Groups as Systems

Andrew Pilny, Julius Riles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter introduces the groups as systems perspective. While conventional thinking views groups as a set of independent actors that need optimizing, systems thinking views groups as a set of dynamic and interdependent actors that interact to create emergent outcomes. The first part of the chapter contrasts systems thinking and conventional thinking across dimensions of causality, accountability, outcomes, and time. The second part introduces how to recognize and tell system stories, using the television show The Wire as an example. Finally, the third part provides practical recommendations for life inside groups, maintenance (e.g., soliciting feedback) and adapting (e.g., collective sensemaking).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGroup Communication
Subtitle of host publicationAn Advanced Introduction
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781000997972
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 selection and editorial matter, Torsten Reimer, Ernest S. Park, and Joseph A. Bonito; individual chapters, the contributors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • General Psychology


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