Self-Organization in Social Groups

  • Wolfgang Tschacher
  • Ewald Johannes Brunner
  • Günter Schiepek
Part of the Springer Series in Synergetics book series (SSSYN, volume 58)


A systemic approach to group dynamics is discussed on the basis of self-organization theory. Groups are conceived of as nonlinear systems characterized by microscopic complexity, circular causality and openness to their psycho-social environments. One possible way of research on group patterns through recursive sculpturing is described; pilot study results with this method are presented. A computational shell for the simulation of social distance regulation is introduced which models attributes of group dynamics by showing different kinds of homeostatic behavior. Finally, consequences of the self-organizational view for the field of management and organizational theory are discussed. Options and restrictions of indirect evolutionary management are inferred from synergetics and recent trends in organizational development.

In the field of psychology a systemic viewpoint may look back upon a long tradition of theories that have been designed in a holistic or Gestalt fashion. Lately, systemic therapy, in particular, has deviated from the conventional personality-oriented thinking and has contributed to call attention to the systemic character of social interaction. In the past years systemic thinking has proved valuable in many clinical areas (family therapy, working with groups in supervision, training, or therapy), whereas the empirical foundations of this field remained insufficient (Wynne, 1988). In this context the concept of psychological synergetics turns out to be an innovative way of connecting a systemic approach to clinical practice empirically (Tschacher, 1990; Schiepek, 1991).

Self-organizing systems have been studied extensively in the field of the natural sciences; yet phenomena of self-organization can be observed in the field of psychology and social sciences as well. We expect that a broadened perspective may be gained for these disciplines by new methods and by the interdisciplinary approach of dynamical science.


Cellular Automaton Group Process Dynamical System Theory Optimum Distance Group Pattern 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Tschacher
  • Ewald Johannes Brunner
  • Günter Schiepek

There are no affiliations available

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