Group Communication - Working in teams (by Elizabeth Kernohan)


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This presentation was designed and developed by Elizabeth Kernohan and is shared here with her kind permission. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

The presentation accompanies a session on team work and communication that Elizabeth has designed. To access the overview that accompanies the presentation, please go to:

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  • What is this about?
  • WHY do we have to study communication? WE ALL DO IT What is there to ‘study’? BUT do we do it well?
  • Read - discuss note down any questions you want to ask. IS THIS a good time for a break? 10 mins - BE BACK IN CLASS AT XX
  • Here sre some NORMS to use today
  • ON COMPLETION OF TASK -- + see breakers image next slide
  • Group Communication - Working in teams (by Elizabeth Kernohan)

    1. 1. Group Communication This session explores - Working in teams <ul><li>The nature of Group Communication </li></ul><ul><li>How groups develop and function </li></ul><ul><li>Effective roles / interactions in groups </li></ul>Unitec Elizabeth Kernohan 2011
    2. 2. unitec EKernohan 2011
    3. 3. unitec EKernohan 2011 <ul><li>In-class activity : </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to the person next to you … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about teams you have been in – SPORT / SCHOOL / WORKPLACE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>WAS it a functional team? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What made it so? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What got in the way of it functioning well as a team? </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. unitec EKernohan 2011 Areas of Communication Studies <ul><li>Intrapersonal communication - within oneself </li></ul><ul><li>Interpersonal communication - between two people </li></ul><ul><li>Group communication – among several people </li></ul><ul><li>Organisational Communication - within an organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Public Communication – speaker(s) to an audience </li></ul><ul><li>Mass Communication - to a large, remote audience </li></ul><ul><li>Intercultural - between individuals/groups with different </li></ul><ul><li>backgrounds / values/beliefs </li></ul>
    5. 5. unitec EKernohan 2011 A reminder - Why we study communication! Communication processes are fundamental to human society, social relationships and personal identity. Understanding what makes communication effective (or not) enhances our competence in interactions with other people. Becoming a more effective communicator can improve our relationships with other people, whether at home or in the workplace. Communicative competence is becoming increasingly important in a global/multicultural society - for employment and citizenship.
    6. 6. Poor Communication Can Kill
    7. 7. Let me read you a NEWSPAPER item (NZ Herald October 2004) I apologize if anyone here was related to the man in the story. <ul><li>4WD WINCH MANUAL CITED IN FATAL ACCIDENT HEARING (NZ Herald October 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>A Wellington man was killed in 2003 in a workplace accident because of poorly written instructions in a winch manual. </li></ul><ul><li>Christopher Corner died form a blow to the head when his 4-wheel drive vehicle shot out of control, down a sloping driveway and he was thrown to the ground. Mr Comber was an electrical engineer with a good knowledge of machinery and he was fastidious about safety. Mr Comber had just had the winch professionally fitted to his 4WD vehicle and was following the supplier’s instructions to “…play out and rewind the cable under tension.” </li></ul>
    8. 8. … .continued <ul><li>Constable Moore stated that he was ‘quite surprised at the lack of information that there is in the instruction booklet with regard to setting out the steps required [for safe use of a winch]’. </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanic and 4WD specialist Grant Guy said the instruction booklet was inadequate. Winch owners should stretch a new cable on flat ground. </li></ul><ul><li>He [Mr Comber] had attached the winch-wire to a post at the top of the drive, intending to winch up the vehicle (in neutral with the handbrake off) but he failed set the winch into engaged gear. The winch ‘free-spooled’ and the vehicle rolled backwards. When it reached the end of the cable the wire ripped from the winch-drum and the 4WD continued down the hill. It is believed that Mr Comber attempted to prevent the vehicle rolling. </li></ul>
    9. 9. unitec EKernohan 2011 In the ‘real world’ <ul><li>  Larger groups will sub-divide into smaller groups </li></ul><ul><li>In business = team units. </li></ul><ul><li>Business group structure - divisions of labour / hierarchical differentiation to perform different functions. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Groups do not suddenly manifest themselves as well-integrated, fully-functioning and task-efficient teams. </li></ul><ul><li>Effective teams evolve over time, and need effort and direction in order to perform achieve their goals. </li></ul>
    10. 10. unitec EKernohan 2011 Is this class a group? Is the class a team? TEAMS are formed to achieve goals. Teams function through effective communication. TODAY You will be required to form a team. 3 – 4 people to achieve a goal.
