Definition of group dynamics:

According to R. J. Rummel, a group is a casual and meaningful unity of individuals, unity based on shared meanings, values, norms and a structure of associated expectations.

Group dynamics can be defined as the current patterns of social interaction among the members of a group. (Craig etal; 1994)

Group dynamics is the study of groups and also the general term for group processes. In psychology and sociology, a group is a two or more individuals who are connected to each other in social relationships. Groups develop a number of dynamic processes that separate them from a random selection of individuals because they interact and influence each other.

These processes include norms, roles, relations, development, need to belong, social influence and effects on behavior. The field of group dynamics is primarily concerned with small group behavior. Groups may be classified as aggregate, primary, secondary and category groups.



Bruce Tuckman (1965) proposed the 4- stage model called Tuckmans stages for a group. Tuckmans model states that the ideal group decision making process should occur in four stages. Tuckman later added a fifth stage for the dissolution of a group called adjourning (adjourning may also be referred to as mourning i.e mourning the adjournment of the group)


In this stage, the team members are introduced. They state why they were chosen or volunteered for the team and what they hope to accomplish within the team

Members cautiously explore the boundaries of acceptable group behavior.

This is often difficult in identifying some of the relevant problems as there is so much going on that members get restricted. The team often accomplishes little concerning its goals.


All members have their own ideas as to how the process should look and personal agendas are often rampant. Storming is probably the most difficult stage for the team.

They begin to realize the tasks that are ahead are different and more difficult than they previously imagined.

Impatient about the lack of progress, members argue about just what actions the team should take.

They try to rely solely on their personal and professional experience and resist collaborating with most other team members

Storming includes these feelings and behavior:

  1. Resisting the task
  2. Resisting quality improvement approaches suggested by other members
  3. Sharp fluctuation in attitude about the teams chances of success.
  4. Arguing among members, even when they agree on the real issues
  5. Defensiveness, competition and choosing sides
  6. Questioning the wisdom of those who selected the project and appointed the members of the team.
  7. Establishing unrealistic goals



The norming phase is when the team reaches a consensus on the To-Be process. Everyone wants to share the newly found focus. Enthusiasm is high, and the team is often tempted to go beyond the original scope of the process.

During this stage, members reconcile competing royalties and responsibilities. They accpt the team, ground rules, roles and individuality of fellow members. Emotional conflict is reduced as previously competitive relationships become more cooperative.

Norming includes these feeling and behavior:

  1. An ability to express criticism constructively
  2. Acceptance of membership in the team
  3. An attempt to achieve harmony by avoiding conflict
  4. Friendliness, confiding in each other and sharing of personal problems
  5. A sense of team cohesion, spirit and goals
  6. Establishing and maintaining team ground rules and boundaries

Norms should include:-

  • Conflict resolution mechanisms
  • The group valus
  • Personality differences and how to make good use of them
  • Work production mechanism
  • Standards and expectations for communication



By now the team has settled its relationship and expectations. They can begin performing by diagnosing, problem solving and implementing changes

At least, team members have discovered and accepted others strengths and weaknesses. In addition, they have learned what their roles are.

Performing includes these feelings and behaviours;

  • Members have insights into personal and group process
  • An understanding of each others strength and weakness
  • Constructive self-change
  • Ability to prevent or work through group problems
  • Close attachment to the team

The team is now an effective and cohesive unit. You can tell when your team has reached this stage because you start getting a lot of work done.


The team briefs and shares the improved process during this phase. When the team finally completes that last briefing, there is always a bittersweet sense of accomplishment coupled with the reluctance to say good-bye. Many relationships formed within these teams continue long after the team disbands



There are several kinds of groups from a sociological perspective:

  1. In-groups:- an in-group is one with which one identifies with and feels at home in.
  2. Out-groups:- an out-group is one with which does not identify with and towards which he/she feels like an outsider
  3. Primary groups:- primary groups are those in which the relationships are closely-knit. Charles Horton Cooley (1909-1929) described a primary group as one that has the following features:
  • Condition face-to- face interaction
  • Strong personal identity with the group
  • Strong ties of affection among the group members
  • Multifaceted relationship
  • A tendency for the group to be very enduring

The nuclear family is an ideal primary group

Secondary group:- secondary groups have the oposit characteristics of primary groups;

They include:-

  • Limited face-to-face interaction
  • Modest or weak personal identity with the group
  • Weak ties of affection among members
  • Limited, shallow relationship
  • A tendency not to be enduring

A student committee could be an ideal secondary group.


