Interdisciplinary perspectives on small groups

Marshall Scott Poole, Andrea B. Hollingshead, Joseph E. McGrath, Richard L. Moreland, John Rohrbaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


After many years of developing in small islands scattered around different disciplines, small group research has reached a point where interdisciplinary scholarship has the potential to foster major progress. The goal of this special issue on interdisciplinary perspectives is to capitalize on the theoretical advances made over the last 50 years by synthesizing and integrating models and theories on small groups proposed by various disciplines into a set of general theoretical perspectives. In this introduction, the authors identify nine general theoretical perspectives from which small groups have been examined: the psychodynamic, functional, temporal, conflict-power-status, symbolic-interpretive, social identity, social-evolutionary, social network, and feminist perspectives. This article summarizes each theoretical perspective briefly and then offers some observations about the perspectives as a whole. Articles describing three of these interdisciplinary perspectives appear in this special issue, and four other perspectives will be introduced in the next issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalSmall Group Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Group dynamics
  • Group processes
  • Small group theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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