The treatment of the relationship between groups and their environments: A review and critical examination of common assumptions in research

Maryam Kouchaki*, Gerardo A. Okhuysen, Mary J. Waller, Golnaz Tajeddin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the recognized importance of groups' external contexts to their functioning, there is little research that fully explicates the relationship between groups and their environments. Instead, much extant research treats groups as closed systems. To advance the field's understanding, we explore the treatment of the relationship between groups and their environments in existing literature by reviewing research that incorporates groups in naturally varying environments. We identify three predominant characterizations in the literature: the environment as a resource pool, as an impetus for change, and as a target. We offer a summary of the assumptions in these characterizations, a critical examination of each characterization, and develop a future research agenda that extends each characterization and challenges its key assumptions in an effort to explore the relationship between groups and their external environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-203
Number of pages33
JournalGroup and Organization Management
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012

Keywords

  • external context
  • group context
  • group environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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