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Small Groups as Complex Systems
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Small Groups as Complex Systems
Formation, Coordination, Development, and Adaptation



May 2000 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
`Arrow, McGrath and Berdahl's Small Groups as Complex Systems will change the way you think about research, and even the way you think about science.... The book is excellent, one of those very rare works that will have substantial impact on the field. I would use the book without hesitation in any advanced graduate seminar dealing with groups' - Donelson R Forsyth, Virginia Commonwealth University

This new general theory of small groups as complex systems draws on general systems theory, dynamical systems theory, and complexity and chaos theory.

The authors view groups as adaptive, dynamic systems that are driven by interactions among group members and by transactions between the group and its embedding contexts, as well as by external pressures.

By virtue of the empirical material integrated within this elegant analysis, the authors offer a more complete understanding of the nature of group behaviour and the factors which shape it.

 
PART ONE: ORIENTATION, HISTORY AND OVERVIEW OF THE THEORY
 
Introduction
 
Small Group Research
The Past and Some Needs for the Future

 
 
Groups as Complex Systems
Overview of the Theory

 
 
PART TWO: THE THEORY IN DETAIL
 
Group Formation
Assembly and Emergence

 
 
Local Dynamics
Coordinating Members, Tasks and Tools

 
 
Global Dynamics
Stability and Change within the Group System

 
 
Contextual Dynamics
Adaptation of the Group to Multiple Embedding Contexts

 
 
Metamorphosis
Endings and Transformations

 
 
PART THREE: ISSUES AND STRATEGIES
 
Implications of Our Theory for Constructing a Research Program
 
Some Research Strategies for Studying Groups as Complex Systems

Whilst this is an excellent book it is at a higher level than needed for our course. I would recommend it as an masters level course reader. It offers a new perspective on an old subject and links current thinking around the science of complexity with the social phenomena of groups in a concise way.

Mr Bren Cook
Health , University of Bolton
January 19, 2016

An exellent book that presents a holistic approach on reaseach on small groups and suggests a more holistic way of understanding and researching the complexity of small groups in a deeper manner. Ideal for post grad & doctorate level. However, too specific for our course level of understanding small group dynamics in an educational context.

Mr Juha Lahti
Department of Education, University of Jyvaskyla
February 15, 2013

Christian education in churches often takes place in the context of small groups, and knowledge of social theories about groups is crucial to manage them well. For those specializing in this direction, this is highly recommended reading

Dr Jack Barentsen
Practical Theology, Evangelische Theologische Faculteit
December 31, 2010

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