Social influence and leadership
In this summary I will examine the social influence of small groups. There are many factors that influence groups and their performance. I will focus on the effects of status, leadership styles and conformity on groups. I will also discuss the importance conflict management plays in the overall success of group processes.
There are many factors that influence small group interaction. Status and power, leadership, and group norms all play a part in the social influence of groups. To understand how groups can be successful we must examine these influences. I will concentrate on three areas; status, leadership styles, and conformity.
When we hear the word status, we are likely to think of prestige. These two words are welded together in common thinking. However, status used in this context will refer to the position an individual occupies. That position may have a great deal of prestige, as in the case of a judge, or it may carry very little prestige, as in the case of a gas station attendant. Status can also be defined as one's position relative to the others in a group. Those with high status tend to have more power or ability to influence others within the group.
The first type of status is ascribed status. This is an involuntary status. You do not ask for it nor can you choose it. It is usually dependent on some virtue such as family wealth, race, or gender. Many groups have an established "pecking order". This is usually attributed to ascribed status. I often see this kind of status within groups of students at school.
On some occasions when new groups are formed there is not an established "pecking order". This is when attained status comes into play. This type of status is earned or accomplished. It can be the results of our effort or lack of effort. People normally rise to positions of high-attained status based on the merits of their own individual accomplishments. The effects of status can influence our own behavior along with others in group interaction. While e may find that we have a high degree of status in one group, we may have a low degree in another.
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