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Group dynamics


Prior knowledge

Students are strongly advised to follow the propaedeutic course ‘Social and Organisation Psychology’ first.

NB. The Group Dynamics course is an admission requirement for the courses that deepen students’ knowledge in ‘Assessment and Influence’ and ‘Cooperation and Conflict’.

Course objectives

This course focuses on analysing group phenomena – such as group cohesion, group and sub-group formation, conformity, influence, leadership, joint activities, decision-making and intra- and intergroup conflicts – from the perspective of different theories of group dynamics. The focus is not only on acquiring a knowledge and understanding of different theoretical approaches, but also on how to apply this. The students will also learn a number of different skills:

  • Knowledge and understanding: students will acquire a general knowledge of theories in the field of group dynamics as well as the methodological foundations of the discipline.

  • Application of knowledge and understanding: students will be able to apply aspects of this understanding of group dynamics. They will be able to analyse and conceptualise a number of practical problems and can propose solutions. They will also be able to design simple research studies in order to assess their analyses and suggested interventions.

  • General professional skills: students will be able to use IT, work together systematically (in pairs) and produce a written report of the joint analyses and recommendations for colleagues and a wider public.


Group dynamics (2013-2014):

Mode of instruction

In the nine lectures, different theories of group dynamics will be explained and applied to everyday group phenomena. The written assignments that students produce at different times during the course (in pairs) will also be discussed in the group. In these assignments, which are available via Blackboard, students will apply theoretical insights to group phenomena, as described in newspaper articles and William Golding’s novel ‘Lord of the Flies’ (1954). To enable students to practise using the above skills, these assignments will focus on:

  • formulating causal models in which theoretical analyses of particular group problems culminate in specific recommendations for group dynamics interventions;

  • developing simple designs to assess the value of their own analyses and/or recommendations.


The final assessment of the students’ knowledge and understanding will take the form of a multiple-choice examination on Forsyth (excluding chapter 16), Golding and the lecture material and feedback on the completed assignments. The examination will count for 75% of the final grade. The assessment of the students’ skill in applying this knowledge and understanding in the series of assignments will count for 25% of the final grade. Both grades must be higher than 5.5.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences implemented the Ephorus system on 1 January 2006, for use by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information is provided on Blackboard about the timetable, key themes in the lectures, the assignments in pairs, the submission and return procedure for these assignments, summaries of plenary feedback on these completed assignments, the assessment criteria for these assignments and the examination. Practice examination questions and relevant links to websites on group dynamics can also be found.


  • Forsyth, D.R. (2013). Group Dynamics (6th edition). Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Ook nog bruikbaar: Forsyth, D.R. (2010). GroupDynamics (5th edition).

  • Golding, W. (1954). Lord of the Flies. London: Faber & Faber Limited (of een latere Engelstalige druk of een Nederlandse vertaling, bijv. van Uitgeverij Athenaeum – Polak & Van Gennep, Amsterdam).

  • Opdrachten, rooster, reglementen, beschikbaar via Blackboard.

Study book service

Members of the Labyrint study association can purchase the books at a reduced rate from the Labyrint study book service on producing their Labryint membership card. Alternatively, there are the academic bookshops.



Registration for the course is compulsory. There are no work groups but students must form pairs for the series of assignments.


Registration for examinations and resits is compulsory. Students can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the examination date. Students who do not register on time, will not be allowed to sit the (re)examination


Dr. Arjaan P. Wit,
Social and Organisation Psychology Unit
Kamer 2A23
Tel. 071 – 527 3722