Human beings exhibit some characteristic behavior patterns when interacting in groups. Therefore, understanding group behaviour plays a vital role in order to establish a harmonious society. The group helps a person in the satisfaction of his fundamental needs and in achieving a sense of accomplishment. In modern organizations, groups are employed as major instruments for operations, particularly for problem- solving and improving performance.
Meaning of a Group:-
It has been commonly observed and also established through various experimental studies that there are differences in the behaviour of an individual when they are alone and when they are together in a group. As a member of a group, he exhibits group behaviour. When two or more people come together it is known as a Group. A group is one in which people come together to attain a common goal & the relations among the members are interdependent i.e. each member‘s behavior influences the behaviour of the others in the group.
According to Mill, 'A unit composed of two or more persons who come together to achieve a specific purpose & consider a contact meaningful is a Group.‘
Bass approached the definition of a group in the angle of motivation & satisfaction of needs.
Bogurdas defines a group as, ''A collection of two or more persons with common interests, stimulating each other having common loyalty & participating in common activities.''
Characteristics of a Group:
A typical group must have the following essential characteristics in order to be called a group in the psychological sense.
1. Leadership: - According to Carter, a leader is a person who is able to lead the group towards the attainment of the goal. The teacher helps the students in the attainment of the goals. In that sense, the teacher is the leader of the classroom group.
2. Interdependency/ Common Interest: - The members of a group have common and well defined goals, interest and ideals. Every member tries to attain the goals set down by the society
e.g. members of Rotary Club have a common aim of social work for the benefit of underprivileged. The behavior of one member of a group influences that of the other and in this way his own behavior is influenced. This type of relationship is also known as psychological relationship.
3. Cohesiveness (Oneness): - There is a sense of oneness in the group because of the similarity in interest. A member looks upon others as related to him. In this way, good feelings, devotion, faithfulness, adjustment, suggestion & imitation are developed amongst the members.
4. Conformity (Comply by the rules set within the group): - The members of the group have to adhere to the rules set by the group. The actions of members are controlled by the group.
All the members of the group follow the ideals & traditions of the group.
5. Organized structure: - Any group has an organized structure which is well defined .e.g. The class is an organized structure which is homogeneous with respect to age, subject, etc.
6. Motivation/ Mutual Obligation: - The degree of motivation or the motivational level that exists among the members of the group should be the same. It is such a power as keeps not only the members of the group united but also provides them with energy e.g. the relationship between the children & parents in the family or the love of husband & wife. In spite of differences, they have certain common aims, ideals & values. We-feeling is developed leading to the development of affinity in the group. Social values are also developed.
TYPES OF GROUPS
There are different types of groups and they are ;
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY GROUPS :-
IN-GROUPS AND OUT-GROUPS :-
The members have common goal, common interest and a sense of we feeling. The members of in-groups treat others as outsiders. In groups may be either primary or secondary e.g., Family is an example of primary in-group. The nation towards which we feel love is an example of secondary in-group. The groups which are not in- groups are out-groups.
PURPOSIVE AND ACCIDENTAL GROUPS :-
PURPOSIVE GROUP :- Permanent and organized – Main aim is to achieve definite goal e.g., Family, Church, School,
ACCIDENTAL GROUP :- Short-lived and Unorganised – Individuals gather by mere chance e.g., Railway compartments, Bus Stand.
PARTIALLY AND TOTALLY INCLUSIVE GROUPS :-
Partially Inclusive Group : Involves partial interests of Individuals e.g., College Community
Totally Inclusive Group: All interests of the member are Involved e.g., Village Community
OPEN AND CLOSED GROUPS :- Open groups are those groups in which everybody can become a member whereas closed groups are secret societies where membership is not open to all.
CROWD AS A GROUP :- Crowd is a collection of people formed on the spur of moment. It has no permanent goals but only transitory aim. It is governed by emotions. Behaviour of the people is not normal in the crowd. They follow impulse of the moment. They think less and accept readymade conclusions.
