Developmental Patterns in Small and Large Groups

Author(s): Wheelan SA, Mckeage RL


This study investigated developmental patterns in small and large groups. The research asked whether there were proportional differences in the kinds of verbal statements made in these group types and whether these proportions changed over time. A repeated measures analysis of variance revealed both similarities and differences between the group types. Of the seven investigated categories of verbal statements, the proportions and sequencing of Dependent, Counterdependent, and Counterpersonal statements were similar in both group types. The sequencing of Pairing and Fight statements was also similar The small groups generated significantly more Pairing, Flight, and Work statements and less Fight statements. The developmental sequence in both group types was more similar than different. However, participation, Pairing, and Work were significantly lower in the large groups and Fight was significantly higher The study concluded that increased group size does not radically alter development but does appear to negatively affect participation, cohesion, and productivity.

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