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Elements of Group Processes and Minority Group Processes

A group of individuals may decide to come together in order to achieve a particular goal. The grouping of these individuals may bring quite strange fellows together and therefore needs some common knowledge of functionality so as to ensure they work together to achieve a particular goal that brought them together. Some of the group elements that are involved at each stage of group organization are the orienting the group to the basics of the group, group organization to accomplish the intended work, ensuring the information flow and problem solving (Lundgren 1971, p.291)

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In orienting the group, the group members need to know the purpose of coming together. This will help them define and specify the tasks needed to be accomplished, inform on the expectation of each group member as well as the overall expectations. They will also be able to analyze the work nature so as to fit every member’s ability into the system (Lundgren 1971, p.310). That is, they will be able to pose some questions like Why have come together? What is the responsibility of each member? Which methodology are we going to use? And what are our ultimate goals or objectives? By this, the group shall have defined their roles and defined the rule to be followed, determined the reward criteria, divided work among the group members.

The process of grouping is also likely to come with it inter personal or inter-group conflicts. This will require the keen analysis of the how such issues are resolved. However, the process may be tricky as every individual have a unique opinion and may silently disregard to authority’s rules and the agenda they set without wide consultation. Many organizations face interpersonal conflicts as concerns leadership and its structure and their powers.

The conflict may also result on the group members’ resistance to change and fear of risk taking. Group member may attempt to resist anything that comes with new ways of doing thing, not because the new ways are bad but because the process is conlplictad and mind boggling to them, hence they would rather avoid it than venture into an area they are not sure of the process and outcome. This process is mostly referred to as resistance.

The phenomenon occurs when the feelings like very much cherished values and beliefs are bound for challenge. And in this period that most work is completed successfully. However, once the differences among the group members are solved, they start to bring out issues that are important for the functionality and the completion of the tasks ahead.

The flow of information; during this period the group members start to enquire more informations and share them with other group members. The sharing of ideas and giving feedback to assignments they were assigned. The group starts to develop mutual understanding and become comfortable with other members of the group. They begin to feel part of the group and start practicing open with ideas that may help achieve the goals.

However, during this period, the group members are likely to feel the power of belonging within their groups and hence assume in theory the role of leadership and authority over the group dynamic. This is the period when the members of group begin to forget their roles and are likely to ignore their duties and responsibility and begin to bond or play more than work.

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The group then begins to solve problem when each member has noticed that there are new insights into their tasks and new ways of tackling the differences, hence solve problems. It is during this period that the group members’ responsibilities are well defined and every one has the feeling that they have a common goal. They are also likely to get members support for solving a problem.

Interdependence; in between individuals group members personal relationship is likely to begin. In this scenario individuals are likely to work as in singles or sub divide themselves in what is known as sub- groups or as just one unit. They become competitive and collaborate more. They interact more socially, every feels the task is either finished or almost finished and some may call for conclusion of the process. Some are in the celebratory mood and may even stop work.

During the group processes, a majority of the group members may accept to be influence by a minority opinion, beliefs and behavior. This is likely to develop into a conclusion of a private opinions or judgments from a member of a minority group. This is likely to occur when the minority group has consistency and flexibility that are more appealing to majority. This is backed by several researches the indicated that one person is more likely to influence a majority that two people ( John 1973, p. 234).

This is because one person is more likely to be consistent and will focus the attention of the group in one direction. The research has also found out that two people are more likely to influence the other members than one because they will be looked at as an intellectual or powerful people’s opinion and that they are not likely to be looked at as self centered by other group members. It has therefore been supported that a minority of only two or more people have the ability to influence that majority as long as they are consistent and appealing to the majority (Tachman1965, p.129).

This influence has been looked at in terms of the size of the majority. The early research findings argue that as the majority increases in size and number, the power and influence they have on the majority decreases. However, the minority influence will continue as long there is consistency on the side of the minority and as long as they agree to work together (Renée, Jennifer & Dale1997, p.79-88). But just in case the minority loses focus of their goal and eventually lose that consistency, they would lose their credibility and respect among the majority (Bion 1959, p.77-81)

This normally occurs when a member of the minority desserts the minority group and joins the bandwagon of majority hence posing a threat to the unity of the minority as the majority may lose faith in the majority influence and power thus shift their loyalty. (Butkovich et al 1975, p. 58).

Other studies have also found out that the position of a person is likely to influence the level of authority exerted by the minority. They say that a person’s position is likely to affect the ability of the minority leader’s behavior or opinion. It is said that those individuals positioned at the top are likely to have more powerful influence than the ones at the lower ladder of the hierarchy. However, even though consistency has been agreed upon to determine the level of minority group influence, some psychologist point out that unreasonable consistency can degenerate into negative resultant on influence. This is because unreasonable influence will generate into inflexibility that will generate into rebellion from the majority (Banet 1976, P. 106)

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But why do people yield to minority influence or oblige to their ideas and opinion? Different researches have found out that a minority group is like to be influence a majority group when such groups have something to share in common. This is because an ‘in-group’ minority, as they are referred to, is likely to be more consistent with their general ideas and they accept colleagues’ opinions which may seem to be that common ground or converging point of their ideas. The majority ‘out- groups’, those who have no common converging point or have nothing to share in common are likely to be more discriminated against sine they would be branded strangers, at least theoretically, by the minority ‘in- groups’( Anthony 1974, p.66)

The snowball effect; once a group of individuals from the majority group have shifted their ideas to agree with the minority, the minority group automatically becomes the majority. This is because of the consequential and gradual increase in the number of the minority that eventually surpasses the majority number once this number gains momentum. However, psychologists argue that while a majority is a change of public opinion, the minority is a change of personal opinion (Eugene 1999, p.146-149).

Hence one can pause a question as to why should a majority be influenced by a minority? The psychologists call this phenomenon a social cryptoamnesia. This is because of the minority’s ability to change the attitude of the society. These changed attitudes consequently lead to a change in personal opinion of the majority in that particular society (Stangor 2004, p.31).

The minority can continue their dominance on the majority group and manage them without any social conflict for as long as any form of rebellion occurs on the side of the minority. This principle holds all circles of society that involve social judgment like political, social and economic sectors as a whole. This is the principle of minority dominance.


Anthony G.1974. Therapeutic intervention and the perception of process, CA University Associates: La Jolla.

Banet, J. 1976. A perspective on theories of group development- Handbook for Group Facilitators, CA. University Associates: La Jolla.

Bion, W. 1959. Experiences in Groups. New York, Basic Books.

Butkovich, P., Carlisle, J., Duncan, R., & Moss, M. 1975. Social system and psychoanalytic approaches to group dynamics: Complementary or contradictory? International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, p. 25.

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John. E. 1973. A model of group development– Handbook for Group Facilitators. CA University Associates: La Jolla.

Lundgren, C. 1971.Trainer style and patterns of group development. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, p. 7.

Myers, D. and Lamm, H. 1975. The polarizing effect of group discussion. American Scientist, p. 63.

Tachman, B. 1965. Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin,p. 63-65.

Stangor, C. 2004. Social groups in action and interaction minority group. New York. Turner Printers.

Renée., A., Jennifer, H. & Dale, E. (1997). Majority-Minority Influence: identifying. Argumentative Patterns and Predicting argument, Chicago. Chicago University Press.

Vazguez, J. 2007. Factors That Affect Learning among Minority Youth. London. Kibbs Printers.

Eugene, E. (1999). Hispanic Education in United States. Carlifornia Rowman & Littlefield.

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