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Dynamical Systems Approach

The dynamical systems approach views groups as systems in which collective behavior arises from the flow of information and mutual influence among members. This approach to studying groups uses concepts and methods from systems, chaos, catastrophe, and complexity theories. A dynamic system (a general term) is any system that changes over time. A dynamical system (a more technical term) is any system whose current state provides a basis for predicting its state in the immediate future. The dynamical systems approach is particularly useful for understanding how groups change over time, whether that means short time spans of minutes and hours or longer periods of weeks, months, and years. Change includes small fluctuations, rhythmic cycles, and both abrupt and gradual departures from prior patterns.

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