Small Group Processes : Chris Stiff
firstname.lastname@example.org Small Group Processes Overview : Overview Basic group concepts
Definition, composition etc
Working in groups
Groupthink, deindividuation, group polarization Basic Concepts in Groups : Basic Concepts in Groups What is a group?
Two or more people who interact and are interdependent in the sense that their needs and goals cause them to influence each other (Cartwright & Zander, 1968)
Most groups have between two and six members (Levine & Moreland, 1998) Composition of Groups : Composition of Groups Social norms: appropriate behaviours for all group members
Deviance from these norms leads to marginalisation/rejection
Social roles: appropriate behaviours for those in a specific position
Status systems: pattern of influence members have over one another
Group cohesion: qualities that bind the group together and make it attractive Social Facilitation : Social Facilitation When the presence of others improves your performance
Zajonc, Heingartner, & Herman (1969): Cockroaches in a tube Slide 6: Audience Flashlight START FINISH Social Facilitation : Social Facilitation When the presence of others improves your performance
Zajonc, Heingartner, & Herman (1969: Cockroaches in a tube Ran through faster when there was an audience than when alone
Many other researchers support effect (e.g. Bond, 1982) Explanations for Social Facilitation : Explanations for Social Facilitation Zajonc: “Mere presence” of others causes arousal, leads to elicitation of dominant response
Others may do something we have to respond to
May cause a distraction which creates conflict (Baron, 1986)
Blascovich, Mendes, Hunter, & Salomon (199: Evaluation apprehension causes arousal Simple vs. Complex Tasks : Simple vs. Complex Tasks Zanjonc et al. (1969): Also looked at cockroaches in a more complex maze Slide 10: Audience Flashlight START FINISH Simple vs. Complex Tasks : Simple vs. Complex Tasks Roaches to longer with others present when the maze was more complex
Dominant response inappropriate in such situations
Again, this has been shown in many other studies (e.g. Bond & Titus, 1983) The presence of others increases performance on simples tasks, and decreases performance on complex tasks Zanjonc et al. (1969): Also looked at cockroaches in a more complex maze Social Loafing : Social Loafing When the presence of others decreases performance
Lack of evaluation apprehension key aspect
“Arousal” explanation: lack of evaluation relaxes actors, inhibiting performance (Karau & Williams, 2001)
This enhances performance on complex tasks! (Jackson & Williams, 1985) Other Social Loafing Explanations : Other Social Loafing Explanations Perceived dispensability of contributions:
“My contribution isn’t needed”
Perceived efficacy of the group:
“The group won’t succeed; why should I try?”
Others are failing to contribute:
“I don’t want to be exploited”
Comer (1995) Contributions may be strategically withheld Slide 14: Presence of others Efforts can be evaluated Efforts cannot be evaluated Alertness
Distraction Arousal Simple tasks:
Enhanced performance Complex tasks:
Impaired performance Social facilitation No evaluation apprehension Relaxation Simple tasks:
Impaired performance Complex tasks:
Enhanced performance Social loafing Cooperation in Groups : Cooperation in Groups When interacting with others, some conflict of interest is inevitable
Often, there is a conflict between what is best for the individual, and best for the group
These situations are known as mixed-motive situations or social dilemmas (Dawes, 1980)
Basic concept: what’s good for the individual is bad for the group
Leaving the washing up for others
Jumping the queue at nightclubs/cloakrooms Forms of Social Dilemmas : Forms of Social Dilemmas Commons Dilemma:
“Take some” dilemma
harvesting from a common pool (e.g. using communal milk)
Public Goods Dilemma:
“Give some” dilemma”
contributing to a common pool with equal dividends for all members (e.g. doing rounds in the pub) Increasing cooperation in Social Dilemmas : Increasing cooperation in Social Dilemmas Social identity: A common identity leads to pro in-group behaviour
Can be genuine, trivial, or artificial (Tajfel & Turner, 1986)
Clarifies rules of game (Dawes, McTavish, and Shaklee, 1977)
Allows formation of pledges or commitments (Chen and Komorita, 1994)
“Humanises” fellow group members Slide 18: Concern for reputation:
