Group Dynamics

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GROUP DYNAMICS

The social process by which people interact and behave in a group environment is called group dynamics. Group dynamics involves the influence of personality, power, and behaviour on the group process. Group dynamics is the study of groups, and also a general term for group processes. Relevant to the fields of psychology, sociology, and communication studies, a group is two or more individuals who are connected to each other by social relationships. Because they interact and influence each other, groups develop a number of dynamic processes that separate them from a random collection of individuals.

These processes include norms, roles, relations, development, need to belong, social influence, and effects on behavior.

In organizational development (OD), or group dynamics, the phrase "group process" refers to the understanding of the behavior of people in groups, such as task groups, that are trying to solve a problem or make a decision. An individual with expertise in 'group process, such as a trained facilitator, can assist a group in accomplishing its objective by diagnosing how well the group is functioning as a problem-solving or decision-making entity and intervening to alter the group's operating behavior.

Because people gather in groups for reasons other than task accomplishment, group process occurs in other types of groups such as personal growth groups (e.g. encounter groups, study groups, prayer groups). In such cases, an individual with expertise in group process can be helpful in the role of facilitator.

Well researched but rarely mentioned by professional group workers, is the social status of people within the group (i.e., senior or junior). The group leader (or facilitator) will usually have a strong influence on the group due to his or her role of shaping the group's outcomes. This influence will also be affected by the leader's sex, race, relative age, income, appearance, and personality, as well as organizational structures and many other factors.

DEFINITION OF GROUP

A group is, two or more people who share a common definition and evaluation of themselves and behave in accordance with such a definition. (Vaughan & Hogg, 2002).

DEFINITIONS OF GROUP DYNAMICS

• The branch of social psychology that studies the psychodynamics of interaction in social groups. • Group dynamics is the study of groups, and also a general term for group processes. Relevant to the fields of psychology, sociology, and communication studies, a group is two or more individuals who are connected to each other by social relationships. • Group dynamics refer to the ways in which people interact and relate to one-another in a group situation. GROUP DEVELOPMENT

As applied to group development, group dynamics is concerned with why and how groups develop. There are several theories as to why groups develop. A classic theory, developed by George Homans, suggests that groups develop based on activities, interactions, and sentiments. Basically, the theory means that when individuals share common activities, they will have more interaction and will develop attitudes (positive or negative) toward each other. The major element in this theory is the interaction of the individuals involved. Social exchange theory offers an alternative explanation for group development. According to this theory, individuals form relationships based on the implicit expectation of mutually beneficial exchanges based on trust and felt obligation. Thus, a perception that exchange relationships will be positive is essential if individuals are to be attracted to and affiliate with a group. Social identity theory offers another explanation for group formation. Simply put, this theory suggests that individuals get a sense of identity and self-esteem based upon their membership in salient groups. The nature of the group may be demographically based, culturally...
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