Resources: Part One

Group Dynamics:  Formation, Development, and Influence

Chapter and Topic



1. Introduction to group dynamics What are groups and what are their key features? What do we want to know about groups and their dynamics? What assumptions guide researchers in their studies of groups and the processes within groups?
2. Studying groups How do researchers measure group processes? How do researchers search for and test their hypotheses about groups? What general theoretical perspectives guide researchers’ studies of groups and the people in them?

Formation and Development

3. Inclusion and identity Do humans, as a species, prefer inclusion to exclusion and group membership to isolation? What demands does a shift from individuality to collectivity make on people? How do group experiences and memberships influence individuals’ identities?
4. Formation Who joins groups and who remains apart? When and why do people seek out others? Why do people deliberately create groups or join existing groups? What factors influence feelings of liking for others?
5. Cohesion and development What factors promote the increasing solidarity of a group over time? What is cohesion? As groups become more unified, do they develop a shared climate and culture? How do groups develop over time? What are the positive and negative consequences of cohesion and commitment?
6. Structure What are norms and roles, and how do they structure interactions in groups? How and why do social networks develop in groups and what are the interpersonal consequences of relational networks in groups?

Influence and Interaction

7. Influence When will people conform to a group’s standards, and when will they remain independent? How do norms develop, and why do people obey them? Do nonconformists ever succeed in influencing the rest of the group?
8. Power Why are some members of groups more powerful than others? What types of power tactics are most effective in influencing others? Does power corrupt? Why do people obey authorities?
9. Leadership What is leadership? Who do groups prefer for leaders? Should a leader be task focused or relationship focused? Is democratic leadership superior to autocratic leadership? Can leaders transform their followers?

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