Understanding Small Group Dynamics Through Positioning Theory

  • Pasi Hirvonen University of Eastern Finland
Keywords: positioning theory, small groups, small group research, meso-level, interaction order, discourse


This paper presents positioning theory as an opportunity to approach small group dynamics and small group interaction from a meso-level perspective by considering both the interaction order of small groups and the social structures surrounding the groups. It is argued that although a large amount of research has focused on the analysis of interaction in different small group settings, a relatively minor part of this research has adopted an explicit approach, focusing on small-group-level analysis in addition to discursive analysis. Positioning theory offers an opportunity to approach small group interaction that considers both the interpersonal dynamics and the social structures shaping these dynamics. In addition to presenting some current research in this field, themes related to the theoretical starting points, as well as methodological alternatives, are also discussed.

Author Biography

Pasi Hirvonen, University of Eastern Finland

PASI HIRVONEN is a postgraduate student of social psychology in the department of Social Sciences and a university teacher of innovation management in the Business School at the University of Eastern Finland. His fields of interest include qualitative research methodologies, especially discursive methodologies; small group dynamics; and organisational social psychology. University of Eastern Finland (pasi.hirvonen@uef.fi).