The term “group dynamics” was coined and popularized for the first time by Kurt Lewin in the 1930s with the scope to describe the way groups and individuals act and react to changing circumstances . Fundamentally, the dynamics of a group conceptually derives from the continuous interaction (resonance) between its members. For Lewin, the principle of interactionism in his field theory is expressed by the formula: B = f(P,E) which means that the behavior (B) of an individual (i.e. group member) is a function (f) of the interaction between personal attributes (P) and environmental factors (E) (Lewin, 1951). Said with Lewin’s words: “every psychological event depends upon the state of the person and at the same time on the environment, although their relative importance is different in different cases” (Lewin 1936, pp. 12). Even though Lewin is recognized by the scientific community as the founder of group dynamics both as a subject matter and a scientific discipline of study, other predecessors have wrote about the topic. In the late 1800s and in the early 1900s various disciplines were concerned about the behavior of individuals within small or huge groups Therefore, the first part of this work deals with the interdisciplinary roots of group dynamics that can be summarized in the following table. Next, the second part offers a metaphorical perspective of groups by using some organizational metaphors typical of the Viable Systems Approach. Thus, shifting the focus on the behavior within organizations, other interesting perspectives (with a common denominator on systems theory) are to be taken into consideration. According to Golinelli (2010, pp. 27-35), a firm can be seen as mechanical, organic, cybernetic, autopoietic, cognitive (including the emotional dimension), and viable system. These metaphors and analogies  are important for understanding the dynamics of groups within business firms and other organizations. In addition, only through metaphors and analogies the science makes progress and creates new paradigms (Kuhn, 2009), taking always into account the limits of an exaggerated vocabulary composed by metaphors and analogies (Golinelli, 2000). The last part of this paper deals directly with groups in systems thinking by underlying first, the system’s properties of groups and their dynamics, and second by exploring the applicative contexts. In reference to the applications, two main directions are followed: the socio-technical perspective and the socio-psychological perspective. The first one is represented by the researches handled near the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations: “Coal Mining Studies” (Trist and Bamforth, 1951); “Indian Textile Mills Studies” (Rice, 1953); “Socio-technical approach” (Emery and Trist, 1960). For the socio-psychological view (Trist and Murray, 1990), it is relevant to mention the studies of Tavistock Clinic with Bowlby’s Attachment theory (Bowlby, 1958, 1959, 1960) and Mental Research Institute of Palo Alto with the Bateson Project (Bateson et al., 1956, 1963). From the methodological standpoint, the present research type is a conceptual research based on the interpretivist paradigm. From the ontological viewpoint, this research relies on constructivism and relativism, emphasizing the role of the observer. From epistemological standpoint, the present research focuses on non-dualism, subjectivism, holism, quest of the possible. From the methodological perspective, the focus is on constructivism and constructed realities. In summary, this study uses the qualitative methodology and the methods of literature review and theory development.  According to Barile and Iannuzzi 2008, pp. 50, there is a difference between a metaphor and an analogy. A metaphor allows, using the simulation of a concept through a specific word, to express a defined experience referring to another. Instead, an analogy goes further: it aims to extend the knowledge background of a particular phenomenon or entity and the behavioral properties of that phenomenon/entity to another one which seems to be “similar”. For example, seeing a group as a brain is a metaphor, instead seeing it as a cognitive system is an analogy because it explains how the brain works. So, a metaphor is a structural concept, it is static (e.g. a photo). At the other hand an analogy is a systemic concept, it is dynamic (e.g. a video); one expresses the anatomy and the other the physiology of the phenomenon.
Group dynamics and systems thinking: interdisciplinary roots, metaphors, and applications / BARILE, SERGIO; HYSA, XHIMI; CALABRESE, MARIO; Riolli, Laura. - STAMPA. - (2019), pp. 109-113.
|Titolo:||Group dynamics and systems thinking: interdisciplinary roots, metaphors, and applications|
HYSA, XHIMI (Corresponding author)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Citazione:||Group dynamics and systems thinking: interdisciplinary roots, metaphors, and applications / BARILE, SERGIO; HYSA, XHIMI; CALABRESE, MARIO; Riolli, Laura. - STAMPA. - (2019), pp. 109-113.|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||02a Capitolo o Articolo|