Group Dynamics and the Public Sphere

Group Dynamics

Is a group larger than the sum of its parts?

The basic assumption of group dynamics is that there are characteristics of the group that cannot be reduced to the behavior of individual group members. In other words, the group has a personality of its own. We can see how this works when we consider that groups persist even after the individual members change. Individual group members may come and go, but the characteristics of the group continue. In effect, this is what is meant by culture; the norms and values and customs of the group—be it an institution, a society, an ethnic group, a religious group, or a corporation—exist apart from the individual members. This is not to say that groups do not change or that individual members do not matter, but that groups can develop an enduring identity and character that is independent of individual members.


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