Important Principles of Group Dynamics

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Social groups have become a necessity nowadays, especially in organizations. These groups are formed based on reciprocal relations and are bound by unity. They display common behaviours and interests. The factors that go into the formation and success of groups are multifaceted, and groups can be of many kinds like formula, informal, primary, secondary, voluntary, involuntary, etc. These groups are classified on parameters like size, degree of intimacy, quality of interaction, etc.

What is Group Dynamics?

The behaviours of people who are part of a group define the group dynamics. It is the force of interaction between the group members. The study of group dynamics involves the analysis of factors that go into the creation and functioning of a group. It is also concerned with changes that happen in the mindset of people as they perform and interact within the group. In other words, group dynamics is the adjustive changes that occur in a group that is brought about by changes in any part of the group.

Important Principles of Group Dynamics

Dorwin Carl Wright, a former director of Commonwealth trade union group, has given a few important principles of group dynamics which are used to achieve the best use of group dynamics.

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  1. Principle of Belongingness  

If a group has to be useful as an effective medium of exchange, then people in the group must have a strong sense of belongingness. Those who exert influence for a change and those who are to be changed by this influence have to be intimately involved with each other. This sense of belongingness makes the group coordinate with each other and perform at their best potential. If all people are performing well, then it raises the morale of the group.

  1. Principle of Perception 

The principle of perception is useful in creating a common understanding of any change which needs to happen. If people perceive that change in a similar fashion, it gets easier to bring about that change within the group. This shared perception keeps the source of the pressure for a change within the group.

  1. Principle of Conformity  

If continuous efforts are made to remove individual subparts within a group, the members are more likely to conform to the norms of the group. This principle is one of the most difficult to achieve.

  1. Principle of Change 

Change is inadvertent in a group; hence the group needs to be well-coordinated to accept and bring about the change. This is done best by communicating and sharing all the relevant information about the change with the group members like the need for change, plan on how to proceed with the change, and the outcome of the change.

  1. Principle of Readjustment 

The principle of change is the reason for the principle of readjustment. With changes in one part of the group, there is bound to be stress in other parts of the group. This stress has to be handled by various means of readjustments in related parts in terms of group norms, group delegations, group objectives, etc. One could also reverse the changes if the readjustment does not prove beneficial for the group.

  1. Principle of Common Motives 

The main reason a group is formed is the common aim behind it. All the operations of the group members are geared towards achieving this shared goal.

  1. Principle of Power 

This principle focuses on the prestige or status of people in the group. If a group is attractive to its members, it can exert more influence on its group members. 

  1. Continuous Process Principle  

Each member of the group has the responsibility of carrying out the group operations uninterruptedly. The group must be functional at all times till the task completion or achievement of the goal.

  1. Goal Orientation Principle - 

A group survives when its members are placed in an operational hierarchy, and their actions are goal-oriented. The common motive principle guides the goal orientation principle where all the activities of a group are oriented towards goal achievement.

Factors Affecting Group Dynamics

As per Malcolm and Huda Knowles (author of “Introduction to Group Dynamics”), there are four main aspects of a group that affects group dynamics:

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  1. Psychological Forces  

The psychological needs of an individual center around recognition, prestige, status, security, and belongingness. It is these factors that govern his adaptability to the group.

  1. Past Experience  

A person is made up of his past experiences which come from past events of his life. It includes habits, attitudes, values, perception, etc. His behavior in the group is a product of these past experiences.

  1. Goals and Ideology 

It might happen that an individual’s goals and ideologies are not in-line with that of the group. This may cause resistance and disagreements in the group.

  1. Associational Forces 

The actions of an individual in a group are directed by associational forces. A few examples of such forces are geographical habitation, culture, family impact, traditions, customs, religion, etc.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What are the Various Stages of Group Development?

Ans: The most famous model for the various stages in a group’s formation was given by Bruce Tuckman who was an American psychological researcher and professor.

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  • Forming - This is when the foundation of a new group begins, and members interact with each other initially. In this stage, individuals are new to each other and excited to know the scope of the task and goals of the group. Individuals at this time are eager to be accepted and try to avoid conflicts or controversies of any kind.

  • Storming - After the novelty of knowing members of the group has died down, individuals start interacting with each other under the context of the task, which is to be achieved. There is a high level of competition and conflict amongst group members in this stage. The dominant people come forward while others remain in the forming stage and are calm. The many issues that arise during storming are leadership, authority, rules, reward system, responsibilities, etc.

  • Norming - After the storming stage, the roles and authority of each member become clear. At the norming stage, the members start settling down in the group and start appreciating the skills and knowledge of each other.

  • Performing - This stage is marked by synergy in the team where the entire group is striving and working together to meet the goal. Interdependence and flexibility are the characteristics of this stage. There is close knowledge of each other in the group, which enables them to solve complex problems together.

  • Adjourning - In this last stage of the group development, the group is terminated, and members separate from each other. This usually happens once the purpose of the group is fulfilled. 

Q2. Mention Some of the Salient Features of Group Dynamics.

Ans: Some of the important features of group dynamics are:

  • Group dynamics is related to groups, i.e. if there is a group, there is an interaction between its members. Group dynamics deals with the changes and adjustments its members do in their relationships with each other.

  • There is constant change in the group in terms of entry and exit of members, leadership changes, change in the type of task, etc.

  • The rigidity or flexibility of group members affects group dynamics.

  • To release stress, a group tends to restructure and readjust constantly. It enables better decision making and removes conflicts.

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