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. The field of group dynamics is primarily concerned with small group behavior. Groups may be classified as aggregate, primary, secondary and category groups. •
Gustave Le Bon was a French social psychologist whose seminal study, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1896) led to the development of group psychology. Sigmund Freud's Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, (1922) based on a critique of Le Bon's work, led to further development in theories of group behavior in the latter half of the twentieth century. Kurt Lewin (1943, 1948, 1951) is commonly identified as the founder of the movement to study groups scientifically. He coined the term group dynamics to describe the way groups and individuals act and react to changing circumstances. William Schutz (1958, 1966) looked at interpersonal relations from the perspective of three dimensions: inclusion, control, and affection. This became the basis for a theory of group behavior that sees groups as resolving issues in each of these stages in order to be able to develop to the next stage. Conversely, a group may also devolve to an earlier stage if unable to resolve outstanding issues in a particular stage. Wilfred Bion (1961) studied group dynamics from a psychoanalytic perspective, and stated that he was much influenced by Wilfred Trotter for whom he worked at University College Hospital London, as did another key figure in the Psychoanalytic movement, Ernest Jones....
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