Known Attributes of the Human Group Dynamic

  • Collective Understanding
  • Greater Solution Sets
  • Slowed Decision-Making Abilities
  • Groupthink
  • Blurred Hierarchy, Organization

“Group dynamics” is the scientific term for how a group of humans works together in a group as opposed to individually or separately. At this point, science has come to understand many of the ins and outs of working in groups, and the information gleaned therein has been very helpful to organizations and private endeavors alike. Here are five of the known qualities proven to exist and play a key role within the human group dynamic.

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1. Collective Understanding

Being “on the same page” is essentially the same as coming to a “collective understanding.” In reaching a collective understanding, the entire group comes to share a view and then gains the advantage of collective direction, motivation, opinions, and the like. This can be exceptionally helpful in virtually any organization and can ultimately be utilized in many practices and functions of that organization.

2. Potential for Greater Solution Sets

The old adage about two minds being greater than one is often true in group dynamic situations. One way in which this benefit manifests is in the ultimate creation of better and greater solution sets. By having a whole group of minds working cooperatively on finding a way around a problem, as opposed to just one, there is an associated greater likelihood of finding more viable solutions to that given problem.

3. Slowed Decision-Making Abilities

Now, let’s look to some of the noted drawbacks that can come with the group dynamic. Slowed decision-making is perhaps the most well-known and understood drawback to utilizing a group of thinkers for a singular purpose. While indeed greater solutions may be found, using a group to come to consensus can ultimately slow things down dramatically. Even a single member in disagreement with the rest of the group can substantially halt forward progress.

4. Potential for “Groupthink”

“Groupthink” is a fairly new term used in psychology and sociology to describe one of the other shortcomings of the group dynamic. As Psychology Today explains, groupthink occurs when a group with a particular agenda makes irrational or problematic decisions because its members value harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation. So, while group members in this situation take on an otherwise positive concern for harmony among fellow members, this ends up derailing fruitful group productivity in the end.

5. Potential for Blurred Hierarchy, Organization

One often unforeseen element attached to any group is that of power, hierarchy, and organization. A group without hierarchy and effective organization will often fail to produce as they were originally intended. However, taking the time to set up and maintain a functional hierarchy system can become its own, large and resource-demanding matter. As a result, the hierarchical element in the group dynamic can often lead to considerable distraction from the core goal at-hand.

In the end, the group dynamic can absolutely be utilized to solve problems and further cement the bonds of a particular group of people. However, the group approach also carries with it some potential flaws that are worthy of some additional consideration. These are the basics of group dynamics as so-far understood by science and study.