Group Dynamics

Topics: Sociology, Kurt Lewin, Social relation Pages: 10 (3210 words) Published: May 14, 2013

NO. 1PI11MBA52




What is “group dynamics”? Perhaps it will be most useful to start by looking at the derivation of the word “dynamics”. It comes from a Greek word meaning force. In careful usage the phrase, “group dynamics” refers to the forces operating in groups. The investigation of group dynamics, then, consists of a study of these forces: what gives rise to them, what conditions modify them, what consequences they have, etc. The practical application of group dynamics (or the technology of group dynamics) consists of the utilization of knowledge about these forces for the achievement of some purpose. In keeping with this definition, is not particularly novel, nor is it the exclusive property of any person or institution. It goes back at least to the outstanding work of men like Simmel, Freud, and Cooley.

Although interest in groups has a long and respectable history, the past fifteen years have witnessed a new flowering of activity in this field. Today, research centers in several countries are carrying out substantial programmes of research designed to reveal the nature of groups and of their functioning. The phrase “group dynamics” had come into common usage during this time and intense efforts have been devoted to the development of the field, both as a branch of social science and as a form of social technology.

In this development the name of Kurt Lewin had been outstanding. As a consequence of his work in the field of individual psychology and from his analysis of the nature of pressing problems of the contemporary world, Lewin became convinced of society’s urgent need for a scientific approach to the understanding of the dynamics of groups. In 1945 he established the Research Center for Group Dynamics to meet this need. Since that date the Centre has been devoting its efforts to improving our scientific understanding of groups through laboratory experimentation, field studies, and the use of techniques of action research. It has also attempted in various ways to help get the findings of social science more widely used by social management. Much of what I have to say in this paper is drawn from the experiences of this Center in its brief existence of a little more than five years.

We hear all around us today the assertion that the problems of the twentieth century are problems of human relations. The survival of civilization, it is said, will depend upon man’s ability to create social interventions capable of harnessing, for society’s constructive use, the vast physical energies now at man’s disposal. Or, to put the matter more simply, we must learn how to change the way in which people behave toward one another. In broad outline, the specifications for a good society are clear, but a serious technical problem remains: How can we change people so that they neither restrict the freedom nor limit the potentialities for growth of others; so that they accept and respect people of different religion, nationality, colour, or political opinion; so that nations can exist in a world without war, and s that the fruits of our technological advances can bring economic well-being and freedom from disease to all people of the world? Although few people would disagree with these objectives when stated abstractly, when we become more specific, differences of opinion quickly arise. These questions permit no ready answers. How is change to be produced?

Who is to do it?
Who is to be changed?

Before we consider in detail these questions of social technology, let us clear away some semantic obstacles. The word “change” produces emotional reactions. It is not a neutral word. To many people it is threatening. It conjures up visions of a revolutionary, a dissatisfied idealist, a trouble-maker, a malcontent. Nicer words referring to the process...

Bibliography: * Cartwright, Dorwin (1951). Achieving Change In People: Some Applications of Group Dynamics Theory. Human Relations. 4(1) Copyright 1951 by Sage Publications. Reprinted by permission of Sage Publications.
* MANAGEMENT – V S P Rao, V Hari Krishna, EXCEL BOOKS, First Edition: 2011
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