The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts is the essential phrase that sums up Group Dynamics. This characterises the “why” of the social fabric of organizations and why culture has such a strong gravitational pull. Group dynamics describes the social system that humans, by our nature, build and participate in.
Social systems can be invisible and intangible, but they are very much real. Belonging and inclusion drive our alignment and conformance with social groups. This accurately describes how culture as a concept operates within organizations.
When we’re looking at an organization, change and culture, group dynamics helps us understand why culture operates the way it does, why culture is so persistent and resilient and how power, and our relationship to power is expressed.
I go back in time to week 1 of my MBA and the phases of group formation (which in practice has proven to be true!) I’ve encountered it many times since. I walk through the different types of groups and why describing organizational cultures as “families” is counterproductive, especially when we talk about the essential nature of family groups vs. organizations.
More on Group Dynamics in the workplace
Remember Kurt Lewin?
Social Cohesion / Group Cohesion
Tuckman’s 5 stages of group development
More on Social Groups
Fully captioned videos are available on YouTube