The concept, features, characteristics, structure and types of small groups in social psychology

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daily every person, regardless of age, preferences, interests, social status and living in contact with other people at work, at school, among relatives, friends, acquaintances and sometimes even strangers.Form different relationships, social connections and contacts.People are united in interest groups, professional expertise and other characteristics.Either way communication with others directly affects the formation of personality and positioning of a particular individual in a social activity.Knowledge of certain psychological basis of formation of groups can help a person to choose their surroundings.Professionals psychologists such information is necessary to create favorable conditions in the working team, and the head will help to effectively organize appointments, monitor the activities of interpersonal employees.Today, we will share information about what are the kinds of small groups and what are their characteristics.

What is the psychology of a small group?

In psychology, a small group called the union of a small number of people who have a single connecting link for all participants, there are any common social ties and joint activities.Such aggregate formed in each community.Forms small groups in social psychology are distinguished by the method of formation: artificial or natural means.

over the question of what is the number of participants should be in such small associations, psychologists and sociologists discuss worldwide.Some experts argue that the creation of a small group of only two people.Others, meanwhile, believe that the kinds of relationships in small group, consisting of a dyad (two people), very different, they have their own characteristics, different from the signs of a small association of people.Therefore, supporters of such assumptions prove the view that the minimum number of participants in the small group must be 3 people.

Even more controversy arises over the maximum number of people in small groups.In the works of different researchers can detect the number 10, 12 or even 40. In the writings of the famous psychiatrist Jacob Levi Moreno, who was actively engaged in the problem of social groups, indicated the maximum number of participants in a small group.In his opinion, it is 50 people.But the best is the formation of associations of 10-12 participants.It is noted that in communities with a large number of people more likely to occur splits, thus the formation of new types of small groups.

Distinguishing features

To determine the collection of a small number of people as a small group, it is necessary the presence of certain distinctive features:

  1. Regular meetings participants.
  2. formation of a common goal, objectives.
  3. General activity.
  4. Availability structure definition of a leader, a leader.
  5. definition of the roles and activities of each participant.
  6. formation of internal interpersonal relations in the group.
  7. Education rules, traditions, norms within a small group.

natural formation of a small group

almost always occurs in large collectives inadvertent division of participants into smaller number of associations.Concept and types of small groups, which were formed naturally, determined by analysis of the distinctive features and characteristics.Divided people Interests, life position, psychological compatibility and so on.Such associations are called informal.

Each environment has its own particular division of group members.This should be considered the leaders and organizers of such communities as the formation of small groups affects the ability to work and the general atmosphere in the team.For example, for effective training activities in the children's collective should take into account that the composition of the groups informally created small changes literally every day, change the status and role of the participants.Such an association may exist, under the guidance of an adult leader.Among children of different ages leader should win an impeccable reputation.

The informal professional teams for the success of the organization must also be a reasonable head.Uncontrolled union workers in various types of small groups can sometimes adversely affect the company.Summarize people can dissatisfaction participants leadership, working conditions and other things that will lead to strikes, mass dismissals.Therefore, in large companies, where the given time and funds are allocated on the psychology of personnel, working full-time psychologist.One of the tasks of such a specialist is to identify associations of workers in the team and the determination of their orientation, activities.With the right approach, such groups can be used to improve the performance of the company.

formal group

There are formal types of small social groups.The features of this team is that people are united not so much by desires and preferences, as necessary, the status and professional qualifications.For formal small groups include, for example, the unification of the administrative board of the company.

can be formed at the same time, to exist and interact with formal and informal types of small groups in the organization.Before managers and psychologists the task of implementing the activities of such groups in public order, for the development of the company.


small groups Small groups perform important functions in the development and formation of the individual and the team as a whole.Psychologists are the following features that are identical, no matter what kinds of small social groups exist in a particular association of people:

  1. socialization.Starting with the youngest aged man learns to communicate with others, formed preferences and attitudes, character, place in society.
  2. expressive function is to identify a particular individual in a small group, his place in it.Thus formed self-esteem, personal professional qualities, to realize the need for human promotion and approval.
  3. Instrumental function allows an individual to perform the selected activity.
  4. function psychological assistance is to support participants in overcoming life and professional difficulties.There have been studies that have shown that the participants in small groups turn to colleagues more often than relatives.To explain this phenomenon may be that the individual does not wish to injure and loaded their problems of loved ones.While a small group, participants can listen, give advice, but do not take to heart the information, leaving intact the personal space of the individual.

