Comments regarding the topics ‘Groups’ and ‘Pro-social Behaviour’
- Social Loafing
- Attribution Theory
- Bystander Effect
- Diffusion of Responsibility
Since the first week of the semester consisted of a basic introduction to Social Psychology and gave opportunity to start thinking more about the subject of Social Psychology, as well as some interesting and relevant topics, it seemed logical to commence my E-Portfolio entries with some moments/aspects that I came away with.
The ‘ice breaker’ exercise facilitated by James Neil during the first tutorial which consisted of ‘grouping’ yourself with others based on commonalities such as eye colour, place of residence, marital status, etc..was, in itself, Social Psychology in action. The group adhered to rules, cooperated with each other and was social, respectful, and amicable.
Research by Garibaldi (1979) found that cooperation amongst individuals in a group that are working on a task increases interpersonal attraction. Another positive is that more enjoyment is gained out of the task by the individuals that work cooperatively. Another study proposes that social scrutiny, which affects an individuals’ reputation, is a very successful way of enhancing pro-social behaviour because it reduces individualism (Rossano, 2007).
Although some stories of human behaviour have been distressing to say the least, the theories proposed do assist in trying to understand why some people react the way they do in certain situations. I found this topic particularly interesting because there was a recent news story (early 2008) about some children being removed from their home in Canberra due to abuse and neglect. The home was reported as being filthy, the children malnourished and suffering from hypothermia (they were found by police half naked huddled around the television trying to stay warm). One of the neighbours was interviewed on camera as saying that she often saw the underdressed children running around the streets after dark, and could see the state of filth that the house and yard was in. She also said that she would often feel sorry for the children (especially during winter) and would often wonder where their parents were.
My first reaction to this was “Well why the - - - - didn’t you report it, you stupid woman?”
The theories regarding bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility do shed some light on why perhaps people can be moved by another person’s plight, but also not do anything to actually help. Critical Reflection of my role in a team preparing for a group presentation.
The following is a critical reflection of my experience during the preparation, and the final presentation, of the group assessment item for the unit Introduction to Management. The critical reflection will be incorporated into the information presented in Campling et al. (2006). The main issues that will be discussed, and subsequently reflected on, include team processes and diversity, task and maintenance needs, and leadership styles.
Team processes and diversity during the preparation for the presentation
Campling et al. (2006, p. 453) describes an effective team as one that ‘maintains high levels of task performance, satisfies members, and remains viable for the future’. Based on this proposition, my critical reflection is that we were not an ineffective team; however we were not highly effective either. My stand on this position is based on the way our team handled communication and decision making. There was an issue with communication as frequently meetings were ignored, and firm team direction was not apparent. There was also a lack of cohesion during the preparation process as different members of the group had different expectations in regards to marks (ie I had high expectations and strove for a good mark whilst my perception was that certain others did not seem to strive for this benchmark). There was also a certain ineffectiveness when it came to trying to organise ‘dry runs’ and a lack of drive to have the material to the designated person by the agreed date; as a result, it was stitched together at the last minute. In terms of the diversity of the group, there was diversity in age, gender, culture, but most importantly; personality types. As Campling et al. (2006, p. 454) suggests, the more heterogeneous the group, the easier it is to handle interactions. Perhaps this is the most important factor in the preparation process of any team project; if individuals have the same level of motivation, ambition, and drive then perhaps there is better output for the group; after all, an individual’s gender, age or culture is not indicative of intelligence, motivation, ambition, or diligence.
Task and maintenance needs
Campling et al. (2006, p. 459) proposes that distributed leadership assists the team in meeting its task needs, and is constituted of providing task activities, providing maintenance activities, and avoiding disruptive activities. In terms of this definition, my reflection of the role that I undertook was one of team organiser. My endeavour was to have a series of scheduled meetings in order to share information and seek insight into where the other team members were in terms of their research endeavours (initiating and information sharing). I also tried to encourage good and honest relationships within the group (harmonising and reducing tension).
