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Group Roles Module

Group Process & Peer Tutoring (HTH SCI 4SS6)
by

Nick Irwin

on 16 April 2010

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Transcript of Group Roles Module

Group Roles Based on:

"Functional Roles of Group MeMbers" Kenneth Benne and paul Sheats BY: 3 Categories: Task Roles Maintenance Roles Individualistic Roles 1948 1. Task Roles Initiator/Contributor Information Seeker Procedural Technician Description:
Proposes/generates new or original ideas
Proposes ways of approaching problems Example...

A cell biology group is pressed trying to figure out a topic for their next project until an initiator suggests that they either look into adipogenesis and PPAR-gamma, or the role of leptin in obesity...he or she then asks the rest of the group for their input on the topic Initiator/Contributor Information Seeker Description:
Seeks clarification on the task
Looks for factual adequacy
Seeks expert information or facts Examples...
Looking for journal articles relevant to the topic
Setting up meetings with professors to clarify specific concepts
Asking for group member clarificatioon on a fact listed in a slideshow/verifying the fact Opinion Giver Description
This individual frequently offers his or her opinion on what the group should do
If excessive, this role can become negative as the individual may be viewed as too opinionated Positive Example...
An individual states her opinion (with solid reasoning) on various issues around the group's selection of information, about once every meeting or two Information Giver Description
Offers factual information to the group
Seen as an 'expert' on a specific subject or subjects Example...
Group member who reads 10 journal articles on a topic before a group meeting - is an expert and 'authority' on that topic in future group meetings Elaborator Description
Builds on and adds to the ideas of each individual
Presents facts and ideas to positively build on the ideas of another
Elaborators must be cautious of not becoming a 'spotlight' thief or 'one-upper'
Example...
A positive example of an elaborator is an individual who recognizes that a certain group member is often reluctant to bring forth his or her ideas. The elaborator adds to these ideas with relevant facts or ideas to stimulate progress in the meeting. Opinion Seeker Description
Asks for input from the group of the values, attitudes, and opinions of members
Attempts to ensure that each member has given input/perspective Example...
A group member realizes he is slightly more outspoken than some other members. He therefore constantly reinforces the need for input from everybody in terms of their opinions (not information) Negative Example...
Another individual states his opinion on very minor 'nitpicky' details many times in each meeting. For example, this member is very opinionated on the meeting location, font colour, journals used for article retrieval, and so on. His opinions may become less valued by the group over time Energizer Description
Stimulates the group to a higher level of activity
Concentrates the group's energy on progress
Challenges the group to further action
Example...
An energizer may attempt to excite a group about a topic by acting very enthusiastic about it, and reiterating the group's potential of success. Procedural Technician Description
Performs logistical functions for the group, in turn facilitating group discussion
Sets up meetings
Take notes
Prepares and helps group adhere to agenda
Example...
A procedural technician may often prepare a detailed agenda for the group, and ensure adherence. In cell biology groups, procedural technicians would often write down the agenda on the chalkboard, and reiterate it throughout the meeting. He or she would also often begin planning the date/time/location of the next meeting near the end of the present meeting. Recorder Description
Keeps a record of group's actions
Records new ideas
'Secretary' or 'Minute-Keeper'
Example...
In a large group that has a number of ideas, a recorder is vital to ensuring that ideas are not forgot about amidst the heavy discussion. The recorder will take note all new ideas brought forth by group members. Orienter Description
Constantly reviews and clarifies the group's position and progress
Summarizes accomplishments and areas of improvement
Provides suggestions for how to improve
Example...
In a pathoanatomy group that is prosecting a cadaver, the orienter will frequently state the group's progress in dissection, and the next steps that need to be taken. He or she will also review the prosection work to date, and determine what should stay the same, and what might be improved upon. Evaluator/Critic Description
Measures group's actions against a standard
Assesses the reasonableness of a proposal and whether it is manageable or 'do-able'
Often viewed as a 'realistic' member
Example...