    11. 11. unitec EKernohan 2011 Teams are defined as groups of people who … <ul><li>Share a common goal </li></ul><ul><li>Interact together to achieve that goal </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain stable patterns of relating </li></ul><ul><li>Perceive themselves as a [cohesive] group. </li></ul>  Group communication refers to meaningful interaction among several individuals, all of whom can act as senders and receivers . Groups consist of three or more people who share a mutually acknowledged rationale for interacting together, usually toward some kind of shared purpose/goal .
    12. 12. unitec EKernohan 2011 The sum of the parts is greater than the parts. Teams working and learning together can achieve SYNERGY.    Synergy – making teamwork work. Synergy is the co-ordinated actions [of muscles]. Shared Meaning 1 2 3 The area of shared meaning is small when the team first comes together. Persons 1 and 3 may share understandings that they do not have in common with person 2. Team members
    13. 13. unitec EKernohan 2011 SYNERGY is achieved by increasing the area of shared meaning together, through communication – to function better than any one team member would have achieved by working alone. 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 7 SYNERGY Synergy: the combined effect of the parts exceeds their individual effects.
    14. 14. Unitec E Kernohan 2011 <ul><li>4-step process to effective teamwork: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify the purpose </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hold effective meetings - times & attendance take notes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be effective team members - communication & roles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get the job done - individual & group goals </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. unitec EKernohan 2011 Norms – ground rules for teams. Norms encourage openness in team communication. Openness and trust are essential for an effectively functioning team. Norms are the expectations for behaviour of all members working within a team. The way we do things’ for the life of this team. Norms are present whether they have been discussed (EXPLICIT) or not discussed (IMPLICIT). CONFLICT can be avoided if the norms are made explicit – discussed and committed to, at the time the team is formed.
    16. 16. unitec EKernohan 2011 TEAMWORK 1 – quality talking DEBATE = attacking (‘you are wrong’) behaviour. Power struggle / competitive DISCUSSION = (‘Yes, but …’ ) persuading behaviour. Appropriate when the issue is straightforward (used most of the time in teams) / compromise DIALOGUE = listening exploring and UNDERSTANDING ideas and people’s thinking. It takes TIME and works well for complex issues (many heads are better than one = synergetic) / collaborative Moving from debate to discussion to dialogue Dialogue = a deeper style of communication
    17. 17. unitec EKernohan 2011 TEAMWORK 2 - Making Decisions MAJORITY VOTE Benefits Simple Fast Disadvantage 55% for = 45% against means there is a large group not committed to the team’s actions CONSENSUS Benefits Solution satisfies needs of all Discussion may lead to new solution Greater team commitment Develops team spirit Disadvantage Time consuming Other Brainstorming Mind mapping Plus Use a combination of vote and consensus
    18. 18. unitec EKernohan 2011 TEAMWORK 3 - Different Cultural Values The principles of effective teamwork are universal. Culture can influence team behaviour.
    19. 19. unitec EKernohan 2011
    20. 20. unitec EKernohan 2011 The principles of effective teamwork are universal. Culture can influence team behaviour. <ul><li>Team member or individual? – Collective cultures (strong tradition of working together). </li></ul><ul><li>Team Leadership – Some cultures rely on one strong leader (age or status) as decision-maker. Others prefer to share ideas / discuss / disagree / challenge. </li></ul><ul><li>Gender – little experience of working with the opposite sex – age / status / women’s communication styles (defer or assertive). </li></ul><ul><li>Speaking openly / disagreeing – may be accepted in some cultures, not others. Saying ‘no’ to requests may be culturally inappropriate. </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment to the team VS other commitments – differing values </li></ul><ul><li>In some cultures family must come first. </li></ul><ul><li>Religion or Sport may impact on the team needs. </li></ul>
    21. 21. unitec EKernohan 2011 TEAMWORK 4 - ROLES <ul><li>Task-focused roles – What is required to meet the objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Group Maintenance roles (relationship roles or maintenance actions) to develop team spirit. </li></ul><ul><li>HOW the team interacts can affect the outcome of the goal. </li></ul><ul><li>3. INDIVIDUAL Roles - Self-centered / distracting </li></ul><ul><li>Focusing on the needs of an individual at the expense of the group’s needs. </li></ul><ul><li>The actions of one may prevent progress of the team (blocking behaviour). </li></ul>TWO main functions needed for the team to be effective. 1. TASK (the Pistons) and 2. MAINTENANCE (the oil):
