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Basics of Group Communication

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by

Robyn Madson

on 3 April 2017

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Transcript of Basics of Group Communication

Are you in a group?
A
Group
is "a number of persons who communicate with one another often over a span of time, and who are few enough so that each person is able to communicate with all the others not second hand but face to face" (Homans 1).

Characteristics of a group include:
Shared or common interests or goals
Regular communication among members
Contribution of all members to group functioning
Small enough size for the above to occur
Interdependence among group members
What is a group?
Group type affects behavior
A
social group
is a group whose main purpose is to provide companionship or friendship for the members.

A
task group
is a group whose main purpose is completing a task or accomplishing a goal.

Some groups have aspects of both types.
Task and Social Groups
Anyone
can
be a leader.
A
leader
is a person who either assumes a leadership role or is designated in some way. This person offers guidance and direction for the group.

There are different
leadership styles
, including:
1) Authoritarian - "Boss," makes decisions for
group directly, leads from the top.
2) Democratic - "Facilitator," helps groups make
decisions and leads from behind
3) Non-Functioning - No clear leader; different
people may lead different parts or none at all.
Leadership in Groups
Group type affects behavior
Formal
groups generally:
Are structured in the way they are run
Operate according to a constitution or rules
Have official roles and duties for members
Range in size from very large to small
Exist for a length of time
Have an official name or title.

Informal
groups generally:
Are flexible in the way they operate
Are less concerned with official roles
Are less concerned with structure
Maintain a small size
Are formed to deal with a need
Formal and Informal Groups
Basics of Group Communication
Information taken, in part, from
Person to Person: An Introduction to Speech Communication

by Kathleen M. Galvin and Cassandra Book

Norms; Unwritten Rules
Group norms
are general patterns that have become relatively permanent and predictable parts of a group's activities. Norms include spoken or unspoken rules for behavior.

Norms can regulate many behaviors, including dress, language, music, grades, and use of time.

Every group, community, and society has norms.
Group Norms
Roles in Groups
We can play several roles.
A group
role
is a pattern of behavior that characterizes an individual's place in a group. Roles may change in a group, and a person may play different roles in different groups depending on the situation and group norms. People acquire roles in a number of ways - some may be formally chosen through election or through hiring, but in other groups, they may be slowly acquired over time and with the perception of members, including yourself. An "Isolate" is a role where the person stops working with the group all together for some reason; they drop from the group and/or isolate from it.
Making decisions can be tough.
Groups can make decisions in a number of ways, but these are four major types:

Voting
- majority rules (typically).
Compromise
- a "middle of the road" decision where each person gives up a little to get a little.
Consensus
- a unanimous decision is made.
Authority
- leader or authority makes decision.
Decision Making in Groups
What groups do
you belong to?
What is one social group you belong to (or have belonged to)?
What is one task group you belong to (or have belonged to)?
What is one group that has qualities of both types?
What is one formal and one informal group you've belonged to?
Why do people join groups?
Questions:
What norms have formed at your class table?
What are some norms of Forest Lake High School?
How are group norms positive for groups? How can they be negative?
Questions:
Which roles do you tend to take when you are in a group?
Have you ever been an isolate in a group? Why? How did it feel?
How can a group deal with an isolation problem and improve work?
Questions:
What are the strengths of each leadership style? Weaknesses?
Which type of leadership style do you prefer?
Do you ever see yourself as a leader? Why or why not?
Questions:
What are the strengths of each way listed above? Drawbacks?
Which type of decision making system do you prefer? Why?
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