PS421      Half Unit
Issues in Social Psychology: Group Dynamics

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ilka Gleibs QUE.3.21


This course is available on the MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, MSc in Psychology of Economic Life, MSc in Social Research Methods, MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology and MSc in Social and Public Communication. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Students on degrees without a psychology component may attend subject to numbers, their own degree regulations and at the discretion of the Teacher responsible.

Course content

PS421 teaches on theory and research from the field of social and organisational psychology. We will cover past and present theories of group dynamics by introducing concepts used by psychologists to understand and improve group behaviour. It applies group dynamics theories to explain real-life examples and experiences. Students will be encouraged to take a critical perspective, and to consider how the principles taught in the course can be applied to a variety of social or organisational scenarios. The course will cover following topics:a) Why groups? b) The origins of group research; c) Influence and power; d) Groups and change; e) Crowds and collective behaviour; f) intra-and intergroup dynamics; g) How to manage a diverse group? h) Temporary and fragmented work contexts; i) Group performance and decision making; and j) Groups and health.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the LT.

Indicative reading

Haslam, S.A., (2004). Psychology in Organiszations. A Social Identity Approach. London: Sage. Tajfel, H. & Turner, J. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In Austin, & Worchel. The social psychology of intergroup relations, Monterey: Brooks/Cole; pp 33-47. Martins, L. L., Gilson, L. L., & Maynard, M. T. (2004). Virtual teams: What do we know and where do we go from here? Journal of Management, 30, 805-835. Burnes B. & Cooke, B (2013) 'Kurt Lewin's field theory: a review and re-evaluation', International Journal of Management Reviews, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 408-425. Highhouse, S. (2002). A history of the T-group and its early applications in management development. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 6(4), 277. Van Zomeren, M., Postmes, T., & Spears, R. (2008). Toward an integrative social identify model of collective action: a quantitative research synthesis of three socio-psychological perspectives. Psychological bulletin, 134(4), 504. Hornsey, M.J. & Jetten, J. (2004). The individual within the group: Balancing the need to belong with the need to be different. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8(3), 248-264. Bechky, B.A. & Okhuysen, G.A. (2011). Expecting the unexpected? How SWATofficers and film crews handle surprises. Academy of Management Journal, 54(2), 239-261. Haslam, S.A., Reicher, S.D., & Platow, M.J. (2010). The new psychology of leadership: Identity, influence and power. Psychology Press. (Chapter 4, 6, and 8). Gleibs, I.H., Haslam, C., Haslam, S.A. & Jones, J. (2011). Water clubs in residential care: Is it hte water or the club that enhances health and well-being?Psychology and Health, 26, 1361-1378.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 25
Merit 65.6
Pass 3.1
Fail 6.2

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2015/16: 34

Average class size 2015/16: 17

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication

Course survey results

(2013/14 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 50%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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