, the unity (or ‘weness’) of a group, feelings of attraction for specific group members and the group itself the degree to which the group members coordinate their efforts to achieve goals
Group Characteristics Social Identity (aka collective identity) The part of the self-concept that derives from one’s membership in social groups and categories Self-conceptions shared by members of the same group or category http://contexts.org/socimages/2008/04/16/in-group-out-group/
What Do Groups Do Basic Activities Undertaken by Groups
Groups usually exist for a reason
Members come together in pursuit of common goals
Four basic goals
McGrath JE. A typology of tasks. In: Baecker RM, editor. Readings in groupware and computer-supported cooperative work, assisting human–human collaboration. Englewood Cliffs (NJ): Prentice-Hall; 1984. p. 165–8.
A noun and a verb
First scientific studies of groups not carried out until 1900s
Psychologists and Sociologists approach research differently
Reader page 11
Exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas.
Individual doubts are set aside, for fear of upsetting the group’s balance.
Motives for Groupthink may include a desire to
avoid being seen as foolish
avoid embarrassing or angering other members of the group.
Greater than the sum of parts Field theory (Lewin, 1951) assumes that the behaviour of people in groups is determined by aspects of the person and; aspects of the environment B = f(P,E) Behaviour (B) is a function (f) of the interaction of the personal characteristics (P) with the environmental factors (E).
Greater than the sum of parts
Groups may have Supervening Qualities
Cannot be reduced to or described as qualities of its participants
Group membership may
Induce powerful feelings of unity and espirit de corps
Result in a task being performed far better or worse that is expected given the talents of the individual members