Group Behaviour

Group behaviour refers to the way in which individuals interact and behave when they come together as part of a group. Whether it’s in the workplace, in social situations, or within other group settings, group behaviour can have a significant impact on individuals and the group as a whole. Understanding how individuals behave within groups, and how groups function and interact with one another, can be critical to building successful teams and organizations. This area of study is relevant across a wide range of fields, including psychology, sociology, anthropology, and organizational behaviour. Exploring the dynamics of group behaviour can reveal insights into why groups behave the way they do, how they can be managed effectively, and how they can be used to achieve common goals. By studying group behaviour, we can gain a deeper understanding of how individuals interact within groups and how groups can be optimized for success.

Meaning of Group Behaviour

A group can be defined as a set of two or more individuals who work together interdependently to achieve their shared objectives.

Group behaviour is a common occurrence in various settings, including workplaces, schools, and social gatherings. Members of a group interact with one another, express their thoughts and opinions, and work towards common goals. In such scenarios, the behaviour of an individual is not just a result of their personal preferences but also influenced by the dynamics of the group. These group dynamics can significantly impact the behaviour and attitudes of the individuals within the group, shaping their actions, beliefs and values.

Groups can have diverse characteristics, including the size of the group, the level of interdependence, the goals, the norms, and the leadership structure. Effective group behaviour requires clear communication, shared values, and a sense of mutual trust and respect among the members.

Understanding the dynamics of group behaviour can be crucial in various fields such as management, psychology, and sociology, as it can help in creating and maintaining successful group interactions and achieving common goals

Reasons for working in a group

  1. To decrease the sense of insecurity when working or standing alone. Working or standing alone can make some people feel vulnerable or uncertain, which can affect their confidence and productivity. By collaborating with others, they can share responsibilities, skills, and support, which can reduce the risks and enhance the quality of their work.
  2. To attain recognition and social status. Many people value being acknowledged and respected by others in their community or profession. By joining groups or teams that share their interests or goals, they can increase their visibility, influence, and opportunities for growth.
  3. To experience a sense of self-esteem. Having a positive self-image and feeling proud of one’s achievements can contribute to one’s mental health and motivation. By contributing to a collective effort, individuals can feel valued and appreciated for their skills and contributions, which can boost their self-confidence and self-worth.
  4. To achieve success through collective effort. Some tasks or projects require more than one person’s input or effort to be completed effectively. By collaborating with others who have complementary skills, knowledge, or resources, individuals can increase their chances of achieving their goals and reaching higher levels of success.
  5. To combine talents and resources to accomplish a shared objective. In some cases, the combination of different perspectives, talents, and resources can lead to more creative, efficient, and impactful results. By forming teams or networks that leverage each other’s strengths, individuals can tackle complex challenges and generate innovative solutions.
  6. To expand one’s network and build relationships with others. Joining groups or teams can provide opportunities to meet new people and establish connections with others who share similar interests, values, or goals. By interacting with a diverse range of individuals, individuals can expand their social and professional network, which can lead to new opportunities and collaborations in the future.
  7. To learn from others and gain new insights and perspectives. Working with others who have different backgrounds, experiences, or expertise can expose individuals to new ideas, approaches, and knowledge. By being open to different perspectives and learning from others, individuals can expand their horizons and improve their own skills and understanding.
  8. To enhance one’s sense of belonging and community. Humans have a natural desire to feel connected and valued by others. By being part of a group or team, individuals can experience a sense of belonging and shared purpose, which can provide a source of emotional support and fulfilment.
  9. To share the workload and reduce stress. Many tasks or projects can be overwhelming or stressful when done alone. By sharing the workload with others, individuals can distribute the responsibilities, which can reduce the pressure and allow for more efficient and enjoyable work.
  10. To have fun and enjoy social activities with others. Collaborating with others can also provide opportunities for socializing, having fun, and engaging in activities that bring joy and satisfaction. By participating in group events, celebrations, or hobbies, individuals can enhance their well-being and make meaningful connections with others.

