Full course description
Groups are an essential aspect of everyday life. Individuals’ actions, thoughts and emotions cannot be fully understood without taking the groups they belong to and that surround them into consideration. In that sense, any psychologist benefits from a deeper understanding of groups and their dynamics. Moreover, much of the world’s work is done and most impactful decisions are made in and by groups, making it essential to understand how group processes shape performance and decision making. Finally, the quality of relations in and between groups can have a tremendous impact on people and society. Therefore, it is essential understanding these dynamics and how to improve them.
In this course, students will learn about various aspects of group dynamics. To achieve this, a recent edition of an excellent book supplemented with other learning material will be read. Additionally, lectures are provided to demonstrate and deepen the understanding of group phenomena. In tutorial meetings, students will facilitate exercises that promote a deeper processing of the read materials and improve group-analysis and group-management skills. Finally, students will work together on a paper analysing group behaviour in a realistic setting of choice as well as their own group’s development throughout the course. This should improve students’ ability to understand and manage groups and their dynamics.
The intended learning outcomes of this course are threefold:
- deeper knowledge and understanding of theories, studies and empirical findings pertinent to groups. Essential topics include inclusion, cohesion, power, leadership, group performance, decision-making, teamwork, conflict, intergroup relations, and collective behaviour;
- broader outlook on determinants of behaviour. Students of this course should learn to consider more complex interpersonal and group level processes as determinants of behaviours, thoughts and emotions in addition to regular individual level determinants;
- improved group analysis skills and the ability to use these in practice. Students practice analyzing groups and group behaviour with using exercises in tutorials. They practice group management by facilitating exercises.