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group cohesiveness


Subject Social Psychology and Personality » Group Processes

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631202899.1996.x


One of the most basic properties of a group is its cohesiveness (solidarity, esprit de corps, team spirit, morale) — the way it “hangs together” as a tightly knit self-contained entity, characterized by uniformity of conduct and belief and by mutual support among members. Cohesiveness is a variable property: some groups are more cohesive than others, and the same group can be more or less cohesive in different contexts and at different times. Groups with extremely low levels of cohesiveness appear hardly to be groups at all, and so the term may also capture the very essence of being a group — the psychological process that transforms an aggregate of unrelated individuals into a social group. Cohesiveness is, therefore, a descriptive term used to describe a property of the group as a whole. But it is also a psychological term to describe the individual psychological process underlying the cohesiveness of groups and the psychology of group membership. Herein lies a problem — it makes sense to say that a group is cohesive, but not that an individual is cohesive. After almost a decade of informal usage, cohesiveness was first formally defined by Festinger, Schachter, and Back (1950) . They believed that a psychological field of forces, deriving from the attractiveness of the group and its members and the degree to which the group helps to achieve individual goals, acts upon the individual. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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