Future interactions with observing individuals increases concerns of appearing as a “good” member (Milinski, Semmann, & Krambeck, 2002)
Penalising defectors deters theirs and others’ future defection (but may be costly! – Yamagishi, 1986, 1988) Groupthink : Groupthink Group thinking and decision making where maintaining cohesion more important than correct solution
Can lead to maladaptive decisions and aversive consequences
Real life example: Bay of Pigs Slide 20: Highly cohesive group:
Poor decision making procedures: Groupthink characteristics all friends, group is attractive don’t ask anyone in the shop for their opinion every group has one; orders everyone about pizza getting cold, beer getting warm majority? Who chose last time? What do reviews say? What’s in the charts? Groupthink example – choosing a DVD Slide 21: Results of Groupthink Incomplete survey of alternatives: Don’t properly look at what other films you can get
Failure to examine risks of favoured alternative: It might turn out to be rubbish – not considered
Poor information search: Fail to look at reviews, attend to advice
Failure to develop contingency plan: What if it is rubbish? – not considered Deindividuation : Deindividuation A loosening of normal behavioural constraints, leading to an increase in deviant behaviour (Lea, Spears, & de Groot, 2001) Deindividuation : Deindividuation A loosening of normal behavioural constraints, leading to an increase in deviant behaviour (Lea, Spears, & de Groot, 2001) Makes us less accountable
Reduces likelihood of being singled out (Zimbardo, 1970)
Increase conformity to group norms (Postmes & Spears, 1998)
May not always be anti-social (Johnson & Downing, 1979 Group Polarization : Group Polarization Wallach, Kogan, & Bem (1962): Choice Dilemmas Questionnaire
Groups took riskier decisions compared with individuals – a risky shift
Groups tend to make more extreme decisions (rather than more risky) (Rodrigo & Ato, 2002)
Conservative decisions become more conservative
Risky decisions become more risky Why Do Group Polarize? : Why Do Group Polarize? Burnstein & Sentis (1981): Each member brings arguments the others hadn’t considered; pushes the argument to extremes
Brown (1986: social comparisons; people act like everyone else plus a bit extra to seem like a positive group member Summary : Summary People join groups because they allow fulfilment of material and emotional goals
Groups contain norms, roles, and status systems
Groups tend to go to extremes in opinions and behaviours
Working in groups can both enhance and impair performance
Groupthink Slide 29: Conflicts of interest may cause disruptions in group performance
Social dilemmas References : References Blascovich, J., Mendes, W. B., Hunter, S. & Salomon, K. (1999). Social facilitation as challenge and threat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 68-77.
Cartwright, D. & Zander, A. (1968). Group dynamics: research and theory. New York: Harper & Row.
Comer D.R. (1995). A model of social loafing in real work groups. Human Relations, 48, 647-667.
Dawes R.M. (1980). Social dilemmas. Annual Review of Psychology, 31, 169-193.
Karau, S. J., & Williams, K. D. (2001). Understanding individual motivation in groups: The Collective Effort Model. In M. E. Turner (Ed.), Groups at work: Advances in theory and research (pp. 113-141). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum Slide 31: Janis, I. L. (1972). Victims of groupthink: A psychological study of foreign-policy decisions and fiascoes. Oxford, England , Houghton Mifflin.
Lea, M., Spears, R. & de Groot, D. (2001). Knowing me, knowing you: Anonymity effects on social identity processes within groups. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,27, 526-537.
Wallach, M., Kogan, N., & Bem, D. (1962). Group influence on individual risk taking. Journal of Abnormal Social Psychology, 65, 75-86
Yamagishi T. (1988). Seriousness of social dilemmas and the provision of a sanctioning system. Social Psychology Quarterly, 51, 32-42.
Zajonc, R.B., Heingartner, A., & Herman, E.M. (1969). Social enhancement and impairment of performance in the cockroach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 13, 83-92.
Zimbardo, P. G. (1970). The human choice: Individuation, reason, and order versus deindividuation, impulse, and chaos. In W. J. Arnold & D. Levine (Eds.), 1969 Nebraska Symposium on Motivation (pp. 237-307). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.