Syllabus: Group Dynamics †††††††††† Psy 457 / 557

††† ††

Spring 2004†† 10-11:20 Mon/Wed ††146 Straub†† ††††††††††† CRN:34199/34211


Professor: Dr. Holly Arrow

Phone: 346-1996


Office: 357 Straub††

Office Hours: Mon 5-6, Wed 4-5




TA: Stephan Dickert

Phone: 346_4937

Office: Straub 309

Office Hours: Thurs 12-2



Blackboard conference:

Class notes and supplementary articles will be posted on blackboard.



Course Description &Requirements


This course has three interrelated goals:

††††††††††† 1) acquaint you with theory and research on small groups

††††††††††† 2) improve your skills as participant in & observer of small groups

††††††††††† 3) develop your ability to read and interpret the primary literature


To accomplish these goals, the main text and lectures will cover theories and findings on topics that students will also explore through group exercises in class. Two tests will assess learning of the basic concepts and findings. Students will also demonstrate their ability to apply what they are learning by writing two essays analyzing case studies. One recounts the story of a group expedition to Antarctic (intragroup dynamics); the other is a first-person account of ethnic conflict in Bosnia (intergroup dynamics).Finally, class groups will each focus in depth on a particular topic and read primary articles reporting empirical studies.Groups will give a short presentation to the class on this topic and turn in a review paper.An optional final exam will give students who are unhappy with their grades on the tests a chance to improve their scores.


NOTE:Grad students will have different assignments replacing the essays and the review paper. Details are given below.


1. Participation†††††††††††††††††††††††††

Attendance is required. If you canít attend class faithfully, donít take this course .

††††††††††† You will be working in small groups each week, and group members will rate one another's participation at the end of the course. In week 2, students will form permanent groups.If a group member is chronically absent, does not come prepared, behaves badly, or otherwise gives clear evidence of being untrustworthy, groups may request that the person not be a part of the group project.Members who feel the rest of their group is not trustworthy may also petition to complete the project individually. Discuss any proposed adjustments to group membership with Holly by May 3rd Changes will be implemented Wed. May 5th.

††††††††††† At the end of the class, each student will (confidentially) evaluate how well fellow members fulfilled their commitments to the group; these evaluations will largely determine the participation grade.

††††††††††† 1b. Grad students: After moving around to different small groups during the early rotations, you will work together in a separate group.During some class sessions, you will observe and give feedback to the undergraduate groups.


2. Readings

The three required books are S. M. Burn, Groups: Theory and Practice, A. Lansing, Endurance: Shackletonís incredible voyage, and J. Dervisevic-Cesic, The river runs salt, runs sweet: A memoir of Bosnia.Strunk & Whiteís The elements of style (any edition) is strongly recommended as a guide to clear writing.Supplementary readings (research articles from the primary literature) will be posted on Blackboard.


3. Tests

Tests will have an individual and a group portion. They will cover material from the texts, lectures, and supplementary readings.††

††††††††††† 3b. Grad students will complete the whole test individually (no group assistance) and will have some extra questions to cover.


4. Individual Essays (undergrads only)

Essays are limited to 250 words each, and must be printed on a single page. To be deemed acceptable, they must fulfill the assignment, be carefully reasoned, clearly written, and grammatically correct (follow S&W guidelines!). Every sentence should contain specific, meaningful information that is clearly related to the assignment, and all opinions should be directly supported with evidence from the readings (cite author, page number). To receive full credit, a typed draft must be submitted and critiqued the class before the final essay is due.

††††††††††† 4b. Grad students. In place of the two essays, you will give two short presentations (10 minutes) summarizing and critiquing a recent study related to the topics of the week.This will serve as models for the groups, which will do their own presentations in week 10.


5. Group Project: Literature Review and Study Presentation.

Groups will turn in a written paper and will also give a 10 minute presentation in Week 10.

††††††††††† The group will pick a focused topic to investigate (a list of suggestions will be provide), develop a bibliography, construct an overview table that identifies basic information for each study covered, and write a review essay that identifies (1) similarities and differences in theories and methodology among the studies included, (2) convergent and divergent findings across the studies, and (3) two important questions that have not been satisfactorily answered in the studies. The review essay should be 3 pages long (plus 1 page for the overview table).The rest of the paper will consist of specific commentary on each article (1 page each), plus a bibliography in APA style. Each individual group member will be responsible for commentary on two articles.Grades will be based both on individual and group portions of the paper, and may be adjusted based on confidential member reports of one anotherís contributions.

††††††††††† **To be eligible for full credit, all interim assignments must be completed on time**

††††††††††† 5b. Grad students will complete a case study or research proposal instead of the group project.Case study option: Write a case study based on your observations of a small group (size 3-25) and/or interviews with its members (Note: this should not be one of the class groups.) Be sure to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the group and analyze what you see as the contributing factors to these strengths and weaknesses.Consider composition, structure, task, context, and group development. Make one specific recommendation for improving the functioning of the group. The paper should have 4 sections: Intro, description, analysis, and recommendation.

