Experimental Inquiry into the Psychodynamics of the Relationship between the Group's Dominant Basic Assumption Type and Scapegoating Phenomenon
M. Hafsi
The present study constitutes an attempt to investigate experimentally the conditions leading to the phenomenon of scapegoating. Applying Bion's concepts of "basic assumptions", and "valency", it was hypothesized that 1) scapegoating was more likely to occur in groups characterized by the valency constitution of fight as defined and measured in the present study, 2) that the scapegoated members display a negative attitude towards the group that predispose them to the scapegoat role. Based on their valencies as measured by the Reaction to Group Situation Test Nara University (RGST-Nu), the subjects (N=100) were divided into 20 homogeneous (having a same valency) groups of 5 members each. There were thus 4 gfighth groups, 4 gpairingh groups, 4 gflighth groups, 4 gdependencyh groups, and 4 cooperation tendency groups (groups characterized by work group). The results supported the first hypothesis that fight groups were more likely to resort to scapegoating than other groups. Moreover, the results revealed also that, as hypothesized, the scapegoated member displayed in fact the most negative attitude towards the group.

Key Words: basic assumptions, work group, valency, group dynamics, Wilfred Bion