Exercise and Sport Psychology

Group Dynamics and Leadership

Importance of Group Dynamics

Group Dynamics and Leadership

William Schutz presented a theory with three phases of development, noting that groups tend to cycle and sometimes recycle through these phases. The three phases are the inclusion phase, the control phase, and the engagement phase. For instance, when a new member joins the group, it may recycle through the inclusion phase.

Here are some typical behaviors you might observe in groups. Identify which phase of Schutz's group development theory they most represent.

You overhear people in a meeting discussing whether they really want to be part of the club. One person says, "I feel like an outsider."


A football team is having a lot of conflict about who gets to call the plays.


Whenever The Sport Center's director makes a suggestion, someone resists his idea, saying, in one way or another, "That won't work."


The Dynamos lost the game tonight, but they played superbly. In the locker room, they congratulated each other on doing their best. The coach said, "You were playing with one mind, one goal.... There was such great collaboration in everything you did."


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From Exercise and Sport Psychology by James Gavin, PhD, 2005, Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
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