After participation of this course, is the student able to...
1. ... analyse and intervene in concrete group problems based on theories of group dynamics;
2. … use observation and evaluate technological methods to systematically observe group processes;
3. … develop a training following the principles of experiential learning;
4. ... reflect on his/her personal role and functioning within groups.
In the end of the course has the student knowledge of/understanding in ...
5. ... theories from social psychology concerning group dynamic processes.
Connection to the work field
In most professional situations, people are required to collaborate within and between groups. Such collaboration, however, is often challenging. For instance, when employees of different groups and different interests have to collaborate (e.g., two departments within an organization), or when external circumstances that are demanding to the group (e.g., a group police officers who have to intervene at a beach party that has run completely out of control) negatively affect collaboration within the team. Challenges for efficient group collaboration also can emerge from within the group, for instance due to conflicts between group members, or leaders that want to change a troublesome group culture. Dealing with these challenges is important for group productivity, but also for the subjective wellbeing of its members. Social psychologists are frequently asked to address these, and the related transformation processes, for instance in the role of organization consultant, team leader, trainer, or as a third party in conflict situations.
In the present course you will learn how to recognize a diverse spectrum of intra- and intergroup processes—such as (sub)group formation, power relations, group conflict, and their consequences for wellbeing of group members, productivity, decision making and creativity—and will you be able to use this knowledge to design and execute concrete interventions. Apart from obtaining theoretical knowledge about group dynamic processes, the focus of the course is to apply this knowledge in practice and create group dynamic- and intervention skills. The basis for learning these skills is the learning model of experiential learning introduced by David Kolb (1984).
In a small group with fellow students you will actively participate in seven training sessions of half a day each. Please note that 100% attendance of these sessions is a prerequisite to pass this course. Together with a subgroup of students you will train the other students on one specific topic, based on a training guide that you design on forehand. During the course you will write a reflection report and at the end take an exam, testing your theoretical knowledge in group dynamic processes.