Types of Group Behaviour

  1. Collective Action: This refers to when a group of people take the same action in response to an incident. Often, such actions are against the usual ways of people, such as taking justice into their own hands by punishing a thief caught stealing in the market, instead of handing them over to the police. Collective action can occur when individuals feel that their rights or interests are being violated, and they decide to join forces to make a statement or seek redress. This can take various forms, such as protests, strikes, boycotts, or civil disobedience. While such actions can be effective in raising awareness or achieving change, they can also be risky or illegal if they involve violence or property damage.
  2. Spectators: These are groups of people who gather together to watch live events, such as football matches, dramas, concerts, or other performances. They usually react in a similar way to what they watch, such as cheering, clapping, or commenting on the performance. Spectators can form a distinct culture of their own, with their own rituals, symbols, and codes of behaviour. They can also influence the outcome of the event by providing feedback or creating an atmosphere of support or pressure for the performers. However, they can also be vulnerable to conflicts or violence if they have different affiliations or interests.
  3. Peaceful Protest: This type of group behaviour occurs when people demonstrate their grievances in a non-violent way, such as through rallies, marches, sit-ins, or other forms of civil disobedience. This can happen when people feel marginalized, neglected, or deprived of their rights or dignity over a period of time. Peaceful protests can be a powerful way of expressing dissent or mobilizing support for a cause. They can also be a way of engaging in dialogue with those in power or raising public awareness about an issue. However, they can also face resistance or repression from authorities and require careful planning, coordination, and leadership to be effective.
  4. Bullying: This is a common problem among students in secondary schools, especially in boarding schools, where a group of senior students may harass or intimidate junior students for various reasons, such as to assert their dominance or satisfy their ego. Bullying can have serious consequences for the mental and physical health of the victims, as well as for the social and moral climate of the school. It can also reflect wider issues of inequality, discrimination, or violence in society. Addressing bullying requires a comprehensive approach that involves educating students, empowering victims, and enforcing rules and sanctions against bullies.


This is a formal organisation comprising individuals who are not necessarily connected but have united to accomplish a shared objective. The members have diverse backgrounds and are brought together through a common goal.

Forms/types of secondary group

  1. Educational institutions: This consists of primary and secondary schools, as well as tertiary establishments such as universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.
  2. Comprise: This refers to corporate entities that participate in both trade and manufacturing endeavours. Some examples include UNRULIER NIG. PLC, MTN, and GLOBACOM.
  3. Trade unions: These are organizations formed by workers to protect their interests and rights in the workplace, such as salaries, work hours, and working conditions. These include workers associations like;

NUJ:       Nigeria Union of journalist

NUT:                    Nigeria Union of Teachers

NASU:        Non-Academic staff union of education and associated institutions

NUP:          Nigeria Union of parishioners

NURTW: Nigeria Union of road transport workers

  1. Religious groups: refer to all churches and mosques. Voluntary organisations are comprised of individuals who provide humanitarian aid to society. Religious groups are typically formed around a shared faith or set of beliefs and may have a physical place of worship, such as a church or mosque. These groups can provide spiritual guidance, support and a sense of community for their members.
  2. Voluntary organisations: These are typically non-profit groups that work towards social or humanitarian causes. They often rely on volunteers and donations to carry out their activities. The examples are given, such as the Man ‘O’ War and Boys’ Brigades, may provide youth development programs or educational opportunities. Meanwhile, the Red Cross and the National Council of Women’s Societies may focus on providing aid during times of crisis or advocating for women’s rights, respectively. Overall, these organisations play an important role in improving the well-being of individuals and communities.

