Group as a Unit of Analysis

Chapter
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)

Abstract

A group can be viewed as an assembly of individual members but also as a collective entity with its own characteristics and dynamics. We argue that in order to understand connections between the individuals and the group-as-a-whole, one has to assume that groups are systems which can be analyzed at multiple, not just two levels. Below the level of the ‘group-as-a-whole’, there are many intermediate levels built one on top of one another. At each level of abstraction, a new organization emerges which has some causal power over the elements at lower levels. Higher level phenomena can be described as patterns built from elements at lower levels. In this chapter we review the existing theories that take a multilevel perspective on groups and conclude that this approach enables a well-founded empirical study of emergence of group as a collective entity.

Keywords

Coordination Pattern Symbolic Interaction Social Encounter Social Field Collective Entity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WarsawWarsawPoland

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