Group Interaction

The Wu Tang clan is a nine-member hip-hop group that formed in 1992. Since 1992 the group has gone on to find success as a group and as solo artist. The Wu Tang Clan is easily one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time. The group has taken aspects from every area such as kung fu to religion and blended them into a unique brand of music that is many times imitated but never duplicated.

What makes the group able to blend such a wide varity of topics into its music is the diversity and ability of its members. The group consists of the Rza, Genius, Method Man, Inspectah Deck, U God, Old Dirty Bastard, Masta Killah, Reakwon and Ghost Face Killah. Each member brings their own style to the group which in the end allows the group to have a wide varity that encompasses all areas that needs to be touch within a true musical performance. The group can cover many areas when doing a song unlike other groups that can only do one musical style. All the members of the group are innate, strong songwriters who spark and complement each other.

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The definition of a group is two or more interdependent individuals who influence one another through social interaction. According to this definition the Wu Tang Clan would be considered a group. To say that the Wu Tang Clan is a group based on just that definition would be incomplete, the group demonstrates many other characteristics of a group. First off, the group shows a great deal of interaction. Interaction is when group members do things to and with other. To break it down even more interactions can be broken down into tasks or socioemotional. In task interaction the group must interact to accomplish a goal. The Wu Tang Clan demonstrates task interaction when the group comes together to make a group album. This would be considered a task interaction because the group is working together on one goal, which is to make an album. Socioemotional tasks are much more interpersonal. For example if a member of the group is unsure about something on a solo album another member will come in and give feedback to that other member. Furthermore, if one member is having legal problems other members of the group will step in and lend emotional support to help the other through a tough time.

Another quality that makes the Wu Tang Clan a group is group cohesion. Group cohesion is the strength of the bonds linking members to one another and to the group. The Wu Tang Clan is a very cohesive group, on both the individual and group level. On the individual level all members have a great deal of respect, trust, and liking for each other. This is evident by the fact that all members always have other members from the group come and appear on their solo albums. The group is very cohesive on the group level for the fact that after years and years of being together the group has never lost a member and no member has ever swayed from the Wu Tang Clan principle “United we stand, divide we fall”. The group realizes that together they are one.

The reason why the Wu Tang Clan formed was out of survival. It may sound strange but its true. Before the group formed all of the members of the group were struggling to stay afloat in life. The Rza and the Genius were broke, Raekwon was selling drugs, Ghost Face Killah was in and out of jail, Old Dirty Bastard was living on food stamps, and the rest of the group was living off the streets. If the group did not form the members were looking at a bleak future. So the group formed to see if they could make it in life because this was there only chance of survival.

There were many factors that influenced member’s attraction to each other. First is proximity, all members of the group were from Staten Island New York. Its been found that groups emerge over time as individuals interact with the same people over and over. Proximity can increase the chances of interaction leading to the formation of groups. The next factor is the similarity principle, which is the tendency for group members to like people who are similar. The members of the Wu Tang Clan are similar in many ways. First they all lived in the same area, were all broke, all enjoyed hip hop music, comic books and kung fu movies and the list goes on and on.

The next factor that played a part in the members liking each other is the complementary principle. The complementary principle is simply the tendency for group members to like people who are dissimilar to them in ways that complement their personal qualities. Each member of the Wu Tang Clan has a unique character, but each member has strong points that compliment other member’s weaknesses. For example the Genius is very serious while Method Man is carefree; these two balance each other out very well.

Leadership is defined as a process in which cooperating individuals are permitted to influence and motivate others to promote the attainment of group and individual goals. The individual who influences and motivates the Wu Tang is the Rza. The Rza is the oldest member of the group at 31 years old and furthermore he is the tallest member. As the oldest member of the group the Rza has taken a father like position in the group. He was the founder of the group, and in the groups early stages he was he only member who had experience in the music industry, thus he had to teach the other members how to survive in the music industry.

The most important qualities that the Rza possesses that make him the leader are his musical expertise, self-confidence and intelligence. The Rza is a musical genius. First off he is the only member of the group who can produce a song. In other words the Rza is the only member who can make a beat for a song. The Rzas musical expertise is a result of studying all types of music from classical to rock n roll. The years of studying music have resulted in a great deal of self-confidence that rubs off on the rest of the members. The Rza believes in the music he creates and the vision he foresees for the group. The Rza has crated an environment that motivates and influences other members to reach group and individual goals.

The Rza is also is also extremely intelligent. Not only has he studied music for years he is also schooled in all religions, governments, current events and business. Other members of the group are intelligent, but their knowledge does not spread as wide or as in depth as the Rza. Evidence of the Rzas knowledge and intelligence is not only evident in the music he creates, but also how he has handled the business side of the group. Most music groups are signed to a record label that takes a large amount of the money that a group makes. To counter act a music label taken away the money that the Wu Tang Clan would make the Rza created his own record label to make sure the group received all the money its music generated.

