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Group Dynamics-definition, types of groups, objectives

The term group dynamics contain 2 terms group and dynamics. Group is basically a collectivity of two or more persons. Dynamics comes from the Greek word meaning force.



A group may be defined as a number of individuals who join together to achieve a goal. People join groups to achieve goals that cannot be achieved by them alone.                                                                                                                   Johnson & Johnson (2006)

A group may be defined as a number of individuals who join together to achieve a goal.


Psychological vs. Social organizations: A psychological group may be defined as one in which the two or more persons who are interdependent as each member’s nature influences every other person, members share an ideology and have common tasks. These include families, friendship circles, political clubs, work, educational, religious, neighborhood, and recreational groups.

The social groups may be defined as integrated system of interrelated psychological groups formed to accomplish a defined function or objective. A political party with its many local political clubs, friendship circles is the social organizations.

Formal vs. Informal organizations: Formal groups refer to those which are established under the legal or formal authority with the view to achieve a particular end result and the group is designated by the organizational structure, having work assignments establishing tasks. E.g. People making up the airline flight crew, trade unions.

Informal groups refer to the aggregate of the personal contacts and Interaction and the network of relationships among individuals obtained in the formal groups. These groups may take the form of the interest or friendship groups.

Primary vs. Secondary groups:The primary groups are characterized by small size, face to face interactions and intimacy among the members of the group. The examples are family groups, pay groups and neighborhood groups.

The secondary groups are characterized by large size and individual’s identification with the values and beliefs prevailing in them rather than actual interactions. E.g. occupational associations and ethnic groups.

Membership vs. Reference groups:The membership group is those where the individual actually belongs and reference group is one in which they would like to belong.

Command vs. Task groups: The command group is formed by subordinates reporting directly to the particular manager and is determined by the formal organizational chart. E.g. an assistant regional transport officer and his two transport supervisors form a command group.

The task groups are composed of people who work together to perform a task but involve a cross- command relationship. Its boundaries are not located within its immediate hierarchical superior. E.g. for finding out who was responsible for causing wrong medication order would require liaison between ward in charge, senior sisters and head nurse.

Interest vs. Friendship group: The interest group involves people who come together to accomplish a particular goal with which they are concerned .Office employees joining hands to go to vacation or get vacation schedule changed form an interest group.

The friendship group is formed by people having one or more common features. The people coming from a particular area or having same language to speak belong to a friendship group.


Formal organizational functions: These relates to basic mission attainment by the organization. The group completes the work, creates ideas and embraces all activities for which they are accountable.

Psychological Personal functions:The group formation facilitates psychological functioning, satisfaction of the needs, outlet for affiliation and helps in getting stability and enhancing the achievements.

Mixed or Multiple functions:The formal as well as informal both kinds of roles are taken up by the members of the group. The formal group can try to fulfill various psychological roles and leading to increased loyalty, commitment and energy for effective attainment of the administrative and organizational goals.


Group dynamics encompasses the dynamics of interaction pattern within the group, the manner in which decisions are made in the group, how work gets done, and how member’s needs are satisfied.

The interactions that influence the attitudes and behaviour of people when they are grouped with others through either choice or accidental circumstances.

The group dynamics include both the group content and the group processes.

  • Group content refers to the specific tasks, problems, topics, or conditions addressed by the group as a whole.
  • Group processes refers to the interaction between the group members. Process also refers to all of the factors that contribute to the group processes.
  • Both content and process occur simultaneously and are equally important.


It was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that the Research Centre for the group dynamics was founded in 1945 and later in 1948 was moved to the University of Michigan. It was founded by Kurt Lewin to study group decision, group productivity, group interaction, group cohesiveness and group communication. The underlying assumption was that the laws of the group behavior can be established independently of the goals or specific activities of group irrespective of the structure of the group. A variety of experiments later on by Herbert Spenser, Allport , Georg Simmel , put forward the concept of group dynamics as a technique of fostering the conciliation between individuals and groups with an idea to formulate principles which underlie group behavior , and devise principles of group decisions and actions.


    • To identify and analyze the social processes that impact on group development and performance.
    • To acquire the skills necessary to intervene and improve individual and group performance in an organizational context.
    • To build more successful organizations by applying techniques that provide positive impact on goal achievement.