CLUB AS GROUP :- A club is a collection of people who meet in a planned manner not like crowd. The goals of the club are clearly defined. The club has a common interest, ideal or goal e.g., Science Club.
COMMUNITY AS GROUP :- Community is more permanent than crowd or club. Individuals behaviour is controlled and regulated by the community. A community has its culture, art, literature and common social, political and economic bonds. Members of the community are emotionally attached, take keen interest in the activities of the community and obey its norms and traditions.
Meaning of Group Dynamics:
It is a relatively new concept in the socio – psychological field. Etymologically, the word, Dynamic, is derived from a Greek word, which means 'force‘. Thus, Group Dynamics stands for the forces operating in a group. A group is constantly interacting, thereby bringing about a perpetual change in the personality and behaviour of the members constituting the group. The behaviour is not static. Group Dynamics means the change of behaviour through interaction in the group. It refers to the forces which operate in group situations. It studies the structure of the group and other phenomenon which emerge out of group interaction.
According to the Good‘s dictionary – ''Group Dynamics implies an interactive psychological relationship in which members of a group develop a common perception based on feelings and emotions. These inter-stimulative relationships may be described by the term Group Dynamics."
Kretch & Crutch - Group Dynamics implies changes that take place within groups.
Thus group dynamics is the study of forces exerted by the group on the individual or the individual on the group.
Process of Group Dynamics: -
Argyle (1969) categorized 4 stages in the 'life' of a group
Heron (1989) identified a fifth stage Mourning / Adjourning
1. Forming - This is when a group first gets together. People tend to find out about each other, consider purposes, brainstorm ideas and possible structures for tasks and consider their own roles within the group. This is usually a very sociable time in the life of the group.
2. Storming - As the group begins to settle in and individuals get to know each other, they may start competing for status and role in the group. Disagreements occur and where some members may try to assert strong opinions or leadership tactics, others may withdraw. If tensions are not mutually dealt with at this stage, they tend to disrupt group communication and activity, and most importantly, mutual respect for the roles of members. To reach stages (c) and (d) conflicts need to be resolved.
3. Norming - After the more tense stage of storming, the group usually begins to settle as members have found a common approach to the task that all agree upon or accept (this is where unsettled conflicts can be problematic as they will probably reoccur later). Action plans begin to emerge and people find space to begin working on tasks.
4. Performing - This is the stage when the group achieves optimum efficiency and work gets done. At this stage it is important to know the team work strategies you are working with (Sharples, 1999: 71) that will best utilize the expertise of each member. It is also useful to be aware of time spent on each task through a log or diary, so that possible conflicts do not reoccur.
5. Mourning / Adjourning - Having satisfactorily got through the group tasks, if the group has been successful in working together, despite initial tensions and conflicts, we often see members sad to leave each other. This is where mutual respect and achievement is felt most significantly. Often sub-groups form from the larger groups to continue with personal or professional development interests.
Importance of developing Group Dynamics in Learning:
• To improve the behavior of students - In a class room group, the students come into contact with each other and acquire appropriate type of education.
• To develop mental processes - Some sort of exchange of thoughts goes on in the class group through which intellectual activities like reasoning, memory, judgments, decisions, thinking and imagination develop.
• To develop the feeling of self sacrifice - The students in a class room group remain in close contact with each other. Therefore so much love, good will and sympathy develops in them that in the time of need they do not hesitate to sacrifice themselves for the sake of others.
• To prepare for future social life - Children in class room group live together for pretty long time and try to adjust their thoughts, habits and view points to others. Such a type of experience prepares them for future social life.
• To excite sympathy of numbers - A student starts doing as other students do. This tendency is called sympathy of numbers.
• To develop qualities of leadership - Students in classroom groups plan or organize a number of co-curricular activities. Thus qualities of leadership are developed in them.
• To acquire more knowledge - In a classroom group the students learn the habits of competition and imitation and get an inspiration to acquire more knowledge.
• To develop the feeling of co-operation - The teacher encourages all the members of a classroom group to work together and thus feeling of cooperation is developed in them.