Survival in Groups: The Basics of Group Membership

Survival in Groups: The Basics of Group Membership

Survival in Groups: The Basics of Group Membership

Survival in Groups: The Basics of Group Membership


In his latest book, Tom Douglas turns his attention to the skills of group membership. While there is an extensive literature on basic groupwork practice, none of the existing books address the functions of groups exclusively from the viewpoint of members.

Survival in Groups examines the influences and pressures which can exist in groups and explains what to look for in order to see these factors at work. It stresses the fact that the ability to see the processes of a group in action can enable group members to make consciously directed contributions to the group based on an understanding of what is involved. The final chapters discuss methods of integrating personal learning about group outcomes.

Illustrated throughout with practice-based examples, Survival in Groups is aimed at the many students of social work, counselling, nursing and social care who are required to participate in groups, but who are unclear about what this involves. With its summaries, lists of basic concepts and brief annotated bibliography, the book will also be of use to busy professionals in the social care field where teamwork or groupwork is emphasised.




The group as a system

Costs and rewards

The expectations of members

Time and experience

Differences between members


The effect of contagion

Visibility in groups

The status of members

Sub-groups — groups within groups




External influences

In this chapter, we look at those factors which influence a group as it works towards achieving its goals. But we start by examining the group as a small social system, affected by the expectations of its members and constrained by time, and show how it develops a system of rules, some of which are highly visible but some of which are only discernible by the individual member when he or she becomes involved with them. Finally, we look at some of the external influences on groups, bearing in mind that few if any groups are not part of larger systems.


There is a simple connection between how much a group means to an individual and the amount of influence which that group can exert. Thus where a group is . . .

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