Perspectives on group flow: Existing theoretical approaches and the development of an integrative theoretical approach

Publikation: Beitrag in Buch/Bericht/KonferenzbandKonferenzbeitrag - Abstract in KonferenzbandForschungBegutachtung


Group flow is a state of optimal group functioning during group action which is relevant for the group as a whole (e.g., collective efficacy; Salanova et al., 2014) but also for the individual group members involved (e.g., well-being; Zumeta et al., 2016). To date, there are five theoretical approaches to group flow (e.g., van den Hout, 2018). Despite these approaches, the current state of theory development is limited and, therefore, unsatisfactory (Pels & Kleinert, 2018). The existing approaches (1) show differences to one another in terms of how they describe and explain group flow, (2) are often imprecise, (3) are not generally valid for all contexts, and (4) lack profound empirical foundation. Nevertheless, in some aspects, the existing theories’ descriptions and explanations of group flow are complementary to each other. Therefore, our aim was to develop a universally valid comprehensive theoretical model of group flow that integrates the existing approaches. The central assumption of our integrative theory is that group flow consists of a multifaceted balance during group action. This involves (1) a structural and (2) a dynamic aspect. With regard to (1) structure, our model describes group flow as a twofold balance: (a) balance between the group members in terms of behaviour (e.g., synchronization of group members), skills (e.g., integration of the group members’ skills) and state of mind (e.g., collective expectancies) due to symmetry (e.g., having the same goals) and/or due to complementarity (e.g., the different skills of all group members complement each other). This balance between the group members facilitates the occurrence of (b) balance between the group behaviour, group skills and group state of mind on the one hand and the group task on the other hand (e.g., the group’s overall skills fit the demands of the group task). (2) Balance is not one single momentary occurrence, but dynamic in nature. This means, that during group flow, the balance continues although aspects of the situation may change. We assume that both top-down and bottom-up processes influence these dynamics. As a conclusion, we state that our theory meets the theory goodness criteria of comprehensiveness and parsimony, and partly the goodness criterion of empirical validation. For future research, we suggest the development of a research paradigm that can be used for a series of experiments in which parts of the model get systematically evaluated by manipulating them as independent variables.
Titelasp 2021 - Abstractband : Talententwicklung & Coaching im Sport : 53. Jahrestagung der Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Sportpsychologie (asp) : Tübingen (online, 13.-15.05.2021)
Redakteure/-innenOliver Höner, Svenja Wachsmuth, Martin Leo Reinhard, Florian Schultz
Herausgeber (Verlag)Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät, Institut für Sportwissenschaft
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2021
VeranstaltungJahrestagung der Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Sportpsychologie: Talententwicklung & Coaching im Sport - Tübingen (Online), Tübingen, Deutschland
Dauer: 13.05.202115.05.2021
Konferenznummer: 53


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