04875 - Psychology of Groups

Academic Year 2021/2022

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 group processes 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.

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,norms
  • the dynamic phenomena of cohesion, conformity, deviance, conflict
  • obedience and disobedience to the authority
  • the actual societies and the risk of indifference

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


1. G. Speltini, A. Palmonari, I gruppi sociali, Il Mulino (except chapter 6)

2. S. Passini, D. Morselli, Psicologia dell'obbedienza e della disobbedienza, Carocci

3. Some lecture notes to download from the online platform

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. On the e-learning of the course, students can find the complete 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.

In case of exams with a large number of participants, correction before the next exam may not be guaranteed. However, the six annual exams per student will be guaranteed.

ERASMUS students can choose to perform a written or oral form, always with the same modalities.

Teaching tools

Lessons will be accompanied by PowerPoint slides

Office hours

See the website of Stefano Passini


Gender equality Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.