Title page for ETD etd-12062011-092440

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Du Plessis, Melissa
Email melissabrak@vodamail.co.za
URN etd-12062011-092440
Document Title A qualitative investigation into the relationship between self-concept and the propensity for role uptake in a small group
Degree MCom
Department Human Resource Management
Advisor Name Title
Mr J H Cooper Supervisor
  • self-schema
  • self-concept
  • valence
  • valency
  • working models
  • working self-concept
  • roles
  • groups
Date 2012-04-12
Availability unrestricted
When regarding the history of role theory, one becomes aware of the fact that, although much knowledge is available specifically pertaining to roles in small group settings (e.g. expectations about behaviour, types of roles, flexibility of locus, appropriateness of the role system, dynamic nature of role formation and development as well as typologies dividing roles into categories), not much literature is available specifically pertaining to what the impact of an individualís self-concept is on his/her propensity to either assume or avoid certain roles in such a setting. Accordingly, this study aimed to explore the above-mentioned aspect of role division in small groups.

Research was done by means of a case study research design, with a constructivist/interpretevist meta-theoretical paradigm as research approach. This paradigm holds that there are multiple subjective realities involved when studying human interactions and the consequences thereof.

The study was furthermore conducted from a psychodynamic and systems theory perspective. Data was collected from a sample of postgraduate students, who participated in a training group as part of their Industrial and Organisational Psychology masterís degree programme at the University of Pretoria, by means of three different methods, namely video and voice recordings, a document study, as well as semi-structured interviews. Data was furthermore analysed by Atlas.ti, a qualitative data analysis programme, according to the principles of constructivist grounded theory.

When regarding current literature on the subject, it is implied by some that an individual will only allow roles to be imposed on him/her if he/she is predisposed to assuming such roles, and if he/she can accordingly integrate the responsibility somehow with his/her self-concept. Accordingly, the results obtained showed some connection between an individualís self-concept and the role(s) that was assumed by the individual in the small group setting. More specifically, the results showed that an individual is more likely to change roles with ease should the alternate role requirements also be in line with elements of the individualís self-concept.

The results further indicated that it might be difficult for an individual to adapt and change to another role should the roles, which are required in the small group setting, be in conflict with the individualís self-concept. These findings thus imply that an individualís self-concept might have an impact on an individualís propensity to either assume or avoid certain roles (role valency) in a small group setting.

© 2011, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Du Plessis, M 2011, A qualitative investigation into the relationship between self-concept and the propensity for role uptake in a small group, MCom dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-12062011-092440 / >


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