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December 18, 1958 - Image 3

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1958-12-18

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It. loss

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

LLIQN DOLLAR PROJECT:
Center Conducts Basic Research in Group Dynamics

By GILBERT WINER
Since its inception thirteen'
years ago, the Research Center for1
Group Dynamlics has conducted
projects valued at nearly two mil-
lion dollars. I
The Research Center is one ofI
the two centers that comprise the
Institute for Social Research, lo-
cated on the University campus.
The other is the Survey Research
Center, the more well-known of
the two.
Prof. Stanley E. Seashore of the
psychology department, and as-
sistant to the director of the In-
stitute for Social Research noted
that the specialists at Group Dly-
namics concern themselves with
basic scientific research on groupj
life. They also use researchI
methods in the solution of urgent
social problems-involving the re-
lations among people in groups.
Staff Conducts Series
The staff, which conducts pro-
jects on a local or national basis,
deals in various areas with under-
standing of group functioning, he
continued. A series of studies has
dealt with ways of measuring
group productivity and the coop-
erative and competitive factors
which increase industrial output.
Another phase of the series
concerns the exchange of commu-
nications and the spread of influ-
ence within and between groups,
Prof. Seashore said. The object of
the iivestigation is to secure posi-
tive relations of sources of collec-
tive 'conflict, hostility and preju-
dice.
Another segment of the study
involves social perceptions and
their impact on social behavior. A
vital area of concern has been
that of developing techniques for
.improving group functioning and
of utilizing group processes to
maximize member adjustment, he
added.
Studies Students
One specific field of research
recently involved a study of 152
boys and girls at the University
Elementary School in Ann Arbor,
Prof. Seashore continued. The ob-
ject was to determine the influ-
ence of group expectations on
children's behavior.
Findings of the research showted
that having an out-going person-
alityis more important than brain
power or physical skill for the
middle-class child who wants to
have more friends, Prof. Seashore
noted,
A middle class child who does
not have much influence with his
peers is more apt to use physical
force as a means of reaching his
objectives than the recognized
classroom leader, he said.
The researchers have developed
a list of 17 characteristics or per-
sonal resources which children
value highly.
Those who ranked high in abil-
ity to influence their classmates
had more of these personal re-

sources than those who had low
influencing ability.
The most influential children at
the lower grades were not neces-
sarily the smartest, but were those
who had such socio-emotional
qualities as "being friendly, not
teasing, easy to get along with,
and not starting fights," Prof.
Seashore continued.
Children's Values
Further research has been done
in connection with the children's
values and their ability to influ-
ence their peers. Last August,
three staff members from the Re-
search Center for Groyp Dynam-
ics published their findings on a'
study of more than 200 Detroit'
grade schoolers who had highlyl
coercive parents and a wide lati-
tude of personal freedom, he re-
ported.
It was found that if a student
has coercive parents but enjoys
personal freedom, he'll rate high
in influence and friendship with
his grade school classmates, he
;aid.
Prof. Seashore noted parents
who punish or threaten were
thought "Coercive." Children who
act without immediate adult su-
pervision were in a condition of
autonomy. A combination of coer-
con and personal autonomy pro-
duced motivation of social leader-
ship in children,
Postulates Theory
The group. postulated a theory
that a child with coercive parents
needs outlets for his hostility and
self-assertion, he said,
Autonomy affords the chance to

vides more overall support. On the position on the organization man,
other hand, groups are attractive claims that the group dynamicists
to their members when they stum- encouraged the development of
ulate expectations that others will .
help individuals achieve their ob- the organization man by deifying
I jectives and these expectations the group. In his terms, group dy-
are realized, he remarked, namicists feel everything should

RESEARCH CENTER-Located4
Research Center for Group Dy
valued at nearly two million d
specialists who work at the build
on group life.
express these needs constructivelyI
in his school group. The findings
of this study are not applicable to
girls, in whom assertiveness isn't
valued, nor to out-of-school cir-
cumstances, he added.
Group dynamic studies abouti
feelings of aggression, friendliness,I
and self-respect as they relate to
group membership have been
highly instructive. In a groupi
where the members are depend-i
ent on one another, hostility is
more likely to arise because one

lHe said that the Research Cen-
ter for Group Dynamics is contin-
$ !, uously operating and has staff in
the field most of the time. One
study now in progress, is a survey
of juvenile delinquency in Flint,,
and an inquiry into the social cir-
cumstances that surround juven-;
ile crime.
Moral Values
Another study of wide signifi-
cance deals with the moral values
of youth; namely, how do youths
acquire their notions of right and
wrong. Other current investiga-
-Daily-Ivan welch tions are examining menta health
on the University campus, the strelation to industrial work and
namics has conducted projects the stresses that ducebad
ollars since its beginning. The The plight of the working moth-
Ing are concerned with research er is newsworthy and the Center
is seeing what happens to family
relations in those families where{
group member expects others to mothers work, he added.4
help him and they fail to do so. The group dynamicists, as sci-
Independence reduces hostility in entists, are impartial to their sub-+
this regard, he said. pect matter, Prof. Seashore noted.
Members Restore Harmony The Center neither espouses nor
In this situation, however, the negates group ideals. Research1
group members who need help may even show that groups have
from one another will be con- negative effects on individuals. At1
cerned about restoring harmony any rate, the objective is to under-
if quarreling arises because each stand groups in every aspect.
feels that all must work together Draws Criticism
to achieve their objectives, Prof. The field of group dynamics
Seashore continued, has drawn sharp criticism. Wil-
Cohesion within the group pro- liam P. Whyte, famous for his ex-

be done by and in groups.
While personal responsibility
and private meditation is bad,
group decisions and togetherness
are good. In short, he feels the
group dynamicists regard man as
impotent while society is strong.
Yet, this extreme position does
not reflect the actual tradition
which the group dynamicists fol-
low, Prof. Seashore continued.
Moreover, Whyte and others state
that society corrupts and inhibits
the individual. The only conclu-
sion would be warfare between the
individual and theorganization.
Conclusion Unacceptable
The director of the Research
Center for Group Dynamics, Prof.
Dorwin Cartwright, of the psy-
chology department, does not ac-
cept the conclusion of inevitable
warfare. His basic assumptions
differ widely from Whyte's.
He thinks that groups are in-
evitable and ubiquitous and that
they mobilize powerful forces
which produce effects of top im-
portance to individuals.
Prof. Cartwright feels that
groups may produce good and bad
consequences. A scientific under-
standing of groups may make an
enhancement of the desirable con-
sequences from groups possible.

II
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I

Organization
Notices

f,

Baha' Student Group, Weekly Meet
Ing, Dec . 18, 8:30 p.m., 725 S. Division.
Topic: "Love and Marriage."
Christian Science Organization, Regu-
lar Testimony Meeting, Dec. 18, 7:30
p.m., Mich, League: Check bulletin
board in lobby for room number.
Congregational-Disciples Guild, Social
Action Luncheon Group, Dec. 18, 12
Noon, Guild House.
Eastern Orthodox Students Society,
Christmas Dance, Dec. 18, 8 p.m., 414
Main St,
Graduate Student Council, Regular
Meeting, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m., Rackham
Bldg., W. Conf. Rm. Discussion of:
graduate housing, parking and Uni-
versity regulations.
Modern Dance Club, No Meeting, Dec.
18.
Sigma Alpha Iota, Christmas Candle-
Light Musicale, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m., First
Methoc4lst-open to public-no charge.
SOC - Student Activities Comm.,
Regular Meeting, Dec. 18, 4:45 p.m.,
3524 SAB.
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