The Five Stages Of Group Development In The Breakfast Club

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A group is defined as “a set of individuals who interact over time and have shared fate, goals, or identity (Kassin, Fein, & Markus, 2014, p. 297). For five students of Shermer High School in Shermer, Illinois, their shared fate happened to be an all-day Saturday detention session for various school infractions. Claire Standish (the princess), Brian Johnson (the brain), Andrew Clark (the athlete), John Bender (the criminal), and Allison Reynolds (the basket case), each from different social classes and social groups, found commonalities amongst themselves which allowed them to form bonds through their interactions. John Hughes’s movie, The Breakfast Club (Hughes, 1985), supports many social psychology theories throughout the five stages of group development, including, but not limited to, cognitive dissonance theory, deindividuation, fundamental attribution theory, groupthink, and normative social influence. According to Bruce Tuckman, there are five stages of group development (Tuckman, 1965). Firstly is the forming stage, which consists of getting acquainted with one another and testing the boundaries of the group. This behavior is evident in the film when Bender antagonizes Claire and Andrew about their relationship and social class statuses, as well as through his continuous intimidation and bullying of Brian. Following the forming stage is the storming stage, wherein group conflict …show more content…
Take, for example, cognitive dissonance theory which states “that a powerful motive to maintain cognitive consistency can give rise to irrational, sometimes maladaptive behavior” (Kassin et al., 2014, p. 239). Clearly The Breakfast Club applies to this theory. Initially, the students seem to dislike each other greatly. Nevertheless, they confide in each other about their innermost thoughts and feelings causing dissonance. To alleviate the discord, they alter their attitudes toward one