TravisMathenyUnit7PRJKT - Groups are a fundamental part of...

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Groups are a fundamental part of our life. They can be very small comprised of just two people or very large with memberships in the tens of thousands. There are different ways of observing group behavior and gaining insight into the group collective experience. In thinking of groups, there are some key dynamics about them that should be explored for relative significance in relation to their goals, interdependence, and trust; how groups manage conflict, and the value of diversity in groups; including information on how we apply this information to current or future applications. According to some group researchers, ‘Groups are not merely sets of aggregated, independent individuals; instead they are unified social entities, groups cannot be reduced down to the level of the individual without losing information about the group unit, as a whole’ (Forsyth, 2006, p. 13). The notion of group cohesion, which is the forces or bonds that bind individuals to the collective nature of the group, is fundamental to the collective nature of groups. In some groups, the feelings that group members have for each other and their commitment to achieving the group’s goals will be minor. In other groups, these feelings are seen as quite strong. The functioning of the group is dependent on the trust and loyalty its members develop towards one another and to the group. Group Goals, Social Interdependence and Trust The group experience maintains group norms which are basically socially established rules of conduct that indicate the commonly shared beliefs for the group and affect how the group may function collectively. The group norms are developed out of necessity for the group to survive or achieve its goals. Social norms also act to reduce uncertainty that members can experience in difficult situations, providing a way forward in an established method. These norms can assist in maintaining roles that individuals play within the group. As Johnson and Johnson (2003: p. 24) describe it, “Roles define the formal structure of the group and differentiate one position from another”. Different people function in
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different roles within the group using the generally understood and accepted norms towards achieving the group’s goals. Group goals are ideals or joint vision for which the group has some commitment towards. Without some commitment to the pursuit of common goals, the group will not survive or be effective (Benson 2001, p. 66). The goals can be cooperative or competitive in nature. A cooperative goal develops when the individual goals of members are visible and similar to the group’s goals. Cooperative groups enjoy stable membership that gives each member the support, help, encouragement, and assistance he or she needs to make progress towards meeting the group’s goals. Conversely, competitive goals emerge when the individual goals of members are hidden or seen as different or opposed to the group’s goals. (Benson 2001, p. 67). Competitive goals can be very destructive and lead to conflict in the group. When individuals take action in a group, the actions may promote the success of others, obstruct the
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TravisMathenyUnit7PRJKT - Groups are a fundamental part of...

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