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Toward a Universal Theory of the Human Group: Applied in the Comparative Analysis of Groups and Organizations
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
Lisbon University Institute-CIES, Lisbon, Portugal.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Identify and Order)
2015 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A group is conceptualized as a system with three universal subsystems on which any ongoing group depends. The subsystems are bases – necessary for group “functioning” and performance in more or less coherent ways; a group may be able to realize – with its bases in particular contexts -- not only its purposes or goals but system requisites to sustain the group. The group bases consist of: (1) a rule regime (collective culture with a finite set of rule categories) defining group identity and purpose, defining and regulating roles and role relationships, norms and behavioral outputs, its collectively shared places and times for gathering and interacting; (2) an agential base of group members who are socialized (or partially socialized) carriers of and adherents to the group’s identity and rule regime; involvement factors motivate members to adhere to and implement the rule regime; (3) a resource base, technologies and materials, self-produced and/or obtained from the environment -- essential to group functioning and group performances. Group multiple production processes (based on sub-complexes in its rule regime) impact on the group itself (reflexivity) and on its environment. These outputs, among other things, maintain-adapt-develop the group bases (or, possibly, unintentionally undermine/destroy them). Thus, groups are action systems producing goods-services-experiences-events- developments, etc. for themselves and (possibly) for the larger environment on which they depend for goods&services- resources-recruits-legitimation, etc. The model provides a single framework for the systematic descriptions and comparative analysis of a wide diversity of groups, several of which serve as illustrations in the paper.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-298186OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-298186DiVA: diva2:862544
European Sociological Association, 25-28 August, 2015, Prague.
Available from: 2015-09-28 Created: 2015-09-28 Last updated: 2016-01-06

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Burns, Tom R.Corte, Ugo
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