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Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice

Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice

  • Who trusts charismatic leaders who champion change? The role of group identification, membership centrality, and self-uncertainty.
    We question the longstanding assumption that charismatic leaders who initiate change are especially effective under uncertainty. Instead, we argue both change-focused and stability-focused leadership can be effective styles under uncertainty. Based on the social identity perspective of leadership and on uncertainty-identity reduction theory, we argue followers’ feelings of self-uncertainty and the psychological meaningfulness of the team to one’s self-concept are important moderating variables of the relationship between change-focused (vs. stability-focused) leadership on perceived leader effectiveness. In 3 studies (2 experiments and 1 time-lagged field study), we investigated how uncertainty and group membership importance affect followers’ trust in change- or stability-focused leadership. We argue, and present evidence showing where a group is psychologically meaningful to a person’s self-concept, people express greater trust in change-focused (charismatic) leadership when they feel uncertain, but followers for whom the group is less psychologically important trust stability-focused (noncharismatic) leadership more when their uncertainty is low. Implications for leader rhetoric and the role of uncertainty in organizational and political settings are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
  • The relationship between attachment dimensions and perceptions of group relationships over time: An actor–partner interdependence analysis.
    A group member’s attachment, anxiety, and avoidance is related to how the group member and the other group members (OGMs) perceive group relationships. In addition, the collective attachment strategies of the OGMs may also be related to how the individual group member and the others perceive the relationships in the group. We extend previous research, using the actor partner interdependence model (APIM), to examine how group members’ and aggregated OGMs’ attachment anxiety and avoidance were related to group members’ and OGMs perceptions of positive bonding, positive working, and negative relationships measured early and late in interpersonal growth groups. Three hundred twenty-five Italian graduate students were randomly assigned to 1 of 16 interpersonal growth groups that met for 9 weeks with experienced psychologists. Attachment anxiety and avoidance was assessed with the Attachment Style Questionnaire (ASQ) and the third and eighth session ratings of group relationships were assessed with the Group Questionnaire (GQ). For group members, the relationships between attachment and group relationships were stable across time; for OGMs the relationship between attachment and group relationships only emerged late in the group. Group member’s and OGMs attachment anxiety was positively related to positive bonding or working relationships and attachment avoidance was negatively related to positive bonding or working relationships for both group member’s and OGMs’ perceptions of group relationships. The implication of these findings for group composition is discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Presence of personality disorder moderates the long-term effects of short-term and long-term psychodynamic group therapy: A 7-year follow-up of a randomized clinical trial.
    No prior randomized trials have investigated how personality disorders (PDs) impact the long-term outcomes of group psychotherapy treatment of different durations. The present study compared the effects of short-term and long-term group analytic therapy among patients with and without PD, with regards to symptoms and interpersonal problems during a 7-year follow-up. A total of 167 outpatients with mixed diagnoses (45% with PDs, mostly Cluster C) were randomized to 20 or 80 weekly sessions of group analytic therapy. Interpersonal problems (measured by the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems Circumplex) and symptoms (measured by the the Symptom Check List-90-R) were assessed at 7 time points during the 7-year study period. Change was calculated using linear mixed models. The authors hypothesized that patients with PD would improve more with long-term than short-term therapy. This was confirmed as PD showed a significant moderator effect for symptoms and a trend for interpersonal problems. Patients with PD improved more on both outcome measures with long-term therapy compared to short-term therapy, with medium between-groups effect sizes. Patients without PD responded equally in the 2 treatment conditions over the last 6.5 years. PD patients showed significantly higher change rates on the IIP-C subscales nonassertive, exploitable, and overly nurturant, favoring long-term treatment compared to short-term therapy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Normative dissensus, identity-uncertainty, and subgroup autonomy.
    What motivates a subgroup to seek autonomy within its superordinate group? Drawing on uncertainty-identity theory (Hogg, 2012), 2 Mechanical Turk-hosted priming studies were conducted to examine whether identity-uncertainty dynamics motivate the pursuit of subgroup autonomy. Study 1 (N = 75) confirmed that national identity dissensus creates identity-related self-uncertainty. Study 2 (N = 179) primed perceived national dissensus (thus identity-uncertainty), state entitativity, and state voice in the nation, and measured national and state identification and subgroup autonomy. As predicted, high national identity-uncertainty along with high state entitativity and low state voice strengthened desire for subgroup autonomy. State identification mediated desire for subgroup autonomy. Results suggest identity-uncertainty at a superordinate level may drive subgroups to seek greater autonomy within. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


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