Social Psychology- Group Cohesion

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What is a Group?

Aggregates - a collection of individuals who are present at the same time/place but who do not form a unit


What are the characteristics of a group?

- Name all 8

1. Common Goals (personal and task)

2. Common Fate (Interdependence)

3. Mutual Benefit

4. Social Structure

5. Group Processes

6. Self-Categorization

7. Psychological Significance

8. Interpersonal Attraction


What is a Team?

A team is a collection of individuals who work together to achieve a specific goal or set of goals; the goals make them interdependent to some significant degree.


What are the characteristics of a Team?

– Collective sense of identity (we rather than I) – Distinctive roles
– Structured modes of communication
– Norms


What are the 3 theories about group development?

–The linear perspective

–The (life cycle) cyclical perspective

–The pendular perspective


Describe the "Linear perspective" Theory.

Assumes that groups progressively move through different stages of change.

Stages: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Adjourning


Describe "Forming" in relation to the linear perspective theory.


Familiarity & bonds develop, dependence & safety, desire for acceptance, members fear rejection, cautious communication, goals are unclear, leader rarely challenged, member compliance high.


Describe Storming" in relation to the linear perspective theory.


Interpersonal conflict and tension, subgroups, coalitions form, resistance to the leader, increased member participation, dissatisfaction with roles, decreases in conformity


Describe "Norming" in relation to the linear perspective theory.


Goals become clear, communication becomes task focused, increased satisfaction, division of labour, coalitions remain


Describe "Performing" in relation to the linear perspective theory.


All is good, roles and goals are clear, task and socioemotional aspects balanced, members are cooperative, primary goal is team success.


Describe "Adjourning" in relation to the linear perspective theory.


Working decreases, members reflect on achievements, increased solidarity


Describe the Cyclical (life style) Perspective.

- Development of groups is similar to the life cycle – birth, growth, and death.

- As the group develops, it psychologically prepares for its own breakup.

- This model is especially relevant for physical activity ( exercise ) groups and recreation teams that last 10 to 15 weeks; and for sports (one season).


What are the stages in the Cyclical perspective? Explain each of the 5 stages.

  •  Pre-affiliation stage – team members explore the possibility of joining together in a group. Some may decide not to become involved.
  •  Power and control stage - team members define, formalize, and test intragroup relationships. Subgroups may form.
  •  Intimacy stage - interpersonal relationships become intensified and cooperation and sharing are strong.
  •  Differentiation stage - high cohesion and strong acceptance of group members.
  •  Termination stage - social interactions centered around maintaining the group. Recalls and evaluates past group activities.

Describe the Pendular Perspective and its stages.

Shifts occur in interpersonal relationships and power during the growth and development of the groups.

 Groups do not progress through linear phases.  Stages of group development:

  • – Orientation
  • – Differentiation and conflict
  • – Resolution and cohesion
  • – Differentiation and conflict
  • – Termination (high or low cohesion depending on success

rate of the team)


What are the characteristics of the Orientation stage?

Cohesion and feelings of unity are high. Athletes share many common feelings of excitement and anxiety


What are the characteristics of the Differentiation & Conflict phase?

Physical and/or psychological divisions

Conflicts arise and players compete for positions on a team

Feeling of boredom, no games yet


What are the characteristics of the Resolution and cohesion phase?

Cohesion increases as group members prepare to face a common threat


What are the characteristics of the Differentiation and conflict
phase #2?

Unity weakened

Individuals rewarded or punished setting them off from the group


What are the characteristics of the Termination phase?

- Increased cohesion if season successful
- Decreased cohesion if season unsuccessful


List and explain the 4 elements of group structure.

1. Position in the Group

- Geographic location of the person
Power, prestige, importance of the person

2. Status in the Group

-Power, prestige, importance of the person

3. Roles in the Group

-The behavior expected of an individual who occupies a specific position

4. Norms in the Group

-Standards of behaviour that are expected of team members


What is Social Loafing?

Social Loafing:

When individuals within a group or team put forth less than 100% effort due to losses in motivation.


What causes Social Loafing?

Sucker effect: perceiving that others are working less hard than themselves thereby giving them an excuse to put in less effort

 Minimizing strategy: belief that they are “lost in the crowd” not receive their share of positive consequences

 Allocation strategy: belief that “I don’t have to try hard” because teammates will pick up the slack

 Free rider: belief that they can “hide in the crowd” or are not neededavoid negative consequences of not trying hard


How can we minimise Social Loafing?

  1. Emphasize the importance of individual pride and unique contributions.
  2. Be able to identify individual performances.
  3. Determine specific situations where loafing may occur.
  4. Conduct meetings to discuss this issue.
  5. Break team into smaller groups.

What is Cohesion?

  • Latin derivative = “cohaesus” which means to “stick together”
  •  “Cohesion is a dynamic process which is reflected in the tendency for a group to stick together and remain united in the pursuit of its instrumental objectives and/or for the satisfaction of member affective needs” (Carron, Brawley, & Widmeyer, 1998, p. 213

What are the 2 types of Cohesion? Explain each one.

- Task cohesion – the degree to which members of a group work together to achieve a common goal and objective.

- Social cohesion – the degree to which members of a team like each other and enjoy each other’s company.


What are the 4 correlates of Cohesion?

1. Environmental Factors

2. Personal Factors
3. Leadership Factors
4. Team Factors


What are some of the barriers to Cohesion?

  •  A clash of personalities in the group
  •  A conflict of task or social roles among group members
  •  A breakdown in communication among group members or between the group leader and members
  •  One or more members struggling for power
  •  Frequent turnover of group members
  •  Disagreement on group goals and objectives