is by nature a social animal, and an individual who is unsocial
naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice
or more than human. Society is something in nature that precedes
the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life
or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore
does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. .
. . . . . .. . . . Aristotle,
Instinct of Gregariousness
Aristotle's famous quote suggests that we are,
by our vary nature, herd animals: driven by an unrecognized,
pervasive, biological predisposition to join together with other
members of our species.
McDougall, in his An Introduction to Social
Psychology, 1908, argued that a "herd instinct" drives
us to join others.
are often told that the dullness of the country drives
the people to the towns. But that statement inverts the truth.
It is the crowd in the towns, the vast human herd, that exerts
a baneful attraction on those outside it. (p. 303).
or evolutionary psychology, is our modern instinct view of
groups. It stresses the extraordinary advantages of sociality
over isolation. Benifits in terms of reproduction (finding
mates), avoiding predation, gathering food, social facilitation,
division of labor, and the like. Like ants, termites, babboons,
and dogs, we gather in groups because the advantages we accrue.
Needs and Sociality
in Group psychology and the analysis of ego, in 1922
(actually Massenpsychologie), Freud states
that being a member of a group satisfies basic psychological
needs and desires.
an aside, he notes that these ties
are no longer sexual in nature: "We are concerned here
with love instincts which have been diverted from their original
aims, though they do not operate with less energy on that
(1938) needs approach
Maslow's (1962) infamous hierarchy of needs includes ones
that are relevant to social living
Provisions and Functionality
approaches suggest that group life is preferred over solitude
because groups supply the resources, or provisions, we need
for social existence. Relevant
provisions work of Shaver and
Buhrmeister (1973) that draws a distinction between psychological
intimacy and integrated involvement.
(1980) SYMLOG theory that highlights dominance/submission,
positive/negative, and socioemotional/task orientation
distinctions between social and emotional loneliness
and Shils (1951) theory of action that stresses adaptation,
goal-attainment, integration, and pattern-maintenance.
(1978) distinction between task and socioemotional leadership.
FIRO model that stressesthe need for control, inclusion,
factors model that examines therapeutic resources that
groups provide their members.
Big Five Functions of Groups
provide the opportunity for contact and relationships with
other individuals in an organized social network; gregariousness,
other-oriented, social, belongingness; promotes general
communication and social interaction among people; the group
might be an organized one. Match to other theories:
stage of group development
you feel that you belong in the group?
you feel ignored when you are in the group?
the group accept you?
other members make you feel your aren't welcome?
the group too often exclude you?
you interact in meaningful ways with the people in the group?
other members try to ostracize you from the group?
you feel like an outsider when you are in the group?
the group help you feel that you belong to it?
the opportunity for warm, supportive, loving relationships
with others; friendships, cohesive work groups, families.
Positive socioemotional actions
you feel safe and secure in this group?
the members of the group dislike you?
the members emotionally distant from you?
group members behave in a kind-hearted fashion toward you?
group members distrust you?
members care about you?
the members of the group like you?
the group members emotionally close to you?
group members sometimes unkind toward you?
you say that the members of the group are your good friends?
Provides the opportunity for productivity, achievement,
success, control of resources; task-orientation
you get more done with the group rather than without the
you value the work the group does?
you more productive as a result of being in the group?
you focus more on leisure than productivity when in the
it important for the group to get things done?
your group rarely strive for success?
you socialize in the group more than try to be productive?
you get little accomplished when you are in the group?
the group assist you in getting your tasks accomplished?
(neuroticism or stability): Provides
the individual with the means to increase stability or decrease
anxiety; minimizes self-doubt, tension, vulnerability, insecurity,
and self-pity while increasing self-esteem, relaxation,
hardiness, safety, and self- satisfaction; tension reduction,
a basis for self-esteem and identity.
negative socioemotional behaviors
phase of group development
the group a source of stress for you and the members?
the group increase your conflicts and tensions?
the group give you encouragement when you need it?
the group sometimes threaten your sense of self-worth?
the group increase your sense of calm?
group members too often let you down when you need their
the group help you cope with life's stresses?
membership in this group a source of worry for you?
the group provide you with emotional support?
(openness or intelligence):
Provides the opportunity for creativity, refinement of ideas,
self-improvement, increased understanding of self and others,
improved interpersonal relations
this group a source of useful information for you?
the group generally oppose your new ideas?
the group inspire you to try and learn new things?
the group make your future seem brighter?
the group include role models for you?
the group encourage you to think creatively?
the group fail to provide standards for you?
you think you are more imaginative as a result of being
in the group?
members of your group express a narrow range of interests?
you say that most people in your group are creative?
you an influential member of this group?
you sometimes take charge in the group?
you feel powerful when you are in this group?
people in this group look to you for leadership and guidance?
you exercise control over what happens in the group?
you relatively uninfluential in this group?
you a member rather than a leader of the group?
you watch and respond more than act and direct in the group?
this group sometimes cause you to change?
- Functions of
initial goal of the research effort was the identification
of the basic functions groups fulfill for their members.
Measurement of such functions is made difficult by individuals'
lack of awareness of their needs.
- Structure of
"functions of groups" list (inclusion, intimacy, generativity,
stability, and adaptability, power) asks individuals to
rate their group's ability to meet basic needs. A "functional
structure of groups" list would ask individuals (who may
be uninvolved observers) to rate the group on six qualities
(inclusiveness, intimacy, generativity, stability, adaptability,
power) that will determine its ability to meet the basic
X Group fit. People
join groups to satisfy five basic needs, including the need
for inclusion, the need for intimacy, the need for achievement,
the need for social support and stability, the need for
intellectual and creative development, and the need for
power. The magnitude of these needs varies across people.
basic processes that operate in groups across time can be
identified: inclusion (who is in, who is out, what are the
boundaries), intimacy (how cohesive are we, sociometric
structure), generativity (task), individual member adjustment
and stability (interpersonal dynamics), adaptation (change
in individual members), and power (conflict and influence).
Although only heuristic, groups develop through six essential
stages: inclusion, growth of intimacy, increasing work orientation,
support, individual-member change, and conflict (power).
The stages are forming, warming, performing, supporting,
transforming, and storming.
vary across the dimensions. Some will provide for inclusion
only (individuals seated at a bar), others will meet all
the functions (extremely cohesive research and development
group). Consideration of where the group falls on each characteristic
provides the means of typing each group examined.
Why so social an animal? was translated into a new question
"What do groups do for their members?". The Answer:
They accept them
They help them
them with information
They supply them