Group Process, Group Decisions, Group Action

Group Process, Group Decisions, Group Action

Group Process, Group Decisions, Group Action

Group Process, Group Decisions, Group Action

Synopsis

"This enlarged second edition is indeed a welcome and excellent addition to the literature on a phenomenon that affects us all in many ways, obvious and less obvious, as we wend our way through the mysteries and vagaries of interacting in groups
Social Psychological Review
  • How do groups function?
  • How are people changed or influenced or affected by the groups they belong to?
  • What similarities can we find across groups of different types, in different situations?
Social groups have great influence on our thoughts, decisions and behaviour from our infancy until our deaths. Family groups, work groups, ethnic groups and our friendship networks all shape our perceptions, thoughts and actions, as well as our feelings about ourselves. In this thorough introduction to the social psychological study of group processes, the authors have considerably updated their highly successful first edition.

The new edition develops the existing coverage of topics such as social influence, extreme behaviour in groups, group productivity, social dilemmas, group decision-making and inter-group conflict. It also provides additional chapters examining research and theory regarding social support, and electronic groups. This authoritative text will familiarize the reader with current theory and the latest findings, exploring the significance and application of group research for our everyday lives.

Excerpt

Groups are a key element in human experience. Whether the group is a family, a street gang, a work group, an ethnic minority or a network of friends, group membership and influence represents one of the most powerful forces shaping our feelings, judgments and behaviours. Although group processes can lead to destructive and aggressive outbursts, they are also the source of some of our most noble actions, such as love, achievement, nurturance, loyalty and sacrifice. Despite the ubiquity and importance of groups for human existence, scholarly research on group topics is a relatively recent phenomenon. Although some of the earliest research in social psychology focused on how groups affected task performance (Triplett 1898; Ringelmann 1913), for the most part systematic research on other topics did not become widespread until the 1940s and 1950s. Therefore, it is not surprising that group research is still an emerging field. As such, it provides the excitement that derives from new theory and fresh empirical phenomena as well as the challenge (and frustration) that stems from the fact that there still is a good deal of ambiguity and uncertainty regarding many fundamental aspects of group process.

This book is designed for advanced undergraduate students in courses such as group dynamics and social psychology. In this volume, we try to share with the reader both the excitement and the challenge of conducting research on group phenomena. Where possible, we try to provide a historical context for the research (what inspired it, what obstacles were overcome, what controversies stimulated continued research), as well as the applied significance of what these laboratory findings mean in terms of our everyday life. Our primary objective, however, is to familiarize the reader with the theoretical perspectives and data that provided researchers with a means of interpreting group phenomena. We place special emphasis on several aspects of group experience that we feel are of particular significance. These include processes of social influence (Chapter 5), group productivity (Chapters 2, 3 and 4), extreme group behaviour (Chapter 6), group decisionmaking (Chapter 7) and intergroup conflict and prejudice (Chapter 9).

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