This is my first issue as editor of Group Dynamics, and I think it’s a terrific issue to start off my tenure. The issue starts with an editorial in which I grapple with the question of, What is Group Dynamics? The question is complicated and important because it outlines the boundaries of the types of papers we consider for the journal. We receive a number of submission manuscripts that refer to groups (e.g., how one might feel about an organization) but do not really study people interacting with each other in groups. Similarly, some manuscripts study people in groups but do not study the processes or outcomes of the groups. As I indicate in the editorial, groups are a collection of three or more people who interact with each other, who come together for a common purpose and outcome and perhaps who share a common identity with the group. Group members congregate for a common purpose, and so a crowd of people who are together coincidentally is not a group. And so, group dynamics refers to the study of group processes, interactions of individuals within groups, group and individual outputs and/or a shared identity. The journal encourages authors to submit their best work, and so the editorial includes some tips on improving one’s chances of publishing a paper. Finally, the editorial describes two types of open call papers. First, the Practice Review is a type of paper that provides a scholarly review of a research literature and emphasizes the practice implications of the research. Second, the Evidence-Based Case Study is a type of manuscript in which a single group is studied intensively perhaps because of the novelty of the group or construct or perhaps as a demonstration of a proof of concept prior to embarking on a larger empirical study. Both the editorial and the open call for papers can be accessed from the journal web page.
This issue includes three empirical papers from a wide range of international authors from Norway, China and France touching on work groups, therapy groups and teams within organizations. The first published paper of the issue by Yanhon Tu and colleagues is “Team ability disparity and goal interdependence influence team members’ affective and informational states.” In this study, the authors ask, What happens when people in a work group experience a disparity in the abilities among the group members? They found that more perceived disparity among group member abilities had a negative effect on a group, especially when group goals required cooperation among members. This implies that managers might select team members with similar abilities in order to improve cooperation, satisfaction and outcomes. The second paper of the issue by Leitemo and colleagues is “The role of attachment anxiety and avoidance for reduced interpersonal problems in training group-analytic therapy.” The researchers found that lower attachment anxiety in the group leader, in the individual trainee and in the average of other group members predicted a greater reduction in trainee interpersonal distress. The findings suggest the potential importance of assessing for attachment anxiety during pre-group preparation when considering the composition of therapy groups. The third paper by Abrantes and colleagues is “Managing the unforeseen when time is scarce: How temporal personality and team improvised adaptation can foster team performance.” This study looked at how organizational teams perform during periods of disruption and with little time. Teams that are future-oriented and that acknowledge that they must respond quickly to a disruption were able to more effectively achieve their goals. I encourage you to read these interesting and diverse papers. You can download the papers from the journal’s web page.