Small Groups as Complex Systems: Formation, Coordination, Development, and Adaptation / Edition 1

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Overview

What are groups? How do they behave? Arrow, Mc Grath, and Berdahl answer these questions by developing a general theory of small groups as complex systems. Basing their theory on concepts distilled from general systems theory, dynamical systems theory, and complexity and chaos theory, they explore groups as adaptive, dynamic systems that are driven by interactions among group members as well as between the group and its embedding contexts. In addition, they consider not only the group’s members and their distribution of attributes, but also the group’s tasks and technology in order to understand how those members, tasks, and tools are intertwined, coordinated, and adjusted. Throughout the book, the authors focus our attention on relationships among people, tools, and tasks that are activated by a combination of individual and collective purposes and goals that change and evolve as the group interacts over time.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803972308
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 3/21/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Arrow has two major research interests. The first is the formation and development of small groups as complex dynamic systems. The second is the psychology of war, in particular the evolution of social capacities that help men and women cope with the challenges to survival and reproductive success posed by war. Topics of recent papers include gender relations in the military, the evolution of heroism, the role of friendship in dissolving the social anxiety of outgroup interactions, sources of cohesion in groups of different sizes, and using complexity to improve the effectiveness of groups inhealth care.

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Table of Contents

PART ONE: ORIENTATION, HISTORY AND OVERVIEW OF THE THEORY
Introduction
Small Group Research
The Past and Some Needs for the Future
Groups as Complex Systems
Overview of the Theory
PART TWO: THE THEORY IN DETAIL
Group Formation
Assembly and Emergence
Local Dynamics
Coordinating Members, Tasks and Tools
Global Dynamics
Stability and Change within the Group System
Contextual Dynamics
Adaptation of the Group to Multiple Embedding Contexts
Metamorphosis
Endings and Transformations
PART THREE: ISSUES AND STRATEGIES
Implications of Our Theory for Constructing a Research Program
Some Research Strategies for Studying Groups as Complex Systems

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