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Week 4 Small Groups


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  • Communication – a number of persons who communicate with one another, often over a span of time, and who are few enough so that each person is able to communicate with all the others, not at second hand, through other people, but face-to-face. Influence – Two or more persons who are interacting with one another in such a manner that each person influences and is influenced by each other person – e.g. Interaction – A group is a social system involving regular interaction among members and a common group identity. This means that groups have a sense of ‘weness’ that enables members to identify themselves as belonging to a distinct entityInterdependence – A group is a collection of individuals who have relations to one another that make them interdependent to some significant degreeInterrelations – A group is an aggregation of two or more people who are to some degree in dynamic interrelation with one anotherPsychological significance – Descriptively speaking, a psychological group is defined as one that is psychologically significant for the members, to which they relate themselves subjectively for social comparison and the acquisition of norms and values...that they privately accept membership in, and which influences their attitudes and behaviourShared Identity – A group exists when two or more people define themselves as members of it and when its existence is recognised by at least one other – culture or sub-culture,Structure – A group is a social unit which consists of a number of individuals, who stand in (more or less) definite status and role relationships to one another and which possesses a set of values or norms of its own regulating the behaviour of individual members, at least in matters of consequences tot the group
  • Socioemotional – reinforce group norms - sustain emotional bonds linking the members to one another
  • Roles – leader, follower, organiser, team position ie Ruckman or goal shooterNorms – aggression could be a norm if the group was a sports team but not if it were a quilting group
  • Cohesion - contributes to a group’s potency and vitality - increases the significance of membership for those who belong to the group - defines its unity, oneness, and solidarity - cohesion levels vary - ↑ cohesion = ↑ group retention
  • Self-conceptions may arise from membership of clubs, cliques, communities, religions, and demographic groupsDistinct from others not in the group
  • Generating = planning tasks, creativity tasks (creating new ideas and approaches to their problems)Choosing = making decisions about issues that have correct solutions (intellective tasks) or problems that can be answered in many ways (decision-making tasks)Negotiating = resolve differences of opinion (cognitive-conflict tasks) or resolve competitive disputes among members (mixed-motive tasks)Executing = compete against other groups (contests/battles) and perform (performances)Groups might perform some or all tasks from these categories
  • The study of Group Dynamics is a field of inquiry dedicated to advancing knowledge about the nature of groups, the laws of their development, and their interrelations with individuals, other groups and larger institutionsKurt Lewin was a German-American psychologist - Often recognised as one of the ‘founders of social psychology’ and was - one of the first to study group dynamics and organisational development.Theories have emerged from the study of group dynamics:Individuals may be transformed when they join a group
  • Groupthink - A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action - a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analysing and evaluating ideas. Individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking are lost in the pursuit of group cohesiveness, as are the advantages of reasonable balance in choice and thought that might normally be obtained by making decisions as a group. During groupthink, members of the group avoid promoting viewpoints outside the comfort zone of consensus thinking. A variety of motives for this may exist such as a desire to avoid being seen as foolish, or a desire to avoid embarrassing or angering other members of the group. Groupthink may cause groups to make hasty, irrational decisions, where individual doubts are set aside, for fear of upsetting the group’s balance. The term is frequently used pejoratively, with hindsight.Examples – cults, political groups
  • Bruce Tuckmans theory of group developmentForming – group members become oriented toward each otherStorming – conflicts surface as the group members vie for status and the group sets its goalsNorming – standards emergePerforming – the group moves beyond disagreement and organisational matters to concentrate on the work to be doneAdjourning - disbanding
  • Transcript

    • 1. Week 4 - Small Groups
    • 2. This Week
      Small Groups
      Group Project
    • 3. Housekeeping
      • Unit Reader
      • 4. Next week is last day for changing enrolment
      • 5. Posted an article to resources
      • 6. Bingham, S. & Hernandez, A. "Laughing Matters": The Comedian as Social Observer, Teacher, and Conduit of the Sociological PerspectiveTeaching Sociology 2009 37: 335-352
      • 7. End of Last weeks lecture will be a recording
      • 8. Student Survival Week
    • Student Survival Week
      Mon 22 to Fri 26 March
      Survival Week provides students with extra support and resources for settling into university.
      Re-assess your health and study routine and make a few extra friends in a weeklong event dedicated to your wellbeing.
      Want to know more?
    • 9. Facebook
      • Not an official Monash page
      • 10. Official notifications posted to Blackboard
      • 11. Post relevant pictures, links, news
    • Blackboard
    • Access Lecture Recordings
    • 16. Today
      What is a group?
      What are some of the characteristics of groups?
      What are some of the effects of groups on their members?
    • 17. What is a Group?
      Definitions can be situational
      • Vary according to purpose of the definition
      Psychological significance
      Shared identity
    • 18. Group Characteristics
      More than one person
      fan club versus fans
      Interaction, influence or involvement may be
      task focussed (opinion, decision, goal)
      socioemotional (support, criticism)
    • 19. Group Characteristics
      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
    • 20. Group Characteristics
      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
    • 21. 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
    • 22. What Do Groups Do
      Basic Activities Undertaken by Groups
      • Groups usually exist for a reason
      • 23. 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.
    • 27. Group Dynamics
      • A noun and a verb
      • 28. First scientific studies of groups not carried out until 1900s
      • 29. Psychologists and Sociologists approach research differently
      Reader page 11
    • 30. Groupthink
      • Exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas.
      • 31. Individual doubts are set aside, for fear of upsetting the group’s balance.
      • 32. Motives for Groupthink may include a desire to
      • 33. avoid being seen as foolish
      • 34. 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).
    • 35. Greater than the sum of parts
      • Groups may have Supervening Qualities
      • 36. Cannot be reduced to or described as qualities of its participants
      • 37. Group membership may
      • 38. Induce powerful feelings of unity and espirit de corps
      • 39. Result in a task being performed far better or worse that is expected given the talents of the individual members
      • 40. Stanford Experiment
    • Patterns of growth and change that emerge over a group’s life span
      Group Development
    • 41. Groups Influence Individuals
      • Being in a group
      • 42. Reduces our sense of uniqueness
      • 43. Enhances our ability to perform simple tasks rapidly
      • 44. Gradually changes our attitudes and values as we come to agree with the overall consensus of the group
      • 45. Our behavioural profiles change according to the group we are in (work, sports etc)
      • 46. Discontinuity effect
      • 47. People are more competitive as groups responding to other groups than as individuals
    • Why Do People Join Groups
      What do groups do?
      Accomplish instrumental tasks
      Satisfy socio-emotional needs
    • 48. Summary
      • Groups are:
      • 49. Greater than the sum of their parts
      • 50. Structured – social norms, social roles, status systems
      • 51. Cohesive – affected by group size, internal diversity, external threat
      • 52. Have developmental phases
      • 53. Effects of groups on their members include
      • 54. Conformity
      • 55. Performance
      • 56. Identity
      • 57. We join groups to:
      • 58. Accomplish instrumental tasks
      • 59. Satisfy socio-emotional needs