Dynamics and development of a small group - Psychology

Dynamics and development of a small group

The formation mechanisms of small groups vary significantly depending on the type of group.


Education formal group occurs regardless of the needs and desire to unite and communicate precisely with these people. Here it is more correct to talk about the entry of individuals into an emerging group, conditioned by the individual needs of the individual. Informal groups, on the contrary, are formed mainly on the basis of the needs for communication, participation, belonging, therefore the psychological mechanisms of emotional attractiveness and psychological compatibility of individuals play an important role in their emergence.

Among the most universal psychological mechanisms that facilitate the unification of people into small groups and the formation of a psychological community, mechanisms of mutual influence are in the process of communication: imitation, suggestion, empathy, identification.

The phenomenon of group dynamics is determined by researchers in different ways. In particular, M.-A. Robert and F. Thalmann define group dynamics as a process by which the interaction between specific individuals reduces the tension between them, leads to mutual satisfaction.

For the first time, the term group dynamics was used by Kurt Levin and was defined by him as a discipline that examines the positive and negative forces acting in the group. In describing the principles of group dynamics, Levin relied on the laws of gestalt psychology.

In modern social psychology, the concept of "group dynamics" refers to the development of relations in the group, changes that occur as a result of the forces operating in the group. The concept of group dynamics includes five basic elements: group goals, group norms, group structure and leadership problem, group cohesion and the phases of its development.

In the concept of LI Umansky (1921 - 1983), the step-by-step development of a group is represented as a successive change of stages characterized by qualitative differences in such parameters as direction, organization, preparedness, intellectual, emotional and volitional communicativeness . The integral characteristics of the group are also cohesion, microclimate, referentiality, leadership, intro- and intergroup activity. The development of the group takes place in the continuum, the highest point of which is occupied by the collective - a real contact group, distinguished by organization, preparedness and psychological communication. The lowest point of development is the newly formed conglomerate group , which lacks all these parameters. During the development of the group, the author identifies the key points (stages):

a nominal group, characterized by an external formal unification around prescribed social tasks;

an association group, characterized by the initial interpersonal integration of its members;

cooperative group, in which there is mutual integration in interpersonal and business relations;

Autonomy group, having high internal unity in all parameters of intra-group activity.

A distinctive feature of the team is its integration with other groups on the basis of the orientation towards more general, socially significant goals.

In the psychological theory of the team developed by AV Petrovsky, the development of the group is characterized by two main criteria: 1) the degree of mediation of interpersonal relations by the content of joint activity; 2) the social significance of this activity. According to the first criterion, the level of development of the group can be determined in the continuum from the diffuse group (random meeting of people not connected by joint activity) to highly organized groups, interpersonal relations in which are maximally subordinated to the goals of joint activity . The second criterion distinguishes groups with positive and negative social orientation. The development of the group is characterized by the dynamics of changes in its properties by both parameters, which allows for a regressive change in relations and allows the groups to be typologically typified by the specified parameters.

In Western social psychology, many models of group development are being developed. For most of them, three main stages are typical: orientation in a situation, conflict and reaching agreement or balance.

Among the key development parameters of a small group, there are group cohesion . The first empirical studies of group cohesion began in Western social psychology in the school of group dynamics. The concept of solidarity is used to denote such properties of a small group as the level of psychological community, the unity of group members, the tightness and stability of interpersonal relationships and interactions, the degree of emotional attractiveness of the group.

The American psychologist Leon Festinger defined group cohesion as the result of the influence of all forces acting on members of the group in order to keep them in it. As such forces, the emotional appeal of the group to its members, the utility of the group for the individual, the satisfaction of individuals with their membership in the group were considered. The level of cohesion of a small group is manifested in the frequency and stability of the communication links existing in it.

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