This module aims to help you understand the complex ways in which we behave in groups. We are all members of a group of some sort, whether it be our family, our colleagues, other members of our faith, or just a collection of people with whom – for whatever reason and for however brief a time – we align ourselves to. In this module we will explore the reasons that groups come together and are held together, and what can split them apart.
We will start by looking at what makes a group; the definition of a group and the importance of its members: individual people who have come together to make something that is more than the sum of its parts.
We will then go on to look at how we operate within our groups, as well as the relationship between groups (intergroup dynamics). This leads us to our final learning section on 'intergroup conflict', which explores the ways in which different groups can clash with each other and why this occurs.
It is hoped that by the end of the module you will have learnt about what draws us to groups, and some of the dynamics within, and between groups. As Foulkes (the founder of group analysis) identified, the individual is social through and through and can never be completely without social or group ties (Foulkes, 1948).
The completion of this module may leave you contemplating the groups you identify with, and perhaps able to make more sense of some of the feelings or struggles you may have encountered as a group member.