A – Theory

We had dreamed for years of an institution of independent scientists, working together in one of these backwoods (“blank spaces on the map of science”), not as subordinates of some great executive officer, but joined by the desire, indeed by the spiritual necessity, to understand the region as a whole, and to lend one another the strength of that understanding. Citation from: Wiener N. (1965). Cybernetics: or the control and communication in the animal and in the machine. MIT press, paperback edition.

This section contains four articles that give a brief overview of group work and motivation. We explain why we place a strong emphasis on the aspect of autonomy, a sense of control, in the functioning of groups.

1 Working together to learn

Working together, as a group, has important advantages over an individual approach. It provides an opportunity to lend each other the power of understanding, share burdens and uncertainties, learn from the skills of others, encourage and correct each other. If all goes well, there is also more room for a mastery approach and social recognition. Read more

2 Creating conditions that favor collaboration

Bringing people together around a task is a prerequisite but not a guarantee of collaborative effort. Even when group members know the rules of the game they do not always abide by them. Their use is determined by whether or not they have in interest in doing so. How can your steer groups to true collaborative effort? Read more

3 Self-Determination Theory, Autonomy, and Collaborative Attitude.

Numerous studies on team effectiveness deal with procedure-oriented interventions. These are primarily about goal-oriented issues such as group reflexivity and after-action reviews. Group reactive planning, an essential determinant of group effectiveness, depends on how procedure-oriented interventions are processed by group members. Read more

4 The potential loss of autonomy

Although group projects often provide a reasonable degree of autonomy that does not mean that group members experience it as such. A second important factor in the perception of autonomy is how the group functions. Dysfunction of one member suffices to take a lot of control away from the other members (a loss of autonomy). Read more