`Arrow, McGrath and Berdahl's Small Groups as Complex Systems will change the way you think about research, and even the way you think about science.... The book is excellent, one of those very rare works that will have substantial impact on the field. I would use the book without hesitation in any advanced graduate seminar dealing with groups' - Donelson R Forsyth, Virginia Commonwealth University
This new general theory of small groups as complex systems draws on general systems theory, dynamical systems theory, and complexity and chaos theory.
The authors view groups as adaptive, dynamic systems that are driven by interactions among group members and by transactions between the group and its embedding contexts, as well as by external pressures.
By virtue of the empirical material integrated within this elegant analysis, the authors offer a more complete understanding of the nature of group behaviour and the factors which shape it.
Dr. Arrow has two major research interests. The first is the formation and development of small groups as complex dynamic systems. The second is the psychology of war, in particular the evolution of social capacities that help men and women cope with the challenges to survival and reproductive success posed by war. Topics of recent papers include gender relations in the military, the evolution of heroism, the role of friendship in dissolving the social anxiety of outgroup interactions, sources of cohesion in groups of different sizes, and using complexity to improve the effectiveness of groups in health care.
PART ONE: ORIENTATION, HISTORY AND OVERVIEW OF THE THEORY Introduction Small Group Research The Past and Some Needs for the Future Groups as Complex Systems Overview of the Theory PART TWO: THE THEORY IN DETAIL Group Formation Assembly and Emergence Local Dynamics Coordinating Members, Tasks and Tools Global Dynamics Stability and Change within the Group System Contextual Dynamics Adaptation of the Group to Multiple Embedding Contexts Metamorphosis Endings and Transformations PART THREE: ISSUES AND STRATEGIES Implications of Our Theory for Constructing a Research Program Some Research Strategies for Studying Groups as Complex Systems