Groups are considered as one of the many major building blocks of a society – with each group found within the society is different from each other, but are also dependent upon one another. Within each group, members thrive and interact with one another through which several exchanges of ideas as well as thoughts are made. It is due to these exchanges that groups managed to survive and proliferate – the same exchanges that its members share are the ones responsible for changes that are happening within the group, which in turn affect other members, and in turn affect other groups that depend on it in a continuous cycle.
Because of the deceptively simple setup of a group, a lot of leaders fail to actually grasp what makes the group thrive. A group’s dynamics is considered the lifeblood of a group without which a group can succeed or fail, regardless of the “quality” of its members, something quite lost in translation when it comes to truly understanding how groups really work. It is for this importance that group dynamics is now considered to be one of the most important aspects of a group that needs to be studied. Introduction
According to Corey and Corey (2006), the term group process refers to all the parts that make up a group and considered as vital throughout its existence, from the day the group was created up to the day that it finally ceases to be a group. The group process also incorporates various dynamics, such as the rules that are primarily concerned with the management of the group. It is also concerned with the unity of the group, and is also involved with fostering trust among the group members, as well as looking into conflicts that could come up within the group and how it is solved by the group.
The group process is also concerned with the forces that are responsible for making the group recover from a major setback, relationships among its members, and all the phases that the group goes through in its “growth cycle”. McGrath and Argote (2002) examine the beginnings of group dynamics as a whole. In the 1930s, group dynamics as what it is about right now has just started to materialize, under Kurt Lewin.
The definition of the parts making up group dynamics in the 1960s was quite similar to what is in use today. The earlier definition of group dynamics was also seen as the many factors present that contribute to the overall aspects of a group, and its survival. It also deals with the various relationships that happen within it that contributes to its own growth, and its relationship with other groups, and even its relationship with the larger group of which it is a part of.
McGrath and Argote then continue on to categorize several distinct characteristics of the group as follows: Task Interdependence – actions of the members of the group affect other members of the group, whether for the benefit or for the hindrance of the group Social-Psychological Awareness – the sense of the members’ “belonging” to a group and how other people see them as part of that group Social Embededness – the group is considered part of a bigger group present in society
Because of these several characteristics, groups are, in McGrath and Argote’s opinion, a complicated structure composed of people that make up its members, with their own aims from which the group’s many activities are based upon, and have the tangible and intangible means in order to do it from where their network of available tools are also sprung from. Boyd (2007) also expresses that group dynamics couldn’t actually be seen as a simple case of just understanding what the group is all about based on just simple observation of how the group is thriving or surviving.
Group dynamics, as is stated time and again, is responsible for affecting the group’s growth or even the many interactions that take place in the group itself, and how it also affects the people making up that group. Boyd goes on to state that group dynamics is the key to a group’s success or failure, no matter what kind of group that they were established to be – a group is always vulnerable to the dynamics present. Jennings (2007) details the growth of the group as follows. It is based on Tuckman’s model. According to Tuckman, groups are seen to develop through 4 consecutive stages.