Johnson and Johnson in their corroboration Joining Together: Group Theory and Group Skills present strong data supporting group theory and its’ dynamics and associated elements. Group theory in is simplest form is the combination of constructs and dynamics that is necessary to develop, maintain and support a successful group and group outcome.
Group Theory Elements and Dynamics
According to Johnson & Johnson there are five major elements that must be present for a group to successfully reach a goal. The five elements are positive interdependence, individual accountability, promotive interaction, appropriate use of social skills, and group processing. One of the factors established in group dynamics is that to have a group, two or more must be present and in like mindset of achieving a common goal. For this goal to be achieved certain skills must be present for a successful outcome.
The skills required to have a successful group, and certainly to have a successful outcome, involve every group
member and certainly his or her participation and commitment. As listed by the authors one of the elements, positive interdependence of group members is necessary to have a successful group. This particular element ensures that one member cannot succeed without coordinating his or her efforts with all the other group members to complete the task. This specific element also helps to eliminate diffusion of group responsibility. Each group member must partake equally and effectively in achieving the set goal so all members must have the same set of motivational factors.
First and foremost to be successful the group must achieve its goals, maintain a good working relationship among its’ members, and lastly be able to adapt to the changing conditions it meets during the process of accomplishing the goal (Johnson & Johnson, 2000 P. 12).
Clear, relevant and concise goals must be established and agreed upon by group members as such that a high level of commitment is evoked insuring completion of every group members’ interdependent contribution to the goal. Two-way communication is paramount for the group to be a success and all members should be aware that each and every one is to assume and participate in the role of leader. There should be a balance in power and decision-making, usually the preferred method being by consensus. According to Johnson and Johnson controversies are certainly going to arise in the group process. When this occurs group members should challenge conclusions and reasoning, resulting in creative decision-making and problem solving. This particular group dynamic presents an opportunity for growth for the group members. Group members should face conflicts which will be promoted by incompatibilities and engage in problem-solving negotiations to resolve such conflicts. Several strategies can be used including withdrawal, forcing, smoothing, compromising and problem solving. Conflicts arising are an important factor and tend to increase group effectiveness (Johnson & Johnson, 2000).
In summation the arguments and data presented by Johnson and Johnson prove that by applying the principles in their work that a successful goal can be attained supporting experiential learning and group theory.
Johnson, David W., & Johnson, Frank P. (2000) Joining Together: Group Theory and Group Skills. Boston, Ma.: Allyn and Bacon.