SP2750 – Group Theory

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action theory
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Theory as to what actions are needed to achieve a desired consequence in a given situation.
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additive tasks
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Tasks for which group productivity represents the sum of individual members’ efforts.
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ageism
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Prejudice against the elderly.
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aggregate
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Collection of individuals who do not interact with one another.
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attribution theory
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A social-psychological explanation of how individuals make inferences about the causes of behaviors and events.
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autocratic leaders
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Leaders that dictate orders and determine all policy without involving group members in decision making.
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cathexis
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The investment of psychological energy in objects and events outside of oneself.
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charismatic leader
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A person who has an extraordinary power or vision and is able to communicate it to others.
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cognitive dissonance
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An individual’s mental interpretation of a situation based on his or her knowledge, understanding, and experiences.
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collusion
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the conscious and unconscious reinforcement of stereotypic attitudes, behaviors, and prevailing norms.
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conflict-negative group
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A group in which conflicts are suppressed and avoided and, when they occur, are managed in destructive ways.
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conflict-positive group
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A group in which conflicts are encouraged and managed constructively in order to maximize their potential to enhance the quality of decision making, problem solving, and group life.
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conjunctive tasks
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Tasks for which group productivity is determined by the effort or ability of the weakest member.
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contingency theory of leadership
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A theory suggesting that effectiveness of leaders is determined both by characteristics of leaders and by several situational factors.
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critical path method
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Identifying the final goal and working backward to detail what must happen before it is achieved.
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defensive avoidance
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The process of procrastinating, rationalizing, or denying the responsibility for choices in order to deal with doubts, conflict, and worry regarding a decision.
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democratic leader
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A leader who sets policies through group discussion and decision, encouraging and helping group members to interact, requesting the cooperation of others, and being considerate of members’ feelings and needs.
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ethnocentrism
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Tendency to regard one’s own ethnic group, nation, religion, culture, or gender as better or more correct than others.
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false consensus bias
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A belief (often false) that most other people think and feel very much as we do, such as sharing our stereotypes (e.g., believing that poor people are lazy).
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force field analysis
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Portraying the problem as a balance between forces working in opposite directions – some helping the movement toward the desired state of affairs and others restraining such movement. The balance that results between the helping and restraining forces is the actual state of affairs – a quasistationary equilibrium that can be altered through changes in the forces.
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great person theory of leadership
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A theory suggesting that all great leaders share key traits and equip them for positions of power and authority.
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group dynamics
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The area of social science that focuses on advancing knowledge about the nature of group life.
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Hawthorne effect
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A change in behavior that occurs when individuals know they are being observed by researchers.
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Laissez-faire leader
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A leader who does not participate in a group’s decision making at all.
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Machiavellian leadership
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Leadership based on the beliefs that people are basically weak, fallible, and gullible, and not particularly trustworthy; others are impersonal objects; and one should manipulate others whenever it is necessary to achieve one’s ends.
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moral exclusion
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Occurs when individuals or groups are perceived as outside the boundary in which moral values, rules and considerations of fairness apply; outside scope of justice
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moral inclusion
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Regarding others as within one’s circle of moral concern
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one-way communication
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One group member giving instructions and making announcements to other group members who are not allowed to communicate with him or her.
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psychodynamic fallacy
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Seeing the motivation for the other’s behavior i terms of personality factors rather than the dynamics of intergroup conflict.
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recurring-phase theories
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These theories specify the issues that dominate group interaction and that occur over and over again.
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sequential-stage theories
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These theories specify the typical order of the phase of group development.
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sexism
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Prejudice directed at a person because of his or her gender.
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two-way communication
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A reciprocal process in which each member starts messages and tries to understand the other members’ messages.
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unitary task
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One that cannot be divided into subtasks. One person has to complete the entire task.
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win-lose dynamic
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Seeing every action of the other as a move to dominate.

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