Group process refers to actions that are specific to groups. Such actions are a result of emotional construction. As far as group process is concerned, the main variable is cohesion because it is discussed widely in many clinical and therapeutic studies. However, there is a big difference regarding operational and conceptual definition of the variable.
In many studies, cohesion is used to mean emotional bonds among members of a particular group. It also refers to the shared values within a group. The values serve as the blueprint of the group because they control group behavior. Group dynamics studies employ cohesion in therapeutic association. However, it means something different in the group process because it refers to the positive therapeutic results.
Scholars use the variable in a number of ways, depending on what they want to express. Regarding group process, the variable means blending, oneness, infectivity, and groupthink. Regarding group dynamics, the variable refers to anti-group culture, aggregation, disintegration, and individuation.
By understanding applicability of the variable, the therapist can comprehend how members of the group perceive their leader (Bednar, Melnick, & Kaul, 1974). In some circumstances, the leader is perceived positively meaning that he or she is viewed as an engaging person while in other circumstances he or she is viewed negatively meaning that he or she is believed to be argumentative.
Apart from cohesion, other variables affecting the outcome of the group include group potency, team-member exchange, and emotional climate. These variables affect the functioning of the group in a number of ways. In the formation of the group, members have certain expectations and objectives.
However, strengthening the group is usually the first objective of any group. Therefore, each group member would work hard to ensure that the group is strong. A strong group would reward its members in the long run (Yalom, & Leszcz, 2005). In this case, members calculate what they would obtain from the group before joining it.
Group process refers to the formation of the group, as well as its development. However, group dynamics refers to the aspects of the group, including the mode of communication, leadership, interaction, and the rules governing human behavior. Group dynamics is very different from the group process. Group process would entail cohesion because people must agree to work together.
The dynamics of the group influence the behavior of members because they determine whether interactions are two-way, aggressive, or accommodating. Through the study of variables associated with group dynamics, the group environment would be understood better.
Variables at the group dynamics level include the number of group members, the time limit set by group members, the responsibilities delegated to each group member, the effectiveness of the individual regarding time management, the availability of skilled individuals in the group, and the societal standing of group members.
Apart from the above variables, other factors influence the performance of the group (Wilson, Rapin, & Haley-Banez, 2004). These factors include the communication technique employed by group members and distribution of power in the group.
Individuals trusted with power should be those that command respect from various group members. Variables at the process level are different from variables at the group dynamics level. Those occurring at the process level bring together the group while those occurring at the dynamics level influence the performance of the group.
Bednar, R. L., Melnick, J., & Kaul, T. J. (1974). Risk, responsibility, and structure: A conceptual framework for initiating group counseling and psychotherapy. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 21(1), 31-37
Wilson, F. R., Rapin, L. S., & Haley-Banez, L. (2004). How teaching group work can be guided by foundational documents: Best practice guidelines, diversity principles, training standards. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 29(1), 19-29
Yalom, I. D., & Leszcz, M. (2005). The therapeutic factors. In The theory and practice of group psychotherapy (5th ed.). New York: Basic Books.