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Group Dynamics (IBP)


Students of the Dutch bachelor’s programme, see Groepsdynamica.

Prior knowledge

Students are strongly advised to first follow the first-year (propaedeuse) course in Social and Organisational Psychology.

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 lies not only on acquiring knowledge and understanding of different theoretical approaches, but also on how to apply these, as well as on the students’ writing skills.

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

  • Applying knowledge and understanding: Students learn to apply a selection of insights into group dynamics to practical problems, conceptualise these problems and offer recommendations. In addition, they learn to design simple research studies in order to assess the value of their analyses and recommendations (proposed interventions).

  • Writing skills: Students learn to clearly formulate their analyses and recommendations (as described under 2), both for colleagues in the field and a wider public (including potential clients).


Group dynamics (2014-2015):



Students need to enroll for lectures and work group sessions. Please consult the Instructions registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date; students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination. Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures: In the course of eight lectures, different theories of group dynamics are explained and applied to everyday group phenomena. The written assignments which students produce at different times during the course (in pairs) are also the subject of plenary discussions in the lectures.

  • Four written assignments to be completed during the course: In these assignments, which are available via Blackboard, students apply theoretical insights to group phenomena, as described in newspaper articles and William Golding’s (1954) novel Lord of the Flies. This application is expected to lead to a concrete recommendation for resolving the relevant practical problems. Analyses and recommendation should be clearly formulated, for both colleagues and a wider public. In order to practise the above-mentioned skills, these assignments focus on the following:

    • Formulating causal models in which theoretical analyses of particular group problems culminate in specific recommendations for group dynamic interventions.
    • Clearly formulating analyses and recommendations for both colleagues and a wider public.
    • Developing simple designs to assess the value of the students’ own analyses and/or recommendations.


Regulations on grade calculation for compulsory courses of the second year

The grade for the examination counts for 60% of the final grade. The second partial grade counts for 40% of the final grade.

The Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken. 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. (2014). Group Dynamics (6th edition). Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

  • Golding, W. (1954). Lord of the Flies. London: Faber & Faber Limited (or a later English edition or Dutch translation, for example by Uitgeverij Athenaeum – Polak & Van Gennep, Amsterdam).

  • Assignments, timetable and regulations, available 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.


Dr. Gert-Jan Lelieveld,
Social and Organisation Psychology Unit
Room 2A35
Tel. 071 – 527 6615
E-mail: Lelieveldgj@fsw.leidenuniv.nl