Reference groups:- these are groups that people refer to when they evaluate their own behavior; though they may not necessarily belong to them.

They serve two purposes, providing standards of self evaluation and for evaluation of life situations.

According to R,J. Rummel, in hie article groups and anti-fields groups can also be classified as follows:-

  1. Spontaneous:- these types of groups develop as an informal balancing of positive interests of individuals. They may be solidary or contractual, unorganized, and have diffuse goals. Moreover, recruitment is voluntary and authoritative roles emphasize authoritative power eg family, book exchange club, and religious sect e.t.c.
  2. Voluntary association:- interaction may be soidary or contractual, but is semi-organized according to the same explicit group. Recruitment is voluntary and commands within are based on authoritative power
  3. Voluntary organizations:- here also internal interaction could be solidary or contractual, but its structure is organized rationally to achieve a super-ordinate goal. Membership is voluntary and authoritative power provides order
  4. Quasi-coercive organization:- this is group whose interaction is contractual and quite possibly antagonistic. It is organized according to a supper-ordinate goal, its membership is necessitated and interaction is generated by coercion, bargaining or authority, eg factories, mine etc.
  5. Coercive:- here membership is obligatory, and attempts to escape are punished. Interaction is antagonistic and organized to fulfill a super-ordinate goals; and the basis of command is coercive. Examples include a jail, a slave camp, a public primary school or any army unit etc.



  1. Group size:- the number of people in a group significantly affect the way they interact. For example, in a dyad (a group of two people), both members must participate or the group  ceases to exist, but in a triad (a group of three), one person may leave but the continues. This means that the members of a dyad must keep their interaction going if they want their group to survive.
  2. Conformity and control:- conformity is ensured when there is adherence to the norms and rules of the group and this in turn helps in having control over the group. The norms that the group agrees on will largely determine how the members behave and how social control will be exercised.
  3. Leadership/Power:- groups need leaders in order to maintain good relations among members and because group leadership may change hands over from time to time, but the group needs must be met. The kind of leadership that a group has therefore will determine what the members and how they need to do it. The type o power used will also determine whether involvement will be normative, calculative or alienative. Involvement is a concept by Karl Max and reefrs to the degree of commitment to an organization.
  • Alienative involvement is mainly found where leadership is based on coercive power, while moral involvement is found where leadership isnormative and of liberal nature.
  • Alienative involvement is where an individual prefers to not to be associated with organization. This can clearly be seen through high turnover of employees in a given organization.
  • Moral involvement is where a person associates himself with an organization because he considers it morally right in itself, for example a church.
  • Calculative involvement on the other hand refers to a situation where people associate with an organization on the basis of the benefits they are likely to get from it.

Decision making:- groups have to make decisions and in the process of doing so the members behave in certain specific ways.



  1. Infants and pre-school children develop important social skills through interacting with their peers
  2. The per group provides companionship to an individual and these changes with development
  3. The peer group also offers peer acceptance. The extent to which one is accepted by the peers can affect the way one feels about him/her self.
  4. Peer shapes a persons preferences and tests ranging from music, hair styles, clothes, recreation, choice of friends e.t.c
  5. Peer group affiliation can also encourage adolescents to become moore independent of their parents
  6. According to (Dodge 1983), the influence of peers can sometimes produce unpleasant effects because as much as everyone wants to be accepted and liked, not everyone is. Some people experience peer rejection or neglect. Usually those who achieve high peer status are friendlier, more physically attractive, more socially outgoing, and cooperative and do better in school. On the other hand, the unpopular people lack the social skills necessary for the acceptance and often engage in socially undesirable actions such as aggressive and antagonistic behavior.
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