Functions of secondary groups

  1. Upholding law and order within the community. This refers to the responsibility of ensuring that the laws of the land are enforced and that individuals within the society are held accountable for their actions.
  2. Fostering unity within the community. This involves promoting a sense of togetherness among the members of society, which can be achieved through mutual respect, cooperation and understanding.
  3. Cultivating a culture of friendliness and peaceful coexistence among community members. This can be accomplished by encouraging positive interactions and relationships, which can help reduce tension and promote a more harmonious environment.
  4. Encouraging division of labour within organizations. This involves the delegation of tasks based on the individual strengths and abilities of employees, which can help maximize efficiency and productivity.
  5. Facilitating personal growth and development among individuals within organizations. This can be achieved through the promotion of career advancement opportunities and the encouragement of continuous learning and development.
  1. Preparing individuals for leadership roles within the wider society. This involves providing individuals with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to assume greater responsibility and contribute positively to the development of their communities.
  2. Fostering a sense of accountability and responsibility among members of society. This involves promoting the idea that individuals have a responsibility to themselves and to their community, and that their actions have consequences. By encouraging accountability, individuals can be held responsible for their actions and are more likely to act in a responsible and respectful manner.
  3. Encouraging community involvement and participation. This involves promoting the idea that members of society should be actively involved in the decision-making and governance processes of their communities. By encouraging participation, individuals can have a greater say in shaping the future of their communities and can work together to address common challenges.
  4. Building social capital within the community. This involves developing relationships and networks among community members that can be used to address common challenges and achieve common goals. By building social capital, individuals can work together more effectively and achieve greater success than they could individually.
  5. Promoting cultural diversity and inclusivity within the society. This involves recognizing and celebrating the unique cultural backgrounds and perspectives of all members of society. By promoting diversity and inclusivity, individuals can develop a greater understanding and appreciation of different cultures, which can help to reduce prejudice and discrimination and promote greater social harmony.

Conflict within social groups

Conflict refers to a lack of understanding or disagreement that arises between two or more individuals. This can occur due to differing opinions, values, or interests, leading to tension and potential hostility.

A conflict may arise when individuals are unable to communicate effectively, leading to misinterpretation of intentions or actions. This can result in hurt feelings, frustration, and a lack of trust between the parties involved.

Furthermore, conflict can be fuelled by a variety of factors, including power imbalances, competition for resources, and cultural differences. It can manifest in various forms, including verbal disputes, physical altercations, and even warfare.

Resolving conflicts often requires effective communication, active listening, and a willingness to compromise or find common ground. Seeking mediation or professional assistance may also be necessary in more complex or long-standing conflicts.

Causes of conflicts

  1. Selfishness: It is a common occurrence in our society for individuals to assert their own rights, and any attempt to deprive them of these rights will often lead to negative reactions. Selfish behaviour can cause conflict and friction within social organisations.
  2. Lack of cooperation: Failure to work as a team often leads to disagreements, misunderstandings, and divisions. Collaboration and mutual understanding are essential for peaceful and productive group dynamics.
  3. Poor leadership: Greed and corruption in leaders can lead to conflicts within a society. Effective leadership is essential to promote unity, fairness and cooperation.
  4. Lack of respect for religion: Religious groups play an important role in promoting peace and harmony in society. However, imposition of one’s religious beliefs and physical threats to prove the superiority of one’s religion can lead to conflicts.
  5. Communication gap: Conflicts can arise when important information is not communicated on time. Effective communication is essential to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
  6. Laziness and inefficiency: Diligent workers can become frustrated and protest when some members of a group are lazy and inefficient. Such behaviour can lead to conflicts within a team.
  7. Criminal activities: Criminal activities such as kidnapping, murder, fraud, and immorality can lead to serious conflicts within a social group. It is essential to ensure that such activities are discouraged and dealt with appropriately to maintain peace and order in society.

Effects of conflicts in the society

  1. Disruption of law and order can result in the loss of both life and property, as well as create a sense of insecurity within a community.
  2. The loss of life and property is a significant consequence of a breakdown in law and order, and this can have lasting impacts on the affected individuals and the wider community.
  3. Insecurity is a feeling of vulnerability and uncertainty caused by a breakdown in law and order, and this can lead to people feeling unsafe in their homes and neighbourhoods.
  4. The hindrance of progress in society is an additional effect of a breakdown in law and order, as this can deter investment and development, and ultimately have a negative impact on the economy.
  5. A further consequence of a breakdown in law and order is the creation of disunity within a community, as people may become divided over how best to deal with the situation and may feel less inclined to work together.

Conflict Resolution

  1. Dialogue involves two parties communicating with each other, often with the help of a mediator, in order to find a peaceful resolution to their differences.
  2. Legal avenues, such as seeking justice through the courts, can also be used to resolve conflicts.
  3. In some cases, the police may be called upon to intervene in conflicts between individuals or groups.
  4. Government intervention can take the form of setting up a panel or committee to help mediate between groups involved in the conflict.
  5. Family and community leaders, such as a family head or village elder, can also play a role in resolving conflicts that arise within their community.
  6. War is a last resort and a negative way of resolving conflicts, as it can have devastating consequences for all involved, including the loss of life and destruction of property.

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