The Social Aspects of Groups

1. Why do you think that individuals join a group? What is the general composition and functions of groups?

From the proverb, there is safety in number, it is clear that individual join groups in order to feel safe. Social psychology’s sociometer model argues that man is inherently social and they need to belong to a group, society or a cause. The perception of self-esteem is founded on group membership and this means that people feel great when they are part of groups because the feeling caused by inclusion produces high self-esteem. On the hand, the terror management theory is founded on the concept of safety in numbers where people feel more secure even from their own death because they derive a sensual belief confirmation from their groups. Additionally, Haney, Banks, &, Zimbardo, 1973, pp. 69–97) argues that power, affiliation status and common goals are also other drivers for belonging.

The general composition of groups includes people of different ages, sex, nationality, cultures and values. Groups are also composed of roles, norms, communication patterns, and status differentials. This means that groups are more of a number of people with similar needs and perception. The assembly effect is more common with groups (Carnahan, &, McFarland, 2007, pp. 603–614). Additionally, the function of many groups is goal attainment such as meeting needs, achieving a status and providing support


Haney, C; Banks, W.C; Zimbardo, Philip G (1973). "Interpersonal dynamics in a simulated prison". International Journal of Criminology and Penology 1: 69–97.

Carnahan, Thomas; McFarland, Sam (2007). "Revisiting the Stanford prison experiment: Could participant self-selection have led to the cruelty?". Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 33 (5): 603–614

2.What are some differences between individual and group behaviors? Be sure to discuss the process of social loafing in your answer.

Individual behabvours is controlled by personal perceotion and philosophies in life, while group’s behavours are controlled by social norms, values, and culture. Groups tend to exhibit herd behavours as they react in a coordinated way. Additionally, people conform or model their behavours to the groups in order to fit and this means groups can influence individual behaviors. On the other hand, individual behaviors may be influenced by group’s behaviors while statuses influence dynamics and interaction within the group. Additionally, Young, Pettit, &, Spataro, (2010, pp. 396-401). McPherson, Miller, Brashears, (2006, pp. 353-375) argues that individual cognitive abilities can inherently optimizes the groups behavours and groups may also help one optimize individual cognitive abilities.

3. What are some drawbacks of working in a group versus individual setting? Please be sure to discuss, at least, two drawbacks in detail, such as groupthink or other concepts.

Groups are composed of people of varying characteristics. Therefore, the effect of groups on individual performance can be profound. For example, people become less productive in groups because of a number of factors. For example, groupthink leads to irrational decisions. In group’s situation, people tend to make decision or model their behavours based on the group’s norm, code of conduct or values. This is called normative influence. Groups think lead to irrational decisions b cause people do not event re-evaluate their initial decisions just as they do not have time to examine the possible risks in their decisions.

Illusionary superiority

In groups, people tend to overestimate their abilities because they believe that their group members will support them in the event of difficulty. This makes people to become less productive and lazy (social loafing) people become less active knowing that they are not directly responsible for the outcome of the group’s performance. Additionally, there are cases in which people relinquish their self-identity, awareness and real perception of the job situation just because it does not conform to the groups codes of conduct and morals. Additionally, Aronson, Wilson, (2005) argues that groups can lead to group-polarization as people have different perception and reaction to situation with some making very drastic and extreme measures that may not be in line with an individual’s perspective.


Aronson, E., Wilson, T., & Akert, R. (2013). Social psychology (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Pettit, Yong, &, Spataro E, (2010). Holding Your Place: Reactions to the Prospect of Status Gains and Losses. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 46, 2:396-401.

McPherson, J, Miller, L, &, E. Brashears, (2006). "Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades." American Sociological Review. 71(3): 353-375.

4. How are conflicts dealt with in groups? Discuss, at least, two concepts in detail.

Conflict can affect the group function and cohesion. For example, Weingart, &, Karen, (2003), argue that people in groups are like to confront one another while; other may decide to play domination, cold war, or avoid each other. Additionally, some may decide to compromise while some may decide to collaborate with the antagonists. However, Simons, &, Randall (2000, pp. 102-111) argues that the most common way that groups deal with conflict is through corporative and assertive techniques that will help each party pursue a mutually benefiting option. This is called collaborating. Both parties agree with each other in order without comprising (Weingart, &, Karen, 2003; Tony, &, Randall, 2000).

Compromising is also another way that antagonists can solve conflict arising within the groups. For example, each party is made to seek the middle ground in which they agree to use some of their rights or demand for the sake of the greater good (Simons, &, Randall, 2000, pp. 102-111).

Both these must be done in the context of a groups whereby an arbitrator, mediator or negotiator to help the two parties agree to a simple and effective solution to conflict. Finlay conflict resolution must be done n three-district strep. The first step is to identify and define the situation, the second step is to determine the other possible alternatives to solving the conflict, and the third step is to made decision based on the finds about the consequence and impact of each alternatives (Weingart, &, Karen, 2003).

Simons, T, &, Randall S, (2000). "Task Conflict and Relationship Conflict in Top Management Teams: The Pivotal Role of Intragroup Trust". Journal of Applied Psychology. 85.1, pp. 102-111

Weingart, L, &, Karen A, (2003). “Manage Intra-Team Conflict Through Collaboration." The Blackwell Handbook of Principles of Organizational Behavior.


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