Possess a common social identification Two or more people possessing a common social identification and whose existence as a group is recognized by a third party. The process of becoming part of a group often provokes anxiety. The reconnaissance Process occurs before entering the group. A common motivation underlying this activity is an assessment of the rewards and costs associated with joining the group. Group Processes and Structures One of the most elementary aspects of group formation may be the experience of common fate, the perception that ones outcomes are bound up with those of others. An even stronger form of interdependence is that shaped by the task goals of the group.
Where these bring people into a positive relationship with one another then cooperation, cohesion and enhanced group performance are likely. Negative interdependence on the other hand leads to competition, reduced liking for others in the group and usually lower performance. As the group develops, the roles to be occupied by individuals emerge and develop This process of role differentiation emerges where there is a new group one individual may assume the task-leadership role other may emerge as well. Where the group has been in existence for some time and a member of the group leaves a newcomer may be specifically assigned to take over the role. This division of labour will contribute to peoples identities.
As the group developed so also do the expectations members have about what rules and procedures might be appropriate to develop. This is the process of the establishment of group norms. Group members enjoy different amounts of power and prestige which gives rise status hierarchies in groups. Such status differences can generate expectations for group members behaviour. Closely tied to status differentiation are social comparison processes through which individuals can make appraisals of their abilities. Festinger social comparison theory.
Group Cohesiveness Group cohesiveness relates to the way in which members of a group hang together: how tightly or how loosely knit it is: what degree of mutual support or uniformity of behaviour there is. Where there is very low cohesiveness, a collection of individuals almost ceases to be a group. Cohesiveness can be defined in terms of attractiveness of the group to its members and the attractiveness of members of the group to each other, and the degree to which the group satisfies the goal of individual members and acts on those members. (Festinger) Group decision making Given that one of the most important functions which groups perform is that of decision-making. Davies in a model called social decisions schemes has related the strictness of the rules adopted in discussions leading to the forming of decisions to the concentration of power. This is a mathematical approach which attempts to stimulate various possible methods of combining individual contribution to the group decisionTuckmans developmental model explains how groups approach decision making FORMING: Getting acquainted.
Breaking down of interpersonal barriers. STORMING: Interpersonal disagreements arise people begin to adopt roles, certain types of roles are created. Conflict is generated and if not resolved a search may be made for a scapegoat. NOR MING: Differentiation into roles continues. Status hierarchy may be made which is regularized through norms.
PERFORMING: Roles and norms now clearly established When groups make decisions on such judgmental tasks they early always exhibit polarization: the collective view is more extreme than the average of individual opinions in the same direction. The three explanations of group polarization is social comparison, persuasive arguments theory and social identity. Groups can sometimes make bad decisions by not considering all the relevant information and not appraising the full range of options. Janis called this group think and believed that it is caused by a cohesive group being led by an over-direct.