Group processes and diversity management (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Elena Trifiletti
Elena Trifiletti
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 1A, Sem. 1B

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

This course focuses on group processes in organizational contexts. The course will examine group processes and intergroup relations, with a special focus on group formation and cohesion, inclusion and identity, decision making, productivity in groups, intergroup relations and conflict, effects of majority and minority group belonging, and diversity management. The course aims to provide students with skills, such as critical reflection, analysis, and interpretation of group dynamics, especially those occurring within organizational contexts. Students will learn how to observe groups and to understand their dynamics; they will have a firm grasp of the main theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of groups, and will learn how to manage relationships between minority and majority group members.
By the end of the course students will be able to:
- develop a sound knowledge of group processes in organizational and social settings;
- develop management skills for complex organizational processes with a specific focus on diversity management.


The course will be held in Italian and will cover the following topics:
-group formation
-social categorization and social identity
-cohesion and inclusion
-social influence and conformity
-obedience and power
-group decision making
-group productivity
-intergroup relations and conflict
-majority-minority relations within organizations
-diversity in the workplace
-diversity management
- diversity training

The topics will be addressed through frontal teaching and in-class assignments aimed at developing students’ skills of observation of groups, understanding of group processes, management of diversity-related processes.

Forsyth, D. R. (2014). Group dynamics (6th Ed.). Cengage Learning. Chapters: 1-14.
2. Ellemers, N., & Haslam, S. A. (2012). Social identity theory. In P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 379 –398). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
3. Turner, J.C., & Reynolds, K.J. (2012). Social categorization theory. In P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 399 –417). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
4. Dovidio. J. F., Gaertner, S. L., John, M. S., Halabi, S., Saguy, T., Pearson, A. R., & Riek, B. M. (2008). Majority and minority perspectives in intergroup relations: The role of contact, group representation, threat, and trust in intergroup conflict and reconciliation. In A. Nadler, T. Malloy, & J. D. Fisher (Eds.), Social psychology of intergroup reconciliation (pp. 227–253). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
5. Van Knippenberg, D., & Schippers, M. C. 2007. Workgroup diversity. In M. I. Posner & M. K. Rothbart (Eds.), Annual review of psychology, 58: 2.1– 2.27.
6. McMahon, A. M. (2010). Does workplace diversity matter? A survey of empirical studies on diversity and firm performance, 2000 – 09. Journal of Diversity Management, 5, 37– 48.
7. Yang, Y., & Konrad, A. M. (2011). Understanding diversity management practices: Implications of institutional theory and resourcebased theory. Group & Organization Management, 36, 6—38.

Chapters and journal articles will be available on the moodle platform. Non attending students who might find it difficult to study in English are invited to contact Elena Trifiletti (

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Forsyth, D. R. Group dynamics (6th Ed.). (Edizione 6) Cencage Learning 2014

Assessment methods and criteria

For attending students, the exam will consist of a work-project (optional) and an oral examination; for non attending students, the exam will consist of an oral examination. The content and modes of completion of the work-project will be agreed upon by the lecturer and (attending) students. In the oral examination, (attending/non attending) students will be asked questions about 3-4 topics included in the syllabus, that will be selected by the lecturer. Students are required to know the relevant theoretical constructs, as well as how to interpret social and organizational behaviour according to the theories and concepts included in the syllabus. The oral examination will test students' understanding, analysis and communication skills.