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Small Group Communication

Small Group Communication

Sabeen Sheikh

on 17 April 2018

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Transcript of Small Group Communication

“Extreme” Group Decision-Making
A ball of steel wool
A small ax
A loaded .45 caliber pistol
Can of Crisco
Newspapers (one per person)
Cigarette Lighter
Extra Shirt and pants for each survivor
20 x 20 ft piece of heavy duty canvas
A sectional air map made of plastic
One quart of 100 proof whiskey
A compass
Family size chocolate bars ( 1 per person)
“A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members’ striving for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action.”
Group Communication Skills
Small Group Communication
Discussion Questions
What difficulties did you encounter as a group?
What role did you play as a group member?
What is the difference between problem solving and decision making?
Are group decisions better than individual decisions?
What do you think are the most important characteristics of effective group communication?
Individual Conformity
Individual conformity pressures affect behavior in groups
People exposed to stimuli with a group tend to describe it in terms of the group norms (rather than by individual judgment)

People who conform readily:
More submissive or dependent
High in social approval need and low in accomplishment needs
May be lacking in self-confidence
Social Influence
Social comparison theory explains why we conform.
The theory explains how individuals evaluate their own opinions and abilities by comparing themselves to others in order to reduce uncertainty in these domains, and learn how to define the self.
All humans have a need to evaluate their own opinions and abilities and when we cannot compare with objective criteria, we compare to other people
People tend to change their opinions to be more like the group
Patterns for Effective Groups
1. Getting results
2. Specific/shared purpose
3. Mutual internal accountability
4. Members responsible for numerous tasks/roles
5. Exhibit high quality in performance standards
6. Strive continuously for improvement
7. High credibility and trust
8. Focus on task/avoid distraction
Idea and Problem Solving Abilities
3 communication behaviors that will be helpful:
Introducing relevant issues and ideas
Amplifying or expanding on ideas
Documenting assertions

Two helpful procedural behaviors:
Maintaining focus on the goal/avoiding sidetracks
Pursuing issues systematically
Six behaviors/processes should be avoided

Not having clearly stated group objectives
Group members not coming up with enough ideas
Group does not discuss each idea enough or until resolved
Members rarely help one another
Conflict is intense and counterproductive
Conclusions are not reached or acted upon
Small Group Communication Defined
A small group is defined as a collection of individuals who influence one another, derive some satisfaction from maintaining membership in the group, interact for some purpose, assume specialized roles, are dependent on one another, and communicate face-to-face.
Phases of Group Development
Patterns for Group Decision Making
Consensus is agreement among all members on a decision

Majority vote represents the will of 51% of the members

Railroading occurs when a few group members force their will on the group
(cc) image by nuonsolarteam on Flickr
You and your companions have just survived the crash of a small plane. Both pilot and co-pilot were killed in the crash. It is mid-January, and you are in Northern Canada. The daily temperature is 25 below zero, and the nighttime temperature is 40 below zero. There is snow on the ground, and the countryside is wooded with several creeks criscrossing the area. The nearest town is 20 miles away. You are all dressed in city clothes appropriate for a business meeting. Your group of survivors managed to salvage the following items:
Your task as a group is to list the above 12 items in order of importance for your survival. List the uses for each. You MUST come to agreement as a group.
Have you ever been in a group that experienced Groupthink? Describe what happened.

What signs will you look out for to avoid groupthink?
The group has just begun to come together...
The group understands the task, understands who they are dealing with, leadership/dominance discussed, most susceptible to conflict
The group becomes a cohesive unit. Morale is high as group members actively acknowledge the talents, skills and experience that each member brings to the group.
Group productivity at its highest level, members are unified, objective is to complete task while being supportive and autonomous.
What differences might you see between academic and professional small groups?
Are people born with leadership skills or do they learn them?

What kinds of circumstances or opportunities would teach people leadership skills as they grow up?
1. Cultivate a collectivist (interdependent) attitude
Will help you influence a group toward more effective participation and satisfaction

2. Strive for cohesion while focusing on participation and trust
Focus on member strengths and contributions
Remind group members of their similarities
Be observant of other members and their involvement
Are these skills ethical practices or are we really mastering the art of manipulation?
Can we assume that silence of a group member implies agreement?
Have you ever participated in a group that had a we-versus-them feeling, depicting those in the group who are opposed to you?
Which behavior do you think is hardest to avoid?
The Power of Introverts
Always strive to be an effective team member that has a positive attitude toward team work to further enhance your group communication skills.
Please count from 1 to 4, row by row. All of the 1's are group 1, 2's are group 2 and so on.

Please introduce yourself to your new group.

Please share with your group
your greatest strength as a student
your biggest weakness as a student
a group/community that you are a part of that is important to you
Full transcript