People who choose a career in the recreation or leisure fields will spend a large amount of their time in groups. Group Dynamics in Recreation and Leisure: Creating Conscious Groups Through an Experiential Approach builds skills not only in working in group settings but also in creating and facilitating conscious groups. A conscious group is one that recognizes the personal growth of its members as the main group objective. Most people in recreational activities and events are looking to meet people and take part in positive group interaction, providing recreation professionals with a perfect opportunity to develop successful conscious groups.
Group Dynamics in Recreation and Leisure introduces group dynamics theory and current research as it applies to recreation and leisure settings. It presents the key concepts and terms, a brief history of the field, and the various theories and models of group development. The text then explains the concept of the conscious group, describes the nature and components of a conscious group, and applies experiential learning theory to working with these groups.
Group Dynamics in Recreation and Leisure also moves beyond the theory to show students that their understanding of group dynamics can be a meaningful and realistic tool. They’ll learn to apply the theory to the practical factors and issues involved in leading and working with conscious groups. They’ll explore group goal setting; clarification of objectives and expectations; processes for decision making and problem solving; positive communication; ethics, morals, and values; effective leadership of recreation groups; and the effects of conflict, power, gender, and environment on group functioning.
Students will also find a thorough examination of common issues that arise when working with groups, including potential pitfalls and strategies for dealing with or avoiding those pitfalls. They’ll learn about the strengths, weaknesses, and myths of group interaction, including signs of “illness” within groups; working with alternative groups, such as cooperative living groups, as well as involuntary groups and unwilling participants; and capitalizing on diversity and difference. Because those in recreation professions so often work with large groups, crowd dynamics is also discussed. The authors describe how individual and small-group behavior can affect larger groups and also look at mob behavior and riots.
Throughout the book, case studies, scenarios, and examples from leisure services, parks, tourism, and experiential education help students better understand and apply the information. These are some other student-friendly features:
Toolbox Tips on strategies and techniques for working with groups
Learning activities that apply the principles discussed in the text
Web sites for further exploration of the ideas in the text
Group Dynamics in Recreation and Leisure: Creating Conscious Groups Through an Experiential Approach provides a new view of group dynamics with a unique focus on recreation, leisure, and experiential education settings. Through its concentration on skill development to facilitate productive group work, Group Dynamics in Recreation and Leisure renders the topic of group dynamics as meaningful,realistic, and applicable for both students and practitioners.
Part I: Understanding the Conscious Group
Chapter 1: Introduction to Group Dynamics
Groups in Human History
Classifications of Groups
Why Study Groups?
Chapter 2: Group Formation and Development Theory
Why People Join Groups
What Makes Groups Attractive?
What Happens Next?
Group Development Theories
The Group–Individual Relationship
Questions for Discussion
Chapter 3: The Conscious Group
Personal Growth in Recreation Groups
Experiential Education and Group Dynamics
Part II: Developing the Conscious Group
Chapter 4: Group Goals, Objectives, and Expectations
Clarifying Goals, Objectives, and Expectations
Chapter 5: Values, Ethics, and Morals
Applying Moral Theory
Moral Reasoning Exercises
Chapter 6: Decision Making and Problem Solving
Advantages of Group Decision Making
Disadvantages of Group Decision Making
A Six-Step Process for Making Decisions
Common Methods of Group Decision Making
The Leader and Decision Making
Chapter 7: Power and Conflict
The Operation of Power in Groups
Chapter 8: Gender in Group Dynamics
Gender and Sex
Gender and Recreation Behavior
Generalizations About Gender-Specific Behaviors
Gender and Leadership
Chapter 9: Group Leadership
What Is Leadership?
Applying Leadership Theory
Chapter 10: Environmental Impacts on Groups
Part III: Addressing Issues in the Conscious Group
Chapter 11: Strengths, Weaknesses and Myths in Group Dynamics
Strengths of Groups
Weaknesses of Groups
When to Work Alone
Myths in Group Dynamics
Practical Techniques for Addressing Group Needs
Chapter 12: Crowds and the Mob Mentality
Behavior in Crowds
Strategies for Working With Collectives
Chapter 13: Alternative Groups
Working With Alternative Recreation Groups
Chapter 14: Diversity and Difference
Diversity and Difference
Types of Diversity
Benefits of Diverse Groups
Shortcomings of Diverse Groups
Working With Diverse Groups
Timothy S. O'Connell, PhD, is an associate professor in the department of recreation and leisure studies at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, where he teaches outdoor recreation and group dynamics courses.
With over 20 years of experience as a wilderness guide, O'Connell has developed firsthand experience of the workings and outcomes of group dynamics. As an instructor at the high school and college level, he has taught group dynamics for 15 years. O'Connell is currently conducting research on the social psychology of groups as well as developing a new outdoor recreation curriculum to include group dynamics courses.
O'Connell is coeditor for the Journal of Experiential Education and a member of the Association for Experiential Education, the National Recreation and Parks Association, and the Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario.
O'Connell and his wife, Dr. Mary Breunig, reside in Ridgeville, Ontario. An avid outdoor recreationist, he has led over 100 wilderness trips, including integrated trips of people with and without disabilities, with Dr. Breunig, coauthor of Outdoor Leadership: Theory and Practice (Human Kinetics).
In his free time, he enjoys rock climbing, sea kaying, and home brewing.
Brent Cuthbertson, PhD, is an associate professor and director in the School of Outdoor Recreation, Parks, and Tourism at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, where he teaches courses in outdoor leadership and experiential education.
Cuthbertson has over 25 years of experience as a wilderness adventure educator and guide. In both 2002 and 2004 he received the Lakehead University Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is also the associate editor for the Journal of Experiential Education.
Cuthbertson enjoys wilderness canoeing and sea kayaking, woodworking, and walking with his dogs. He resides in Thunder Bay, Ontario.