An evaluator might always carefully examine ideas of other group members, and think about what goals are attainable, and what ones are not. Evaluators are very important in preventing the group from wasting time on tasks that they may not succeed at. However, if this evaluator becomes too much of a critic, this may be viewed negatively by the group. Co-ordinator Description
Identifies and explains the relationships between ideas or facts
Combines the diverse ideas or opinions from group members in order to make them cohesive
Example...
Three different group members present slightly differing ideas and nobody can really see how they can all work together. A co-ordinator will work to make the ideas fit together as best as possible in order to include all of them. 2. Maintenance Roles Harmonizer Harmonizer Encourager Compromiser Compromiser Gatekeeper/Expediter Gatekeeper/Expediter Observer/ Commentator Follower Follower 3. Individualistic Roles Aggressor Recognizion Seeker Self-Confessor Disrupter Dominator Help Seeker Special Interest Pleader Self-Confessor Dominator Blocker Help Seeker Recognizion Seeker Aggressor Disrupter Special Interest Pleader Energizer Elaborator Evaluator/Critic Information Giver Orienter Coordinator Recorder Opinion Giver Opinion Seeker Purpose:
This learning module will describe the different types of group roles that Benne and Sheats devised, and provide examples of each. For the individualistic/disruptive roles, implications/effects of these roles, and ways of dealing with them will be provided. Description:
Attempts to reduce group tension caused by differences in individuals
Tries to prevent conflicts
Example...
Two members of a group are disputing due to their diverse opinions on a controversial political issue, not related to the group work. The harmonizer may try to stress the importance of opinion, that everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that the group meeting might not be the proper venue for a political debate. Description:
Provides feedback to group on how it is functioning/what it is doing
Referred to when group wants to evaluate itself/change its standards
Provides insightful comments to group
NOT helpful - commentator sits and says negative/pessimistic things though
Positive Example...
"Ok everybody, I think we've accomplished a lot in this meeting so far. We're on track with this project! Just need to keep it up for a few more days" Description:
Regulates flow of communication in group meetings
Limits conversation dominators
Attempts to keep the group on task with discussion
The gatekeeper should be careful to not act like a 'dominator' or 'boss' though
Positive Example...
The gatekeeper recognizes that a specific individual does not often contribute to a discussion, but perhaps might want to. He or she therefore attempts to give this individual a chance to contribute by suggesting to the group that they listen to he or she thinks. Description:
Listener, not a contributor
Does not contest what others say
Always accepts the decisions of others, without necessarily contributing
May or may not be a member who doesn't do much work
Example...
If a follower does an equal amount of work, but just has no real opinion or is impartial to the decisions the group makes, this is okay. However, a follower who does not contribute to the group decisions or to the workload/product is unacceptable in terms of group work. Description:
Demonstrates support and praise to the efforts of other group members
Positive attitude
Provides encouragement if group member makes mistake/error
Examples...
In light of another group member making a big mistake while presenting and showing obvious frustration, the encourager in the group will try to keep the group and individual positive by praising his or her efforts in presenting, and offering areas for improvement. Description:
Offers to change position for the benefit of the group
Will 'meet other members halfway' on group issues
Example...
A group is working on a presentation and trying to decide how to create it. One member wants to do a slideshow in PowerPoint, and the other wants to do a Prezi. The individual who wants to create a PowerPoint presentation might compromise and decide that his slides can be copied to a Prezi. Negative Example...
Occasionally, gatekeepers may become too 'active' and begin to seem like a dominator. For example, if the gatekeeper told individuals in the group when their turn to talk was, and asked other members to stop talking, this may not be taken well by all members. Perhaps saying something like "I think Nick has something to contribute". Negative Example...
"We are the most useless group in the history of health sci. Look at this crap presentation...I REALLY think we're going to fail it"
Encourager Observer/ Commentator Group Roles Module by nick Irwin Click here to start Description:
Makes personal attacks
Uses belittling and insulting comments
Harsh with other group members
Attempts to decrease the status of other group members Examples...
"That's a stupid idea"
"How about this..no"
"You're such an idiot"
"How did you even get into health sci?"
"Great one...genius"
...and the use of foul language

