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Group Dynamics


Students of the Dutch bachelor’s programme, see Groepsdynamica

Entry requirements

Students are strongly advised to first follow the first-year (propaedeuse) course in Social and Organisational Psychology.


The course focuses on analysing group phenomena – such as group cohesion, group and sub-group formation, conformity, influence, leadership, joint activities, decision-making and intra- and intergroup conflicts – from the perspective of different theories of group dynamics. The focus lies not only on acquiring knowledge and understanding of different theoretical approaches, but also on how to apply these and develop good writing skills.

Course objectives

At the end of the course:

  • Students can recognize and identify general theories in the field of group dynamics, as well as of the methodological foundations the discipline.

  • For their future career, students can conceptualize problems and offer solutions based on knowledge from the field of group dynamics.

  • Students can design a simple research study in order to assess their theoretical analyses and recommendations (proposed interventions).

  • Students can clearly formulate and structure their evidence-informed analyses and recommendations (see above) for colleagues in the field and a wider public (including potential clients).

  • Students can recognize and identify the group dynamic aspects of project-based collaboration in teams.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course. The exception here is that first-year bachelor students are assigned and registered for all components in the first semester or academic year by the administration of their bachelor programme. The programme will communicate to these students for which course components and for which period the registration applies.


You must register for each exam in My Studymap at least 10 days before the exam date. Don’t forget! For more information, see the enrolment procedure.
You cannot take an exam without a valid registration in My Studymap.

Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Students who take this course as part of a LDE minor or a premaster programme, exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current registration procedure.

Mode of instruction

Lectures: in 7 lectures, different theories of group dynamics are explained and applied to everyday group phenomena. The written assignments that students produce at different times during the course (in pairs) are also the subject of plenary discussions in the lectures. The lectures also pay attention to ethics in group dynamic research.

3 written assignments, which are available via Brightspace, must be completed during the course: in these students apply theoretical insights to group phenomena, as described in newspaper articles and William Golding’s (1954) novel Lord of the Flies. This should lead to a concrete recommendation on how to solve these real-life or fictional problems. The analyses and recommendation should be clearly formulated, for colleagues and a wider public. In order to help the students master the above skills, these assignments focus on the following: formulating causal models in which theoretical analyses of particular group problems culminate in specific recommendations for group dynamic interventions; clearly formulating analyses and recommendations for colleagues and a wider public.; and developing simple designs to assess the value of the students’ own analyses and/or recommendations.

Assessment method

Knowledge and understanding are being assessed by the multiple-choice exam.
Application of knowledge and understanding is assessed in the 3 written assignments, in which the ability to write in clear language for colleagues and a wider public is also assessed. Skills in developing simple research designs are also assessed as a part of the written assignments. When the aggregate grade for the 3 written assignments falls below 5.50, one of the 3 written assignments may be re-submitted as a resit. Since all pairs of student received elaborate collective as well as individual feedback on all of the 3 assignments, the maximum grade for the re-submitted assignment is Satisfactory (6.0).
The examination counts for 60% of the final mark. The mark for the 3 written assignments counts for 40% of the final mark.

The Institute of Psychology uses fixed rules for grade calculation and compulsory attendance. It also follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. All students are required to take and pass the Scientific Integrity Test with a score of 100% in order to learn about the practice of integrity in scientific writing. Students are given access to the quiz via a module on Brightspace. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of these three policies.

Reading list

  • Forsyth, D.R. (2018) Group dynamics (7th edition). Boston, MA.: Cengage Learning, Chapter 1, 2, and 16 not included. An alternative for this physical study book is the e-book with extra digital materials offered by the authors of this book. Available via MindTap on

  • Golding, W. (1954). Lord of the Flies. London: Faber & Faber Limited (or a later English edition or Dutch translation, for example by Uitgeverij Athenaeum – Polak & Van Gennep, Amsterdam).

  • Assignments, timetable and regulations, available via Brightspace.

Contact information