    22. 22. unitec EKernohan 2011 In-class activity What role do you play? <ul><li>Handout#1 </li></ul><ul><li>Read the instructions </li></ul><ul><li>In Each group of questions ( A – E) choose 2 statements that apply to you. </li></ul><ul><li>Place TWO ticks beside the statement MOST like you </li></ul><ul><li>and ONE tick beside your 2 nd choice. </li></ul><ul><li>When you have made your 2 choices in all five groups of questions – use the code* (I will supply) to analyse your results. </li></ul><ul><li>Convert the ticks to letters* - 2 ticks equals 2 of the letter code </li></ul><ul><li>- 1 tick equals 1 of the letter code </li></ul><ul><li>You should have 15 letters in total** </li></ul>
    23. 23. unitec EKernohan 2011 I – generates ideas J - gets the job done, efficient R – harmoniser, relationship focused <ul><li>You may be a combination of all three. </li></ul><ul><li>You may take different roles in different groups. </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>You may engage in self-centered behaviour. </li></ul><ul><li>Be AWARE of your own behaviour and the behaviour of others. </li></ul>
    24. 24. unitec EKernohan 2011 Functional Roles in Groups Handout #2   TASK Actions Initiator Clarifier Evaluator Recorder Co-ordinator Explainer Inquirer – information seeker Information provider RELATIONSHIP Actions Encourager Supporter Harmoniser Confronter Tension-reliever Listener Interpersonal problem-solver Observer
    25. 25. unitec EKernohan 2011 Functional Roles in Group (continued)   SELF-CENTRED Actions Withdrawer - avoider Attention-seeker Joker Blocker Dominator Sidetracker Attacker Self-centered actions May prevent progress Meet individual’s needs (conscious or unconscious) at expense of group Overly Task-focused Someone may dominate Not all ideas heard Over-emphasis on relationships Task not achieved
    26. 26. unitec EKernohan 2011 TEAMWORK 5 – Group stages Fisher model Handout #4 <ul><li>Stages do NOT necessarily follow one after the other </li></ul><ul><li>All teams develop and change </li></ul><ul><li>Teams CAN move on from conflict to unity commitment </li></ul><ul><li>HOW? </li></ul><ul><li>Effective Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Recognise the conflict (stage) – avoid getting stuck there or withdrawing. </li></ul>
    27. 27. unitec EKernohan 2011 Fisher Model <ul><li>  Orientation - Group meets (forming) </li></ul><ul><li>1. work out how the group is to function </li></ul><ul><li>2. what the priorities are </li></ul><ul><li>3. how/what each person will contribute to the group. </li></ul><ul><li>Confusion over tasks, roles, and norms of interaction is typical. </li></ul><ul><li>Minimal progress towards group goals will be made. </li></ul><ul><li>Conflict - The second stage typically involves a degree of conflict as differences in role preferences, claims to status/leadership and expectations in means & ends emerge and require negotiating. </li></ul><ul><li>Progress on tasks may be limited, as individual needs are pursued above team needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Tasks and barriers to accomplishing them will become clearer. </li></ul>
    28. 28. unitec EKernohan 2011 <ul><li>Emergence – </li></ul><ul><li>1. shared sense of purpose </li></ul><ul><li>2. mutual recognition of roles (including status/ hierarchy) </li></ul><ul><li>3. integration/belonging - individuals identify with the group. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal needs are balanced with those of the group, allowing progress to be made toward goals. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reinforcement - greater degree of cohesion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Roles fine-tuned and the groups’ goals become the focus and priority. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>shared identity and teamwork </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>members learn to interact effectively with each other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>individual strengths utilised . </li></ul></ul>
    29. 29. SIT IN THE GROUPS YOU FORMED PRIOR TO THE BREAK ... in class activity #2 <ul><li>PROBLEM-SOLVING task </li></ul><ul><li>Combine with the 2 other groups next to you – to make a team of 9 people. </li></ul><ul><li>The bigger the group the harder to gain consensus. </li></ul><ul><li>Handout </li></ul><ul><li>Read instructions </li></ul><ul><li>Solve the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Remember what we discussed about the Fisher Model stages </li></ul>
    30. 30. Guidelines for group / team work [NORMS] <ul><li>LISTEN to each other </li></ul><ul><li>DON’T interrupt </li></ul><ul><li>ASK questions – to generate information </li></ul><ul><li>PARTICIPATE with interest and enthusiasm </li></ul><ul><li>ENCOURAGE each other </li></ul><ul><li>REACT to ideas, not people </li></ul><ul><li>ASSIGN work to each member </li></ul><ul><li>MAKE DECISIONS together </li></ul><ul><li>SUPPORT and TRUST team-mates </li></ul>
    31. 31. <ul><li>A person’s ability to get along with others and work with others can be the ‘make or break’ quality of an effective team member. </li></ul><ul><li>An effective team requires effective team members. </li></ul><ul><li>Team performance can be bolstered by strong individual performance. </li></ul>
    32. 32. Go the Breakers