Not only did the Rza make a brilliant move with the record label he made some others for the group. Since the group was making large amounts of money off their music he decided that he wanted to expand the groups talents into other areas beside music. What the group did was open its own clothing line called Wu wear, which now has six stores across the nation. The Rza has also advised other members on how to handle the individual finances they receive off the groups endeavors, for example he advised Method Man to start his own record label. The Rzas superior judgements make him the leader of the group.

Task motivated leaders concentrate on completing a task whereas as a relationship motivated leader tries to find acceptance within their groups. The Rza is task motivated, he beliefs in the vision in his head and concentrates on achieving that vision more than his relationship between him and the other members of the group. This type of leadership style works very well with the group’s level of situational control. First the group has great leader-member relation. Furthermore the group is highly cohesive and relatively conflict free, this allows the Rza to be task orientated. Lastly the group has a good understanding of what is expected of them and of the groups goals.

Norms are defined as implicit standards that describe what behaviors should and should not be performed in a given context: consensual guidelines that prescribe the socially appropriate, or “normal”, course of action. According to the above definition the Wu Tangs norm is the allow members of the group to act however they feel, there is no set standards of behaviors or actions. The fact that the Wu Tang Clans norm is no set standard of behaviors creates a very unique brand of music. I say this because allowing nine members to act how they feel results in each member bringing a different musical style to a group. The end result is nine different styles that blend to form one complete sound. In a sense each member’s own rapping style has become the groups norm. For instance the Genius and the Rza are intelligent rappers while Ghost Face Killah and Raekwon are storytellers with their lyrics. The way each member raps also spills over into how they act when not doing musical activities with the group.

As far as the factors that affected member’s tendency to conform to group norms it was size of majority. The majority of the group has the same beliefs and expectations so there is no minority within the group. There may b a minority when it comes to certain issues but what makes the Wu Tang Clan so unique is they allow a minority to have as much say as the majority. This relates back to the group’s norm of allowing a member to act how they want. In a sense the Wu Tang Clan are nine separate minorities that form into one majority. In the end it is the fact that the majority supports minority ideal which allows the minority to be the majority. There is no right or wrong in the group, unlike a jury where there is a correct answer. The group influences each other to be unique and then blend all the personalities into one.
The Wu Tang Clan as a whole demonstrates normative influence. Normative influence is social influence that results from personal and interpersonal pressures to conform to group norms. The group does not pressure members to conform instead the norm allow members to conform. The fact that the norm of the group is to allow members to act as individuals makes it easy for individuals to conform. The reason that it is normative is because the social influence creates pressures to act as an individual, which in turn result in personal and interpersonal conformation to group norms.

When looking at performance I have decided to look at performance within the group. With music group performances such as a CD or a concert could also be looked at. I feel that social facilitation occurred with the group. Social facilitation is the enhancement of performance when another person is present. I say social facilitation occurred based on the fact that I feel members perform better on a group Wu Tang Clan album than on an individual solo album. I feel that social facilitation would be an expected given the complexity of the task. What allows social facilitation to be a given is that the Wu Tang Clan is a complex group itself. The member’s balance out each other, in other words each member’s strengths cover each other’s weakness. So when members are together it as if its one person, so social facilitation occurs because when together the group makes individual stronger.

First it has to be understood that the task that the group performs are dominant tasks , or well learned or instinctive behaviors that a person has practiced and is primed to perform. Since the task is dominant it lead to one factor that lead to social facilitation , arousal. Arousal is simply responding when others are present. Since the task is dominant and the group is so cohesive I feel that when the group is together it arouses each other to perform at another level, the presence of each other has a stimulating effect.

I feel the group works on an additive task. An additive task is a task that requires the summing together of individual member’s inputs to maximize the group’s product. A Wu Tang song will consist of usually four or five of the members, each with a different style. When these styles are put together the end product is a song that is strong in every aspect. So in a sense it’s like pulling a rope, each member is pulling or rapping for a single goal. With each other’s input the end product is much more enjoyable and more complex, which is a better product in music. So needless to say process gain occurred. Process gain is when a group reaches it potential. As I stated earlier when the group is together performing as a whole all members reach their potential and so does the group.

It’s hard to say how the group demonstrates transactive memory. Transactive memory is when group members remember or do things that they fell that the other members of the group will not. The reason I say that its hard to tell if the group demonstrated transactive memory is because I fell that transactive memory is something that you d have to be within the group to fully recognize. I would have to have the much more access to the group to see how transactive memory is demonstrated. I feel that the fact that I don t fully see how transactive memory is being used is a good thing. It shows that the group works very well together, for the fact that they hide each others weaknesses so well that its not evident to a fan. .



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