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The Good & Bad of Groups

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William Cockrell

on 29 October 2013

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Transcript of The Good & Bad of Groups

The Good & Bad of Groups
What is a group?
"It's hard to define, but I know it when I see it" Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart
At least two people
Common goal
Being Connected
Loyalty to group
Actual Definitions
"A group is two or more people who for longer than a few moments, interact with and influence one another and perceive one another as 'us'"
David Myers
"A collection of at least two people who are doing or being something together"
Roy Baumeister & Brad Bushman
"Groups have unique, emergent properties that differentiate them from a mere aggregate of individuals on three counts: perceived entitativity, perceived volition, and actual behavior"
Susan Fiske
" A group is a typically on-going interaction of multiple, often similar, people who are interdependent and for whom group identification is important"
H. Colleen Sinclair

Good features
Bad features
Social facilitation
Group polarization/risky shift
Common knowledge effect
Social loafing
Evolutionary advantages
Increase in emotional affect
Transactive Memory
Pluralistic ignorance
Minority influence
Social Facilitation
Do we work better in the presence of others?
Evaluation apprehension
Dominant response theory
Give Me Some Proof
Michaels et al. (1982)
Zajonc et al. (1969)
All Together Now!
Guess how many pieces of candy are in the jar!!
Write down your personal guess
Do not share guesses
Remember the amount you guessed
Additional benefits of groups
Transactive memory:
different members of the group have specific tasks to remember
Evolutionary advantages:

need to belong, safety, gathering of resources, cooperation for difficult tasks
Social Loafing
People exert less energy when working in a group toward a collective goal compared to working alone
Research by Latane, Williams, & Harkins (1979) found that three people clapping alone were louder than six people clapping together
Made worse when individual performance is not measurable
People rarely admit they are social loafing, we accuse others
Free Riders
Group Polarization
The tendency for groups to shift to extreme sides when making decisions compared to a single person
Groups naturally seek consensus
Group similarity is important
Group isolation enhances polarization
Repetition of group ideas strengthens arguments
The tendency for a group to "force" a consensus without considering all rational alternatives
Biased leader
High pressure from outside forces
High or suffering self-esteem
Symptoms of Groupthink
Pressure toward conformity
Reluctance to criticize information
Illusion of invulnerability
Heightened beliefs of morality
Believed unanimity
Avoiding Groupthink
Make group aware of groupthink
Encourage objectivity
Appoint a devil's advocate
Create subgroups
Invite outside consultants
Independent committees
Create individual accountability
suggestions by I.L. Janis (1982)
Minority Influence
Under certain conditions the minority can be persuasive
Minority view maintains consistency
The minority projects self-confidence
Defection of majority members to the minority
The minority does not appear harmful to group
Social compensation
Social inhibition
Social Compensation
An increased effort while working in a group
When individual effort can be measured
When group performance is important to individual
When individual believes others are incompetent
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