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Chapter 7

Chapter 7

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Published by: vaibhav_pandey_34 on May 28, 2011
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SOCIAL INFLUENCE AND GROUP PROCESSESSOCIAL INFLUENCE AND GROUP PROCESSESSOCIAL INFLUENCE AND GROUP PROCESSESSOCIAL INFLUENCE AND GROUP PROCESSESSOCIAL INFLUENCE AND GROUP PROCESSES
IntroductionNature and Formation of Groups
Groupthink 
(Box 7.1)
 Type of Groups
The Minimal Group Paradigm Experiments 
(Box 7.2)
Influence of Group on Individual Behaviour
Social LoafingGroup Polarisation
Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience
The Autokinetic Effect 
(Box 7.3)
Group Pressure and Conformity : The Asch Experiment 
(Box 7.4)
Cooperation and Competition
Sherif’s Summer Camp Experiments 
(Box 7.5)Determinants of Cooperation and Competition
Social IdentityIntergroup Conflict : Nature and CausesConflict Resolution Strategies
CONTENTS
Key TermsSummaryReview QuestionsProject Ideas WeblinksPedagogical Hints After reading this chapter, you would be able to:
understand the nature and types of groups and know how they are formed,examine the influence of group on individual behaviour,describe the process of cooperation and competition,reflect on the importance of social identity, andunderstand the nature of intergroup conflict and examine conflict resolution strategies.
 
Psychology 130
N
 ATURE
 
 AND
F
ORMATION
 
OF
G
ROUPS
 What is a Group?
 The preceding introduction illustrates theimportance of groups in our lives. Onequestion that comes to mind is: “How aregroups (e.g., your family, class, and thegroup with which you play) different fromother collections of people?” For example,people who have assembled to watch a cricket match or your school function areat one place, but are not interdependent on each other. They do not have definedroles, status and expectations from eachother. In the case of your family, class, andthe group with which you play, you will realise that there is mutualinterdependence, each member has roles,there are status differentials, and there areexpectations from each other. Thus, your 
Think about your day-to-day life and the various social interactions you have. In the morning, before going to school, you interact with your family members; in school, you discuss topics and issues with your teachers and classmates; and after school you phone up, visit or play with your friends.In each of these instances, you are part of a group which not only provides you the needed support and comfort but also facilitates your growth and development as an individual. Have you ever been away to a place where you were without your family, school, and friends? How did you feel? Did you feel there was something vital missing in your life? Our lives are influenced by the nature of group membership we have. It is, therefore, important to be part of groups which would influence us  positively and help us in becoming good citizens. In this chapter, we shall try to understand what groups are and how they influence our behaviour. At this point, it is also important to acknowledge that not only do others influence us, but we, as individuals, are also capable of changing others and the society. The benefits of cooperation and competition and how they influence our personal and social lives will also be examined. We will also see how identity develops — how we come to know ourselves. Similarly,we would try to understand why sometimes group conflicts arise; examine the perils of group conflict and apprise ourselves of various conflict resolutiostrategies so that we are able to contribute towards making a harmonious and cohesive society.
Introduction
family, class and playgroup are examplesof groups and are different from other collections of people.
 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 moreindividuals who perceive themselvesas belonging to the group. Thischaracteristic of the group helps indistinguishing one group from theother and gives the group its uniqueidentity.A collection of individuals who havecommon motives and goals. Groups
 
Chapter 7 •
Social Influence and Group Processes 
131
function either working towards a givengoal, or away from certain threatsfacing the group.A collection of individuals who areinterdependent, i.e. what one is doingmay have consequences for others.Suppose one of the fielders in a cricket team drops an important catch duringa match — this will have consequencefor the entire team.Individuals who are trying to satisfy a need through their joint associationalso influence each other.A gathering of individuals who interac with one another either directly or indirectly.A collection of individuals whoseinteractions are structured by a set of roles and norms. This means that thegroup members perform the samefunctions every time the group meetsand the group members adhere togroup norms. Norms tell us how weought to behave in the group andspecify the behaviours expected fromgroup members.Groups can be differentiated from other collections of people. For example, a 
crowd
is also a collection of people who may bepresent at a place/situation by chance.Suppose you are going on the road and anaccident takes place. Soon a large number of people tend to collect. This is an exampleof a crowd. There is neither any structurenor feeling of belongingness in a crowd.Behaviour of people in crowds is irrationaland there is no interdependence amongmembers.
 Teams
are special kinds of groups.Members of teams often have comple-mentary skills and are committed to a common goal or purpose. Members aremutually accountable for their activities. Inteams, there is a positive synergy attainedthrough the coordinated efforts of themembers. The main differences betweengroups and teams are:In groups, performance is dependent on contributions of individualmembers. In teams, both individualcontributions and teamwork matter.In groups, the leader or whoever isheading the group holds responsibility for the work. However in teams,although there is a leader, membershold themselves responsible.
Fig.7.1 : Look at these Two Pictures Picture A shows a football team — a group in which members interact with one another, have roles and goals. Picture B depicts an audience watching the football match — a mere collection of people who by some coincidence (may be their interest in football) happened to be in the same place at the same time.
Picture APicture B

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