Group Dynamics: Understanding Group Types and Their Influence

How to identify Group Types

A group can be defined as at least two people that communicate and form some type of reasonable unit. There are many different types of groups such as intimacy groups, tasks groups, or loose associations. Intimacy groups are those closest to us such as a group of friends or a group of family members.

Tasks groups work to achieve a common goal, like a study group working on a school project together. Loose associations are groups that are formed because of their similar preferences such as music or theater. Being involved in some type of grouping, if not various groupings, is quite the norm for most people.

Another aspect when looking at group behavior is the group cognition that may occur. The once popular groupthink was shown to be disastrous in the Invasion of the Bay of Pigs agreed upon by President Kennedy after a particular groupthink session.

The problem with a groupthink is that it usually involves people from the same in-group with many similarities. Then when an idea is proposed within the groupthink that idea is going to be accepted by the group, even if someone has doubt is in their mind. A groupthink has to have certain characteristics, an almost “perfect storm”, if you will. Some of them are a leader, no outside objections or ideas, and are being put under a lot of stress or feeling threatened. The consequences of such an isolated decision making session can be disastrous as the wrong idea can be put into action, as with the Bay of Pigs.

How Social Delemmas Effect on our Decisions

Social dilemmas are another factor within society that effects our decisions as a social being. A social dilemma occurs when one must decide whether to make a self-serving decision, or make the decision that is best for the group. There are three types of social dilemmas; the commons dilemma, the resource dilemma, and the prisoner’s dilemma.

The commons dilemma occurs when people begin taking more than the allotted amount of whatever the dilemma is about. If one or two people do this, it is not a problem but when everyone begins to join in, the commons dilemma occurs.

The resource dilemma is when there are not enough resources for the main contributors due to the access to the resource by those who do not contribute.

The prisoner’s dilemma only involves two people rather than a group and can be best handled if both parties cooperate. However, this is not always the case, which is where the dilemma occurs.

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