The Group in Society meets the challenges of teaching courses on small groups by revealing the full complexity of small groups and their place in society. It shows students the value of learning how to carefully study a group's history and context, rather than merely learning a fixed set of group participation skills. This text brings together disparate theories and research (from communication, social psychology, organizational and managerial studies, and sociology) in a way that helps students make sense of a complex body of scholarship on groups.

Features & Benefits

Part I – Theorizing Groups: builds a strong theoretical foundation, exploring social theory and the group, forming and joining groups, the life and death of the group, and changing society through group life; Part II – Understanding Groups in Context: explores the histories, purposes, memberships of a variety of groups—including juries, families, executive committees, study groups, and political action groups—thus enabling the student reader to speak clearly about group formation, norms, roles, tasks, and relationships. Detailed end-of-chapter case studies explicitly connect with the concepts, theories, and empirical findings introduced in each respective chapter; examples include the powerful group bonds of the modern terrorist cell; the wired network of groups in the anti-Globalization movement; and the deliberation of a jury in a murder trial

Teaching & Learning Ancillaries

Teaching resources are available at and include chapter summaries, discussion questions, and practical applications; a sample course schedule; Embedded Systems Framework PowerPoint slides; group project assignments, group project worksheets, and a group project description and contract; and links to useful Web resources such as small group teaching resources and active wikis on small groups; An open-access student study site at features e-flashcards, practice quizzes, and other resources to help students enhance their comprehension and improve their grade.

Establishing Discussion Procedures

Establishing discussion procedures

Archetypes do not always represent an ideal to which we might aspire. Role archetypes in fiction and film include the Evil Genius and the Psychopath, and the most notorious archetype among small groups is the insulated council or committee that devolves into a self-destructive process called groupthink. The term plays on the language in George Orwell's classic novel 1984, in which a totalitarian government (“Big Brother”) required its citizens to use the truncated “Newspeak” language and engage in such mindless practices as “doublethink” (holding contradictory beliefs without experiencing any cognitive dissonance). In 1952, three years after Orwell's novel appeared, social commentator William Whyte Jr. complained, “Groupthink is becoming a national philosophy.” He coined the term to describe “rationalized conformity—an open, ...

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