Group Processes

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Small Group Processes : 

Chris Stiff DH1.89 Small Group Processes

Overview : 

Overview Basic group concepts Definition, composition etc Working in groups Social facilitation/loafing Social dilemmas Group malfunctions 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

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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

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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

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Presence of others Efforts can be evaluated Efforts cannot be evaluated Alertness Evaluation apprehension 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) Communication: Clarifies rules of game (Dawes, McTavish, and Shaklee, 1977) Allows formation of pledges or commitments (Chen and Komorita, 1994) “Humanises” fellow group members

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Concern for reputation: Future interactions with observing individuals increases concerns of appearing as a “good” member (Milinski, Semmann, & Krambeck, 2002) Sanctioning systems: 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 (Janis, 1972) Real life example: Bay of Pigs

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Highly cohesive group: Group isolation: Directive leader: High stress: 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

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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 Group polarization Deindividuation Working in groups can both enhance and impair performance Social facilitation Social loafing Groupthink

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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

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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.

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