The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Group dynamics

The term group dynamics implies that individual behaviours may differ depending on individuals' current or prospective connections to a sociological group. Urges to belong or to identify may make for distinctly different attitudes (recognised or unrecognised), and the influence of a group may rapidly become strong, influencing or overwhelming individual proclivities and actions. The group dynamics may also include changes in behaviour of a person when he is represented before a group, the behavioural pattern of a person vis-a-vis group.

Group dynamics form a basis for much group therapy. Politicians and salesmen may make practical exploitations of principles of group dynamics for their own ends.

Compare: crowd psychology.

A group, according to the Tuckman Model , goes through four main phases: forming (pretending to get on or get along with others); storming (letting down the politeness barrier and trying to get down to the issues even if tempers flare up ); norming (getting used to each other and developing trust and productivity); and performing (working in a group to a common goal on a highly efficient and cooperative basis). It should be noted that this model refers to the overall pattern of the group, but of course individuals within a group work in different ways. If distrust persists, a group may never even get to the norming stage.

Wilfred Bion studied group dynamics from a psychoanalytic perspective. Many of his findings were reported in his published books, especially Experiences in Groups, London, Tavistock, 1961. Tavistock Institute has further developed and applied the theory and practices developed by Bion.

Further reading

  • W. R. Bion, Experiences in Groups: And Other Papers, Routledge, 1991, trade paperback, 148 pages, ISBN 0415040205

See also

Last updated: 05-07-2005 09:53:40
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04