Time, Change, and Development: The Temporal Perspective on Groups

Holly Arrow, Marshall Scott Poole, Kelly Bouas Henry, Susan Wheelan, Richard Moreland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article reviews literature that takes a temporal perspective on groups, focusing particularly on the theories that guide such work. The temporal perspective is a process-focused view that treats groups as systems in which change occurs across multiple time scales. The review is organized around six themes that have been especially generative: (a) Time is socially constructed; (b) time is a resource; (c) time is a fundamental issue for theory and research; (d) groups change systematically over time; (e) group processes have temporal patterns; and (f) groups are complex systems characterized by nonlinear dynamics. The article closes by identifying the need for continued theory development and testing to better integrate the disparate theories and findings found in literature inspired by the temporal perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-105
Number of pages33
JournalSmall Group Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Change
  • Complex systems
  • Group development
  • Small groups
  • Time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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