An aggressor may consistently belittle another to make himself/herself feel better about something Implications/Effects:
Affected group members begin to lack confidence
Lack of group cohesion or...
Group forms a subgroup against the agressor
Aggressor reduces the energy and enthusiasm of the group to succeed Description:
Opposes every or almost every idea or opinion that is put forward
Causes the group to stall with work
Causes members to be less vocal in fear of rejection
Overall negative role
Almost like an evaluator/critic who has taken it too far Examples...
Group is trying to pick a simple background colour, and the blocker rejects every single one
Group is coming up with ideas for the next topic, and the blocker criticizes each idea, but does not offer his or her own
"That's not a good idea"
"I don't think we should do that either..." Implications/Effects:
Members less vocal with ideas in fear of rejection by the blocker
Group process affected due to a climate that they do not feel comfortable sharing their opinions in
Lack of group process leads to poor performance by the entire group Description:
Draws attention to him/herself throughout meetings
Brags about accomplishments
Relays irrelevant stories that help to paint him/her in a positive light
Makes silly noises, pulls stunts to draw attention
Distracts members from the task Examples...
Recognition seeker is talking continuously about the excellent mark he or she received on an assignment
He or she is playing music during serious group discussion
He or she shares elaborate stories often to gain the recognition of the group Implications/Effects...
The group may frequently lose focus of the task at hand
The group process will be negatively impacted due to a poor climate with a lot of distraction
A lack of motivation may result from the atmosphere that the recognition seeker may create Description:
Uses group meetings as an avenue to disclose personal feelings and issues
Attempts to slip comments in, in relation to something the group is doing Examples...
Bringing up a personal issue by relating it to something the group is talking about, for example "this reminds me of a time when..."
"Speaking of _____...."
Tells the group about a dilemma in his/her life, asks opinion/advice Implications/Effects:
Often leads to distraction in the group
Throws the group off topic, and big conversations result, completely unrelated to the task
Frustrates some group members who do not care
At times, this can be okay for each group member to do in order to bring somewhat of a break to the group, but if it is done to often by one person, he or she is a "self-confessor" Description:
Uses group meeting as fun time
Tells jokes often, plays pranks, watches/reads unrelated material Examples...
Group member watching YouTube videos the entire meeting
Member texting others throughout the meeting, or making numerous phone calls
Leading the group into discussion about completely irrelevant topics
Telling many jokes to attempt to make other group members laugh Implications/Effects:
Group may frequently become distracted
Lose focus of task
Group process is negatively impacted
Impaired learning of group members
Once again, this behaviour is occasionally acceptable, but if it occurs too often, the member is a disruptor Description:
Tries to control conversation and dictate what people should be doing
Exaggerates his/her knowledge
Uses complex words to act intellectually superior to other group members
Acts like he or she knows more about everything than other members Examples...
"Okay, that's not how it's done"
Group member who always controls the conversation and flow of communication
Member is constantly interrupting others
Using big, irrelevant medical terms in a group meeting to try to act smarter Implications/Effects:
Group members may become reluctant to try and offer ideas
People may form a subgroup against the dominator
The dominator may decrease the enthusiasm to learn
Dominator may cause people to think that his or her way is always the 'right way' and that they are 'not as good' Description:
Always looking for sympathy from group
Expresses feelings of inadequacy
Acts helpless, self deprecating, unable to contribute Examples...
"I really can't help with this presentation, I don't get this stuff at all..."
"I'm just not into it right now"
"I'm definitely going to fail this course..."
Always ends up having other group members do most of his/her work Implications/Effects:
Share of workload is imbalanced
Group may receive poor marks as a result of this individual
May lower the standard of excellence for the group because members may feel it is okay to be 'lax' like this individual Description:
Uses stereotypical position to avoid his or her own biases
Avoids his or her own opinions
Makes suggestions based on what others would think or feel Examples...
"Who cares about editing it, nobody will even notice"
"Okay, I'm sure the prof won't care if we don't include references"
"Is anybody in the class really going to pay attention...we can just rush through this" Implications/Effects:
Lowers the standard of quality and achievement for the group
Causes work to be rushed, incomplete
Causes other members of the group to adapt to these feelings
Does not actually care about learning for him/herself, but just about a mark/getting things done as soon as possible Blocker Dealing with disruptive behaviours/roles Make the whole group aware of these disruptive behaviours before they happen (in the forming stage) Individuals will now be able to monitor their own behaviour and make sure that they do not take on these disruptive roles Make a plan with group to deal with this behaviour/these roles If these behaviours/roles do occur, the group can spot them, and address them with the member This will decrease disruptive behaviour, thus, positively influencing group process and performance References:

Benne, K.D., Sheats, P. (1948) "Functional Roles of Group Members." Journal of Social Issues. 4:41-49.
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