CHAPTER 7 : SOCIAL INFLUENCE AND GROUP PROCESSES NATURE AND FORMATION OF GROUPS Q1. What is a Group ? Ans : A group may be defined as an organised system of two or more individuals, who are interacting and interdependent, who have common motives, have a set of role relationships among its members, and have norms that regulate the behaviour of its members. Groups have the following salient characteristics : A social unit consisting of two or more individuals who perceive themselves as belonging to the group. This characteristic of the group helps in distinguishing one group from the other and gives the group its unique identity. A collection of individuals who have common motives and goals. Groups function either working towards a given goal, or away from certain threats facing the group. A collection of individuals who are interdependent, i.e. what one is doing may have consequences for others. Suppose one of the fielders in a cricket team drops an important catch during a match — this will have consequence for the entire team. Individuals who are trying to satisfy a need through their joint association also influence each other. A gathering of individuals who interact with one another either directly or indirectly. A collection of individuals whose interactions are structured by a set of roles and norms. This means that the group members perform the same functions every time the group meets and the group members adhere to group norms. Norms tell us how we ought to behave in the group and specify the behaviours expected from group members. o Groups can be differentiated from other collections of people. For Example, a crowd is also a collection of people who may be present at a place/situation by chance. o Suppose you are going on the road and an accident takes place. Soon a large number of people tend to collect. o This is an example of a crowd. o There is neither any structure nor feeling of belongingness in a crowd. o Behaviour of people in crowds is irrational and there is no interdependence among members. o Teams are special kinds of groups. o Members of teams often have complementary skills and are committed to a common goal or purpose. Members are mutually accountable for their activities. o In teams, there is a positive synergy attained through the coordinated efforts of the members.