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Group Dynamics

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Konstantina Elmpasidou

on 23 March 2016

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Transcript of Group Dynamics

Group Dynamics


Why do we even care? (Motivation)

Understand person-group phenomena such as leadership, bullying.
Understand group-group phenomena such as racism, discrimination.
Improve development, longevity, and performance of groups.

Identifying & Defining a “Group”

Type and nature of group determines scope of study and model used.

Formal or informal (ad hoc) groups
Large or small groups
Long-term or short-term perspective

Definition of Group Dynamics

'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.'

Group dynamics is a system of behaviours and psychological processes occurring within a social group (intragroup dynamics), or between social groups (intergroup dynamics)

Key Terms & Definitions

Ability of groups to adjust to change and recover from adversity

Whatever factors precede and necessitate adaptation and change
Limitations of Existing Models
Human groups more complex than idealized models
Real behavior and outcome often different than prediction
Non-computable aspects of human interaction

Types of Group Development Models

Life Cycle Models
Teleological Models
Dialectical Models
Evolutionary Models

Modeling approaches
Social phenomena
Decision making
Voting Behavior
David Hansson
Radenko Ristic
Konstantina Elmpasidou

Gustave Le Bon published “The Crowd:
A Study of the Popular Mind“ in 1896, introducing the concept of a “collective mind”.

Gustave Le Bon
Sigmund Freud published “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego” in 1922, where groups are described based on Le Bons theories.

Sigmund Freud
Kurt Lewin coined the term “Group Dynamics” and thereby defined the scientific field. This field is dedicated to the knowledge regarding the nature of groups, their laws, establishment, development, and interactions with other groups.
Early scepticists towards the field claimed that the actions of groups were nothing more than those of its members considered separately.
Kurt Lewin
Bruce Tuckman
proposed "Tuckman’s stages" in 1965:


Bruce Tuckman
Different Aspects of Resilience:

CAS - A “Complex Systems” Approach


CASS - A Unified Approach

Sociology, culture, group psychology, etc

Group Dynamics and decision making

Group polarization

Obedience to authority

Bystander effect

Factors that affect decision making:
Conformity-Ash's experiment 1955

Group polarization:

A study of US federal judges found that judges working alone took a relatively extreme course of action only 30% of the time. When they were working in groups of three, this figure more than doubled, to 65%.

Obedience to authority:

Stanley Milgram’s experiment - test subjects obeyed instructions to administer electric shocks to other "subjects"—actually confederates pretending to be shocked—even when the harm seemed extreme.

Group dynamics and voting behavior

The effect of exit poll information on turnout and bandwagon voting:

Natural Experiment
: Individuals in French western overseas territories voted after the mainland election results were already known via exit polls.


Decreased turnout by about 10% increased bandwagon voting.

Group dynamics and discrimination
Social Identity Theory:

When acting in groups, we define ourselves in terms of our group membership and seek to have our group valued positively relative to other groups.

This is known as in-group (us) and out-group (them).
Social identity theory states that the in-group will
against the out-group to enhance their

Examples of In-groups – Out-groups:

Northern Ireland: Catholics – Protestants
Rwanda: Hutus and Tutsis
Germany: Jews and the Nazis
Politics: Labor and the Conservatives
Football: Liverpool and Man Utd
Gender: Males and Females
Social Class: Middle and Working Classes

Explained Group Dynamics and discussed its history, as well as motivated why Group Dynamics is useful.

Approached how to model groups and provided some insight in how CAS theories apply to Group Dynamics.

Discussed how Group Dynamics theory can explain social phenomena, like discrimination, voting behavior and decision making. s:
Discussion Points
1.Group Dynamic phenomena are arguably becoming more diverse as society continues to complexify. As illustrated in the presentation, old methods of analysis rely heavily on reductionist approaches, but how "non-reductionist" are complexity science approaches in dealing with this broadening topic? For instance, can groups, their interactions and influence be discretised as neatly in real-life, or are they more fluid / continuous?

2. Some of the group dynamics discussed in the presentation (e.g., polarisation, obedience to authority, discrimination) seem to have negative consequences. How might these things have evolved

3.In a developed (or settled) community certain phenomena of group behavior might have harmful effect, e.g. conformity which can result in oppression and violence against the ones that do not conform to the norms of the society. Can you propose a way of counteracting such behavior? Can there be a positive result of conforming in such community or maximizing diversity of the opinions should be the goal?
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