Eight group vibes: A descriptive typology of group mood

Alev Sönmez, Pieter Desmet, Natalia Romero Herrera

When working in a group with a collective purpose, we generally aim for fruitful interactions, pleasant collaborations and effective outcomes. In some group meetings, the atmosphere seems just right, and everyone is on the same page. Yet, at other times there can be a reluctant or a tense feeling in the air that stands in the way of effective collaboration. This feeling in the air is called the group mood. Often referred to as a group vibe in colloquial English, group mood is the general emotional atmosphere during a group activity. Experiencing ‘good group vibes’ can improve group dynamics and communication, contributing to performance and well-being at work. Designed artefacts (products and services) have great potential to facilitate beneficial and pleasant group moods in professional settings. Yet, to design for group mood, we first need to understand the experience.

The Eight Group Vibes booklet

The booklet ‘Eight group vibes: A descriptive typology of group mood’ is a knowledge tool that offers design professionals a granular and experience-oriented overview of group mood. The booklet describes eight types of group mood: chill flow, fiery, fuzzy, creative, tense, confrontational, slack and jolly. The descriptions include keywords, colloquial expressions and illustrations. Design researchers may use the typology as a resource for understanding, detecting and empathising with different group moods. They can also use it to initiate a dialogue about group-mood-related issues in participant teams. Designers may use the typology to enhance their group mood granularity. It can also serve as an inspirational entry point when designing for pleasurable and beneficial group experiences. We envision this typology as an initial step towards a growing repertoire of group moods.

An overview of the eight types of group mood.

Typology Development
The eight group moods typology was developed by a phenomenological study performed within the scope of a PhD project. This research project aims to develop design knowledge to support designers in creating products and services that facilitate beneficial and pleasurable group mood experiences. Further details of the study can be found in the following paper:

Sönmez, A., Desmet, P.M.A., & Romero Herrera, N. (in press). Chill, fiery, slack, and five other vibes: A phenomenological inquiry into group mood. She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation.

Availability
We believe in open-access research, so you can download the booklet here: Downloadable PDF.
The Eight Group Vibes booklet is published under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This means that this booklet can be shared for non-commercial purposes as long as appropriate credit is given, a link to the license is provided and the original material is not modified. For licence details, see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.

Citation
Sönmez, A., Desmet, P.M.A., & Romero Herrera, N. (2022). Eight group vibes: A descriptive typology of group mood (2nd edition). Delft: Delft University of Technology. ISBN: 978-94-6366-502-5.