Factors to consider when creating class groups

Schaefer defines a group as any number of people with similar norms, values and expectations, who interact with one another on regular basis. Aronson and others (2007) define a group as two or more people who interact and are interdependent in the sense that their needs and goals cause them to influence each other.
Baron, Byrne and Branscombe 2006 define groups as a collection of people who are perceived to be bounded together in a coherent unit to some extent.
Social psychologists refer to this property or bounded together or coherence –as- trait of group as entiativity. Therefore, entiativity is the extent to which a group is perceived as being a coherent entity .Entiativity has a wide range, from mere collections of people to collections of highly intimate relationships as a family or between lovers. If entiativity is high/strong, then we say we have a true group. According to Lickel and others, 2000, group high in entiativity show the following characteristics:
1 The group is important to its member.
2 Members share common goals and outcomes.
3 They are similar to each other in many important ways; religion, values/ norms, attitudes etc.
4 It is when groups have these characteristics that they are considered as real groups.
For a collection of people to be considered a group, the following conditions must be present;
1 That there must be interaction either directly or indirectly.
2 There must be interdependence in some regard in that what affects one must affect the others to some extent.
3 The relationship must be relatively stable therefore it must persist over some period of time hours, days, weeks, years etc.
4 The individuals involved must share some common norms and goals which they hope to achieve within a certain time frame.
5 Their interactions must be structured in some manner so that each time the group meet, each member preforms the same or similar functions. For example leaders/followers.
6 The member must perceive themselves as belonging to or as part of the group. In other words they must recognize the existence or a connectedness and a relationship with others.
It is in this regard that Baron and Byrne 1991 conclude that, only when individuals have the opportunity to interact with others, perceive that their fates are somehow interdependent, share common goals and coordinate their actions to reach these, do they conclude that they belong to a functioning group .And only then is their behavior influenced by such membership so that they act differently than they would if operating as unrelated individual.
STEVEN PENROD has made the case that ‘groupness’ can be considered as a matter of degree at different levels. In this regard, he identified three distinguishable levels of groups. Namely;
AGGREGATE GROUPS – A collection of individuals with no social connection whatsoever. Examples, –
MINIMAL GROUPS. – a collection of individual that have at least some social connection although it may be weak – e. g audience at a concert, stadium , co-actors.
IDENTITY GROUPS. – the strongest form of group , important for the since of identity of those who belong to it. e.g. family , work groups religious associations.
Besides these specific definitions, several schools of thought exist on what constitute a group. One such school of thought explains the concept of group in relation to the length of time a group exists. The distinction looks at;
ADHOC GROUP(S)-these are temporary, created to meet a particular need are disbanded when the needs are met. Thus single occasion group which are disbanded after a purpose is achieve – e. g .student project work group (often the present of loafing)
IMPROMPTU GROUP (S)-these are created on the spur of the moment or just when the need arises (e. g rescue teams).
ON-GOING GROUP(S). These interact repeatedly over a period of time e. g. A board of trustee.
Groups can also be differentiated by their purpose. Example of these include:
TASK GROUP – They function to get a particular job done and all their activities are geared towards this end /outcome (committees).
SOCIAL GROUPS – These exist for the social interaction and enjoyment of their members.
Despite these classifications of task groups generally perform both (tasks/social) functions. Pursuing one at the expense of the other will not augur well for the group.
Some variables/principles/factors that promote group formation
PHISYCAL PROXIMITY: This makes the formation of a group more likely. Proximity is a powerful determinant of attraction .Thus, the closer an individual is, the easier it makes for attraction. If people who are geographically close share a common goal then they are likely to form a group.
SIMILARITY: Similarity has been found to influence group formation. It is a significant determinant of interpersonal attraction. Most groups have members who are alike in age, sex beliefs and opinions. That is group homogeneity. Two reasons account for group homogeneity: 1. Groups tend to attract people who are already similar before they join the group. 2. Groups tend to operate in ways which encourage similarity in members.
ANXIETY/STRESS. Individuals are also more likely to form groups in a more stressful situation. For example disaster victims working together as a group


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