As per the grid, there are extremes in management styles. The literature suggests that ‘middle of the road management’ which is a concern for both the people and the production output, garners the best results; however I struggled to achieve this position in the group. Upon reflection, the reason for this was I was concerned that if I pushed for a high task management approach, there would be upheaval amongst the other team members since I was not an ‘official’ leader. Also I was acutely aware that this was a team effort, and in order to get a good mark for the presentation, I needed to have the full support of the team; hence, the approach I felt that I had no other option to take was closer to the ‘Country-club management’ approach where I was conscious about not being too assertive in my requests.
Campling et al. (2006, p. 445) describes social loafing as the tendency of some individuals to avoid responsibility by ‘free riding’ in the group. Upon reflection, social loafing was not an issue in regards to the researching of everyone’s fair share of the required material (due to identifiability and uniqueness of contribution; however there was loafing in regards to organizing meetings and communicating effectively. Conclusion
Upon reflection, the result of the presentation was not what I had hoped for, however I am glad to have experienced the process as I did learn that the best results are gained when the right mix of people skills, assertion, and task maintenance is reached. Comments regarding the ‘Social Self’
- Strength of Beliefs
Questions regarding the ‘self’ and how the constructs of personality are described can be a really difficult task in itself. One of the more interesting thoughts on personality was a quote I read by Aristotle; “Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way. You become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.” Is the self, and how we and others define ourselves, as simple as what we do?
It is also about what we stand for, what we are willing to invest in, and what kind of mark we want to leave on the world.
What about the component of memory and what it does for an individual’s ability to be able to achieve a sense of identity, and therefore a more stable social identity?
Below is a link to a youtube clip about Clive Wearing; a man who has the inability to form memories for more than a few moments. Quite a sad story.
Comments regarding ‘Aggression’ and ‘Prejudice’
- Comment on types of Aggression in the film Ghosts of Rwanda
- US Presidential campaign (McCain, Obama, Hillary Clinton)
- The documentary ‘Ghosts of Rwanda’ was an insightful yet disturbing film about genocide; possibly one of the most aggressive acts humans can inflict on one another. The film highlighted the steps towards the full blown massacre, and there were eerie parallels with the genocide that took place during WW2. Dynamic leaders, creating ‘in groups and out groups’ (Aryan race VS Jews, Hutus VS Tutsi).
The film highlighted many examples of the different types of aggression; hostile and active aggression - (some of the murders were impulsive and fuelled by genuine feelings of hate; even though the victims may not have been known to the perpetrators instrumental - the leaders of the Hutu paramilitary Robert Kajuga and Georges Rutaganda meticulously planned and then ordered the massacre of thousands of people passive – there were incidents where individuals consciously withheld assistance.
On a lighter note, here is another form of aggression... http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24588114-5006010,00.html
There is quite a bit of material for the topic ‘Prejdice’ in the current US Presidential campaign. I have added a number of links to some interesting news articles and blogs that comment on how Obama will be assassinated if he is elected as president due to being black, how Mc Cain has been caught out with racial slurs, and also how Hillary Cinton (when she was in the running for candidacy)woud never really be taken seriously as a president because she is a she.
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0907/5764.html http://www.suntimes.com/news/mitchell/933314,CST-NWS-mitch06.article http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/377721/ http://skemono.blogspot.com/2008/03/mccain-against-prejudice-except-that.html
- Relationships, Culture and History
I regards to relationships (marriage in particular) I thought I would provide some links to interesting sites and articles that discuss some different aspects to marriage. These include marriage in India (modern and ancient ), Western Society (speed dating and Australia’s Bachelor and Spinster balls), as well as some legal breakthroughs for same sex couples.
http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm?aid=3201 (India’s widows) http://www.stormloader.com/munaypata/India.htm (child marriages in India) http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/southeast/series2/speed_dating_date_romance_road_raving.shtml (BBC comment on speed dating) http://www.warrenfahey.com/dance.htm (Fahey comment on how the history of dance in Australia is also a history of social behaviour) http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/labor-backs-legal-rights-for-samesex-couples/2007/04/28/1177459995793.html (legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Australia)