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Small Group: Group Formation Essay

1482 words - 6 pages

Humans need interaction with one another; however, whether a person joins a group is largely dependant on number of variables such as 'personal traits, social motives and gender' (Forsyth, 1999, p. 116). There are distinct traits and qualities in individuals who seek out membership in groups and those who avoid it.My sister and I are like chalk and cheese; our personalities are at either ends of the continuum. While my sister is quiet, soft spoken and thrives on her time alone, myself on the other hand love the company of others and I feel energised when I am surrounded by groups of people. Over the years, I have engaged in number of 'groups' such as youth groups, orchestra, art groups, ...view middle of the document...

94). It is suggested that when people with social anxiety and shyness do join group, they are well recognisable due to their 'lack of participation, silence, downcast eyes and low speaking voice' (Leary, as cited in Forsyth, 1999, p. 94).Another factor that may contribute to why an individual would join a group may be due to interpersonal needs. In contrast to personality theorists, motivational theorists argue that individuals have social needs such as the need for affiliation, intimacy and power that needs to be satisfied. Thus motivating individuals to seek out certain groups to fulfil those particular desires. Schutz (1958, 1992) integrates the basic need for affiliation, intimacy, and power in his Fundamental Interpersonal Orientation theory (FIRO) corresponding them with inclusion, affection and control. Each of the dimensions is evident in two ways in the way group interacts as Schutz argues- 'the way we treat other people and how we want others to treat us' (Forsyth, 1999, p.92). In summary, Schutz believed that individuals joining groups offered a way to satisfy the basic needs of inclusion, affection and control.'In general, then, the greater the intensity of these needs in any given individual, the more likely that person is to take steps to create, or seek out membership in a group' (Schutz, 1958, 1992, as cited in Forsyth, 1999, p. 93)So who joins groups? From the findings, people who uphold extrovert personalities, with low levels of social anxiety and shyness is more likely to engage in groups than of people with introvert personalties with high levels of social anxiety and shyness. Furthermore, if an individual has a high need for either affiliation, intimacy and control than the individual will seek groups that will sustain those 'needs'. Gender difference also differentiates men and women on the types of groups they engage in. While men occupy themselves with larger, formal and professional groups, women engage in groups where they have smaller but more intimate groups (Forsyth, 1999, p. 116).As humans go though development from infancy to childhood to adolescence to adulthood over time, groups too, can be identified with a lifecycle with a beginning, middle and an end (Forsyth, 1999, p. 155). Although there are number of theories surrounding group development, Tuckman's five- stage process is most identified with and many researchers use this paradigm as the basis (Forsyth, 1999; Keyton, 1999) to understand much of groups behaviour. Bale's equilibrium model is also recognized as a model for group development however; in this essay Tuckman's model will be the emphasis as we study the stages most groups typically pass through as they develop over time.Bruce Tuckman, a psychologist in the 1960's, identified and described group development typically in five stages, which consisted of 'forming', 'storming', 'norming', 'performing' and 'adjourning' -giving each stage a memorable name and building a good framework to understand what...

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