04875 - Psychology of Groups

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2017/2018

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will:

  • know the main psychological theories involved in the dynamics and conflicts between groups;
  • know the theoretical and methodological aspects involved in group processes;
  • have the skills to manage group dynamics;
  • have the theoretical and methodological skills to build a business network with different professionals and other agencies in the area.

Course contents

The course's aim is to acquire knowledge about the processes of group in the theoretical perspective of social psychology. The constitutional aspects of a group will be examined: the socialization, the development of the group (i.e. its changes over time), the main dynamic phenomena, such as status and roles systems, the construction of implicit and explicit norms, structures and communication networks, and the various ways to exercise leadership. Then, the forces that tend to keep together the group (conformity and cohesion) and the forces that can threaten this union (deviance, internal conflicts) will be considered. Issues related to decision-making processes and the efficiency of the working groups will be examined as well.
Finally, in the second part of the course the issue of the relationship with the authority and the concepts of obedience, disobedience and deviance will be addressed more specifically, with the aim of providing a clear discussion of the underlying dynamics of social change and stability.
The outcomes relate to the ability to more easily read the group phenomena, to enhance the awareness of one's own role in the group and the ability to be proactive and constructive in group dynamics.

The program covers the following topics:

  • the significance of group membership in human life
  • the entrance in a group
  • the structural phenomena of the group: status, roles, leadership, standards
  • the dynamic phenomena of cohesion, conformity, deviance, conflict
  • obedience and disobedience to the authority

The period of the lessons is in the second semester (from February to April)

Readings/Bibliography

1.    G. Speltini, A. Palmonari, I gruppi sociali, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1999
2.    S. Passini, D. Morselli, Psicologia dell'obbedienza e della disobbedienza, Roma, Carocci, 2010

Teaching methods

Besides the lectures, some exercises will be carried out (paper-pencil, role-playing) in order to illustrate certain aspects of group life. Moreover, part of the course will take place via e-learning.

Assessment methods

At the end of the lessons, the student have to take an exam (the assessments will be with scale 30). The exam will be a writing with three open questions in a hour and an half. Before the end of the course a list of the possible examination questions will be provided by the teacher.

In order to take the exam, electronic registration is required, in compliance with mandatory deadlines.

Students who fail an exam cannot retake it at the subsequent exam date.

Teaching tools

Lessons will be accompanied by PowerPoint slides. Part of the course will take place via e-learning (the details will be provided at the beginning of the course).

Office hours

See the website of Stefano Passini