Group Process and Group Dynamics

Group Process and Group Dynamics

Group process is the understanding of how groups of people come together, connect, interact, and disconnect.  It can also refer to how groups perform activities or tasks together.  In a workshop setting, an ideal facilitator would be professionally trained in understanding the dynamics of groups as well as group process in order to be inclusive and effective.
In a group context, there are some people who will emerge as natural leaders, others who will be supporters, and also those who will be problem-finders/solvers.  One of the dark sides of group process is the tendency for groups to create a scapegoat within the group.  A scapegoat someone that the group decides is different from them and doesn’t belong to the group.
Through thoughtful and skillful group settings, attuned group facilitators will be able to help groups to grow, be honest about their darker impulses, correct the tendency to scapegoat, and extend to a more-than-human capacity for inclusion, forgiveness, and healing.
Group process refers to how an organization’s members work together to get things done. Typically, organizations spend a great deal of time and energy setting and striving to reach goals but give little consideration to what is happening between and to the group’s greatest resource – it’s members. While working hard to achieve results, it is critical that members’ needs be addressed. Membership in an organization is as much an opportunity to develop self-confidence, refine skills and make friends as it is to support a cause, fundraise or educate the campus community. All of these can be done simultaneously, but most likely will not just happen on their own.

Group dynamics is a system of behaviors and psychological processes occurring within a social group (intragroup dynamics), or between social groups (intergroup dynamics). The study of group dynamics can be useful in understanding decision-making behaviour, tracking the spread of diseases in society, creating effective therapy techniques, and following the emergence and popularity of new ideas and technologies. Group dynamics are at the core of understanding racism, sexism, and other forms of social prejudice and discrimination. These applications of the field are studied in psychologysociologyanthropologypolitical scienceepidemiology, education, social work, business, and communication studies.

Group dynamics deals with the attitudes and behavioral patterns of a group. Group dynamics concern how groups are formed, what is their structure and which processes are followed in their functioning. Thus, it is concerned with the interactions and forces operating between groups

Group dynamics can be conceptualized as falling within the following five domains: (1) communication processes and interaction patterns, (2) interpersonal attraction and cohesion, (3) social integration and influence, (4) power and control, and (5) culture. A conceptual framework of group dynamics is an important heuristic device for workers seeking to assess and understand how any group works. A conceptual framework enables workers to identify and understand group dynamics as they emerge during interaction. Since the 1940s, many scholars have attempted to conceptualize and categorize group dynamics. Some of the most notable include Bales and colleagues (Bales, 1950; Bales, Cohen, & Williamson, 1979), Cartwright and Zander (1968), Forsyth (1999), Hare, Blumberg, Davies, and Kent (1995, 1996), Lewin (1951), McGrath (1984), Nixon (1979), Olmstead (1959), and Parsons (1951). The conceptualization of group dynamics presented in this chapter is based on the work of Toseland and Rivas (2001), but it also draws heavily on the work of these scholars. The chapter gives special attention to racial and ethnic variations so that group work practitioners can develop and lead effective multicultural groups. Because group dynamics are not static over the life of the group, they change as the group develops; thus this chapter also includes a section on models of group development.

 Group dynamics encompasses the dynamics of interaction pattern within the group, the manner in which decisions are made in the group, how work gets done, and how member’s needs are satisfied.
The interactions that influence the attitudes and behaviour of people when they are grouped with others through either choice or accidental circumstances.

The group dynamics include both the group content and the group processes.
·         Group content refers to the specific tasks, problems, topics, or conditions addressed by the group as a whole.
·         Group processes refers to the interaction between the group members. Process also refers to all of the factors that contribute to the group processes.
·         Both content and process occur simultaneously and are equally important.

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