Understanding Group Dynamics and Behaviour

Dynamics in the Interactions of the 12 disciples

The disciples underwent all the four major stages that small groups normally go through in their development. First, there was the forming stage in which Jesus had to select the right members of the group. He had to exercise extreme care in this regard because if he had made the wrong choice then this would either have destroyed the group or would have made it extremely difficult to work (Forsyth, 2010). The disciples went through the norming stage where they started learning about the boundaries of their roles and tolerable behavior. A lot of them had to learn about their expectations from Jesus who used narratives or even direct instructions to let them know about their purposes. However, not all of them followed those instructions as seen when Jesus had to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane and none of the disciples stayed awake. They eventually went through the conforming stage where they began to adjust, challenge, or even question these norms. This was the stage when Peter; one of the closest allies to Jesus denied him three times while another one; Judas Iscariot betrayed him. Lastly, the disciples went through the maturity phase or the performing stage where they now understood their purpose. This occurred after Jesus’ death and ensured that it was now possible for the group to spread the Gospel and even form other smaller groups among the Gentiles and Hebrews.

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Influence and power seen in prisons from the Milgram experiment

This experiment was carried out at Yale University to determine just how much pain people were willing to inflict upon others because they had been ordered to do so by someone in authority. The subjects were willing to continue with the instructions despite the continuous screams from the victims that they were hurting or despite the ethical awareness that this was wrong. The experiment provides a very insightful explanation of why ordinary people doing their jobs can willingly become hostile or engage in a destructive process. It can be understood through the conformism theory. In this theory, it is asserted that when an individual ascribes to a group and has a low hierarchy in it, he or she is likely to leave decision-making to authority figures in the group especially in a volatile situation. The group becomes the point of reference because such an individual feels that he lacks the experience and the ability needed to make the decisions so he differs it to the group. Participants in the experiment were continuously willing to inflict shock upon the ‘learners’ because they saw the researchers as authority figures and felt that they lacked the expertise to make any decisions themselves (Forsyth, 2010).

Comparison and contrast of the killing of Catherine Genovese and crucifixion of Jesus Christ

These two incidences were both depictions of the bystander effect. The people of Jesus’ society allowed him to be crucified even though it was established by Pilate that he had committed no crime. None of them were courageous enough to stand and oppose it. Likewise, Genovese’s murder went on under the watch of more than ten people who did not call the authorities or at least help her in the situation. It is likely that in both scenarios, the crowd involved was affected by the diffusion of responsibility concept where they expected others to take part in the intervention. Social influence may also have come into the picture as members of the crowd looked around and saw no intervention was being done such that they classified inaction as the right action. However, the two scenarios differ from each other because, in Jesus’ case, it was the crowd that demanded for his death but in Gene’s murder, the crowd simply refused to help.


Forsyth, D. (2010). Group Dynamic. 5th Edition. Belmont: Cengage.

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