Types and functions of small groups depend on the choice of goals and objectives, focus of social activity such associations.

classification of small groups

On what grounds is classified a small group?Forms small groups, their performance characteristics determined by the analysis of certain indicators.

finely dividing cells such social does not exist.Psychologists developed a recommendation on the classification of such groups.Below is revealing the types of small groups table.

Signs classification Types
By the method of education

1. Informal

2. Formal

The form

1. Real

2. Contingent

By type of joint activities

1. Practical

2. Aesthetic

3. Ideological

4. Social

5. Political

6. Hedonic (general partner)

7. Communication and other

social significance

1. Positive

2. Antisocial

3. Antisocial

structure types and structure of a small group of closely linked.Depending on what kind formed small units forming the internal structure of the community.It is an internal communication, social, emotional and psychological ties between individuals participating.Classify the structure as follows:

  1. sociometric type is based on interpersonal preferences and dislikes.
  2. communicative type is determined by the flow of information within the group, means of communication between the parties.
  3. Role structure is the distribution of positions and activities among the members of the small group.Thus, the group is divided between those who make decisions and those who operate and maintain the action.

Relations between small groups of participants

problem of interpersonal relationships among a small group of people dedicated to the many psychological and social works, studies and experiments.Generalizing knowledge, the following types of relationships in small group: formal and informal.In the first case cooperation is clearly regulated by legal acts: have a boss and subordinate.

In the second case is much more complicated.Here, thanks to the personal qualities, a certain individual becomes the unofficial leader of the group.Such relations are not governed by anything other than sympathy for other members of the small group.This position is often quite unstable: there may be several leaders, such a complete lack of competition between the parties, the reluctance to take part and put forward other problems in communication and the distribution of social roles.

Do not underestimate the role of informal relations.Often these alliances lead to changes in formal community leaders.

What is the status of the individual in a small group?

Everyone in society, and in a team in particular has a certain status.In order to determine it is necessary to answer the question: who is this man?At birth, can be assigned, for example, race and gender.The status can be acquired or achieved, for example, a doctor or a philosopher.

determine the status of the individual in the group can use sociometric methods.In educational institutions, workers' organizations often conduct surveys in which questions are asked about the personal relationship of some members of the group to another.Conducted mostly in the form of cards, questionnaires, or filled with a matrix, where scale is an indication of the level of sympathy for another person.For example, asked to name a classmate who enjoys the greatest authority in the classroom.On the basis of the responses by using a specially designed key defines opinion leaders, artists and other statute.

When choosing means and methods of psychological studies of social roles in a team of specialists is essential for the reliability of the results to take into account what kinds of small groups taking part in the survey.

leadership concept in a small group

actively challenge of leading psychologists and began to engage scientists in the early twentieth century.Why some people are free to lead others?What qualities must have and what you need to do?Unfortunately, until now the precise answers to these questions so no one gave.One person can become a leader in certain circumstances and in a particular group of people, while in the other group it is completely lost, and will perform unobtrusive role.For example, the leader of a sports team can not always adequately express themselves in a group of intellectuals.Therefore, the leader - rather, it is the person who correctly weighed the possibilities, identify goals and ways of solving problems in specific circumstances.There

psychological works, which explored the necessary personal qualities of the leader.The most popular method is the "big five" R. Hogan, which shows the 5 most important features of a person who claims to leadership in the team.

What is the role of the leader in the small group of people?It is easy to conclude that the director - a person who is under positive conditions lead the team to achieve their goals, while the negative not only can not achieve the desired results of the group, but also to completely destroy it as such.

management in small groups

the purpose of ordering the implementation of the goals and objectives of improvement, development and achievement by a small group to manage.How can it perform?No matter what kinds of small groups were formed, in social psychology to distinguish between several styles of leadership:

  1. authoritarian style is the leader pronounced advantage over the other members of the group who are just performers.
  2. Liberal style involves collective activities of each and every member of the band.
  3. democratic style is the leader directs the parties to certain actions, coordinating and negotiating process with each participant.

In summary, it can be noted that the types of small groups in psychology - the notion of imprecise, changing under the influence of external factors and conditions.But the head of the team of any kind should be attentive to the formation of both formal and informal internal groups.Since these groups when properly targeted approach can ensure the development of the whole team, lead to an improvement in working and effective implementation of problems.