††††††††††† Research proposal: Write a research proposal for a study of small groups.Assume you have unlimited resources.Follow APA style (only section missing will be results). Summarize theory relevant to your topic, identify the research question(s) and/or hypotheses, describe your research design, and in the discussion section, consider how you would interpret results that are contrary to your hypotheses. Include an abstract.

††††††††††† Either option: Limit 8 pages double-spaced, including title page.


Grading ††††††††††††††††††††††††





Course gradesbased on percentage of total points earned


(group exercises & evals)










Undergrads: Essays (2)

[Grads: Presentation]










Tests (2)






Group [or grad] project





< 70

TOTAL points





$ 70


Special Needs: ††††††††††††††††††††


Learning disabilities & athletes. If you have a documented learning disability and need adjustments, or are on a UO sports team and will miss class because of travel, contact Dr. Arrow ASAP.With advance planning, adjustments are relatively easy.Adjustments at the last minute are problematic and sometimes not plausible.


Late and Missed Work:


Late Penalties: Three-point penalty for late essays, unless you have prior approval for an extension based on some catastrophic life event. Two-point penalty if typed essay draft not completed on time.

Tests: If you miss a test, you should take the optional final exam as the make-up.

Group Project: Up to 5 points will be deducted from the group project grade if the group does not turn in all interim assignments when due.


Academic Dishonesty:

All work submitted in this course must be your own (or your groupís) and produced exclusively for this course. The use of sources must be properly acknowledged and documented. Academic dishonesty will result in a failing grade in the course and will also be referred to the Student Conduct Committee.

††††††††††† Collaborating with group members is NOT permitted on the individual portions of tests or on the final exam.Students must generate their first essay drafts on their own; they are encouraged to make use of feedback and suggestions from group members in their revisions.If you have any confusion about what constitutes academic dishonesty, see


Readings and Assignments††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††


Week One

Topic /Focus


Other Events

Mon Mar 29

Intro & Methods

Burn 1 & 2

First temporary group; Self-Assess

Wed Mar 31

Second temporary group

Week Two




Mon April 5

Group Structure

Burn 3 & 4

Form permanent groups

Wed April 7

Practice Test (desensitization)

Week Three




Mon April 12

Process & Change

Burn 5 & 6


Wed April 14

Turn in topic for Group Project

Week Four




Mon April 19

Crisis & Survival


Test #1

Wed April 21

Essay A (first draft, typed)

Week Five




Mon April 26

Group Challenges

Burn 7 & 8


Essay A (final, 2 copies, 1 p. max)

Wed April 28

Bibliography; Week 5 Assess

Week Six




Mon May 3

Leaders & Goals


Burn 9 & 10


Wed May 5

One article commentary per group

Week Seven




Mon May 10

Decisions & Teams

Burn 11 & 12



Wed May 12

Summary Table for Group Project

Week Eight




Mon May 17

Crisis & Conflict




Wed May 19

Test #2

Week Nine




Mon May 24

Inter-Group Issues

Supplementary Readings

Essay B (first draft, typed)

Wed May 26

Essay B (final, 2 copies, 1 p. max)

Week Ten




Mon May 31

Group Projects


Presentations; Wk 10 Self-Assess

Wed June 2

Presentations; Class & Mem Evals

Final Projects due by:Noon Mon June 7

Optional Final: 10:15-12:15 Fri June 11 (& pick up projects)

Name: _______________________††† Group Name: ____________________ Code: ______


Rate Your Group Skills (+3=very strong0=okay-3= very weak)††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††† Wk 1††† Wk 10


1.†††††††† Communicate ideas effectively (self-expression)†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ___††††††††††† ___

2.†††††††† Listen to and understand others (empathy, perspective taking)††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ___††††††††††† ___

3.†††††††† Help others understand themselves with constructive feedback (guide)†††††††† ††††††††††† ___††††††††††† ___

4.†††††††† Seek feedback from othersto know yourself better (personal growth)††††††††† ††††††††††† ___††††††††††† ___

5.†††††††† Establish rapport with others (make connections)†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ___††††††††††† ___

6.†††††††† Monitor and manage your own emotions (self-management)†††††††††††††††††††††††††† ___††††††††††† ___

7.†††††††† Organize people to achieve tasks (task leader)†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ___††††††††††† ___

8.†††††††† Identify and fill needed roles in the group (social flexibility)†††††††††††††††††††††††† ___††††††††††† ___

9.†††††††† Promote group morale and cohesion (socio-emotional leader)†††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ___††††††††††† ___

10.†††††† Resolve conflicts and negotiate agreements (mediator)††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ___††††††††††† ___

11.†††††† Analyze structural causes of group dynamics (social analysis)†††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ___††††††††††† ___


Your own goals for this class:

1. ________________________†† †††† 3.________________________

2. ________________________†† †††† 4.________________________



Week 5 peer assessment of progress on these goals within your class group




Week 5 self-assessment of progress in developing and practicing group skills




Week 10 self-assessment of progress in developing and practicing group skills