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Ch. ５：Group Roles
Transcript of Ch. ５：Group Roles
The systematic integration of all parts to make the group a whole. Provides form and shape for the group.
Broad rules that designate appropriate behavior for all group members.
More specific behaviors expected for each individual group member.
Stepping into a role drastically different or opposite from a role you usually play.
Example: Promotion at work, taking care of your parents...
Occurs when we find ourselves playing roles in different groups that contradict each other
We are forced to make a choice between the two
Are increasingly concerned with careers and families
Still typically cast as the primary caregiver
Role conflict does exist
Less concern for family care
The role that has the greatest importance and most potent effect on us is usually the one we choose when we have to decide tetween conflicting roles.
Self-Centered and Disruptive Roles
Seeks recognition and attention by monopolizing conversation; prevents others from expressing their opinions fully; wants the spotlight.
Deserts the group; withdraws from anticipation; acts indifferent, aloof, uninvolved, resists efforts to be included in group decision making.
Engages in horse-play; thrives on practical jokes and comic routines; diverts members' attention away from serious discussion of ideas and issues; steps beyond the boundaries of mere tension reliever.
Thwarts progress of group; does not cooperate; opposes much of what group attempts to accomplish; incessantly reintroduces dead issues; makes negative remarks to member.
Self-Centered etc. Roles Continued
Tries to dominate group; completes with members; abuses those who disagree; picks quarrels with members; interrupts to interject own opinions into discussion.
Tries to convert members to a pet cause or idea; delivers sermons to group on state of the world; exhibits fanaticism.
Displays sour outlook; engages in fault finding; focuses on negatives; predicts failure.
The central communicative function of self-centered disruptive roles is to focus attention on the individual.
1) Position assigned by an organization or specifically designated by the group leader.
Example: President, Chairman, or Secretary, etc.
2) Designated - formal roles do not emerge naturally from communication transactions.
3) A set of expected behaviors - to fulfill the role is explicitly spelled out.
Example: Doctor, Nurse, etc.
4) Independent - from any person filling the role.
Example: Having to qualify or have credentials of expertise, experience, and training to fill position or "role."
An individual may play several roles during a single committee meeting. Individuals in a system or group are so interconnected that what one group member does can influence significantly the roles other group members play.
To Sum it Up...
Occurs mainly in small, informal, and leaderless groups with no previous history.
A person must bid to play a specific role before anyone can play that role.
High status roles
Low status/Maintenance roles
Trial & Error
When a group member steps into his/her role
Assisting other members with their roles
Rothwell defines role fixation as "the acting out of a specific role and that role alone no matter what the situation might require."
New Group, Old Roles
To be a successful communicator, a person needs to be willing to modify their communication behaviors when a shift in group roles occurs. Role fixation negatively affects a group's synergy potential.
Emerge from group transactions and emphasize functions, not position.
Move the group toward the attainment of its goals.
The central communicative function of task roles is to extract the maximum productivity from the group.
Types of Task Roles
Focus on the social dimension of the group.
The central communicative function of maintenance roles is to gain and maintain the cohesiveness of the group.
Types of Maintenance Roles
Bolsters the spirits and goodwill of the group; provides warmth, praise, and acceptance of others; includes reticent members in discussion.
Maintains the peace; reduces tension through humor and by reconciling differences between members.
Controls channels of communication and flow of information; encourages evenness of participation; promotes open discussion.
Monitors feelings and moods of the group; suggests discussion breaks when mood turns ugly or when energy levels flag.
Chapter 5: Group Roles