Trace the history of group dynamics

The history of group dynamics (or group processes) has a consistent, underlying premise: 'the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.' A social group is an entity, which has qualities that cannot be understood just by studying the individuals that make up the group. In 1924, Gestalt psychologist, Max Wertheimer identified this fact, stating ‘There are entities where the behavior of the whole cannot be derived from its individual elements nor from the way these elements fit together; rather the opposite is true: the properties of any of the parts are determined by the intrinsic structural laws of the whole’ (Wertheimer 1924, p. 7).

As a field of study, group dynamics has roots in both psychology and sociology. Wilhelm Wundt (1832–1920), credited as the founder of experimental psychology, had a particular interest in the psychology of communities, which he believed possessed phenomena (human language, customs, and religion) that could not be described through a study of the individual. On the sociological side, Émile Durkheim (1858–1917), who was influenced by Wundt, also recognized collective phenomena, such as public knowledge.

Other key theorists include Gustave Le Bon (1841–1931) who believed that crowds possessed a 'racial unconscious' with primitive, aggressive, and antisocial instincts, and William McDougall (psychologist), who believed in a 'group mind,' which had a distinct existence born from the interaction of individuals.

Ultimately, it was social psychologist Kurt Lewin (1890–1947) who coined the term group dynamics to describe the positive and negative forces within groups of people. In 1945, he established The Group Dynamics Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the first institute devoted explicitly to the study of group dynamics. Throughout his career,

Lewin was focused on how the study of group dynamics could be applied to real-world, social issues. An increasing amount of research has applied evolutionary psychology principles to group dynamics. Humans are argued to have evolved in an increasingly complicated social environment and to have many adaptations concerned with group dynamics. Examples includes mechanisms for dealing with status, reciprocity, identifying cheaters, ostracism, altruism, group decision, leadership, and intergroup relations.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_dynamics

Who are the proponents of group dynamics? Group- A group is a number of things or persons being in some relation to one another.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group

Group Process- Group process refers to how an organization's members work together to get things done.

Typically, organizations spend a great deal of time and energy setting and striving to reach goals, but give little consideration to what is happening between and to the group's greatest resource - its members. While working hard to achieve results, it is critical that members' needs be addressed. Membership in an organization is as much an opportunity to develop self confidence, refine skills and make friends as it is to support a cause, fundraise or educate the campus community. All of these can be done simultaneously, but most likely will not just happen on their own.

Group process can occur from within the group, outside of the group and anytime of year. Effective organizations take a close look at how members work together, which roles they fill and whether members are contributing equally. Through group process, observation and analysis can help identify problems early, thus alleviating the need for a major overhaul as the year progresses. Your vantage point as a group member provides a great opportunity to regularly observe how things are going. Depending on the frequency of meetings and an understanding of what to look for, you can be instrumental in ensuring group and individual success.

Elements of an organization which typically influence group proceedings include communication, participation, decision making and role fulfillment. When observing these specific areas you will likely see several things happening simultaneously. This is to be expected, but it can also be rather confusing. Initially, you may want to isolate a single aspect of the group. As you become more adept at observation, you can gradually increase your areas of focus.

Source http://leadership.uoregon.edu/resources/exercises_tips/skills/understanding_group_process

Group Dynamics- Group dynamics refers to a system of behaviours and psychological processes occurring within a social group (intragroup dynamics), or between social groups (intergroup dynamics). The study of group dynamics can be useful in understanding decision-making behaviour, tracking the spread of diseases in society, creating effective therapy techniques, and following the emergence and popularity of new ideas and technologies.[1] Group dynamics are at the core of understanding racism, sexism, and other forms of social prejudice and discrimination. These applications of the field are studied in psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, education, social work, business, and communication.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_dynamics

Feedback- Feedback is a process in which information about the past or the present influences the same phenomenon in the present or future. As part of a chain of cause-and-effect that forms a circuit or loop, the event is said to "feed back" into itself. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feedback