We study theoretically the dynamical response of a set of solid-state quantum emitters arbitrarily coupled to a single-mode microcavity system. Ramping the matter-field coupling strength in round trips, we quantify the hysteresis or irreversible quantum dynamics. The matter-field system is modeled as a finite-size Dicke model which has previously been used to describe equilibrium (including quantum phase transition) properties of systems such as quantum dots in a microcavity. Here we extend this model to address non-equilibrium situations. Analyzing the system's quantum fidelity, we find that the near-adiabatic regime exhibits the richest phenomena, with a strong asymmetry in the internal collective dynamics depending on which phase is chosen as the starting point. We also explore signatures of the crossing of the critical points on the radiation subsystem by monitoring its Wigner function; then, the subsystem can exhibit the emergence of non-classicality and complexity.