PS421      Half Unit
Issues in Social Psychology: Group Dynamics

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ilka Gleibs QUE.3.21


This course is available on the MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, 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) Introduction to group dynamics; b) Kurt Lewin on group dynamics; c) Unconscious in the group (Bion, Foulkes, Freud, etc.) I and II; d) Shared mental models and team cognition; e) Leadership in groups; f) Groups and identity; g) New working environments and virtual identities; h) Intergroup Behaviour in group: project teams and partnership; i) Group dynamics today.


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. Bion, W. R. (2004). Experiences in groups: And other papers. Routledge. Tuckman, B.W. (1965) Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63, 384-399. Sundrom, E., De Meuse, K.P., and Futrell, D. (1991) Work Teams. Applications and Effectiveness. American Psychologist. Morgeson, F., DeRue, D., & Karam, E. (2010). Leadership in teams: A functional approach to understanding leadership structures and processes. Journal of Management, 36, 5-39. Mohammed, S., Ferzandi, L., & Hamilton, K. (2010). Metaphor no more: a 15-year review of the team mental model construct. Journal of Management, 36, 876-910. Brown, R. (2000). Group processes. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.


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

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 26.2
Merit 61.9
Pass 9.5
Fail 2.4

Key facts

Department: Social Psychology

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication