THE CONCEPT OF SMALLTHE CONCEPT OF SMALL
GROUP COMMUNICATIONGROUP COMMUNICATION
ELEMENTS OF SMALLELEMENTS OF SMALL
GROUPGROUP
INTRODUCTIONINTRODUCTION
 Ordinarily, humans do not liveOrdinarily, humans do not live
in solitary confinement. Wein soli...
DEFINITION OF SMALLDEFINITION OF SMALL
GROUPGROUP
 Cragan and Wright (1999)Cragan and Wright (1999)
define small group as...
Directly ObservableDirectly Observable
CharacteristicsCharacteristics
 A small group hasA small group has
directly observ...
InteractionInteraction
 In a small group, interaction is vital in order toIn a small group, interaction is vital in order...
SizeSize
 Normally, a small group consists of three to sevenNormally, a small group consists of three to seven
members. H...
TimeTime
 Group discussions are usually conducted at pre-Group discussions are usually conducted at pre-
determined times...
SpaceSpace
 Group members need a comfortable and suitable spaceGroup members need a comfortable and suitable space
to int...
StructureStructure
 An effective group has a very clear structure. EveryAn effective group has a very clear structure. Ev...
 Apart from directly observableApart from directly observable
characteristics, small groups also havecharacteristics, sma...
InterdependenceInterdependence
 Group coordination can beGroup coordination can be
enhanced by cooperativeenhanced by coo...
GoalsGoals
 A successful group is a group that has clearA successful group is a group that has clear
goals, which are und...
NormsNorms
 Group norms are the rules and standardsGroup norms are the rules and standards
that need to be followed by al...
 We also need to know that in a group,We also need to know that in a group,
there are written and unwritten norms.there a...
CONCLUSIONCONCLUSION
 In conclusion, we can say that getting a group of peopleIn conclusion, we can say that getting a gr...
INTERPERSONAL AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS- C.8
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INTERPERSONAL AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS

CHAPTER 8

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INTERPERSONAL AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS- C.8

  1. 1. THE CONCEPT OF SMALLTHE CONCEPT OF SMALL GROUP COMMUNICATIONGROUP COMMUNICATION
  2. 2. ELEMENTS OF SMALLELEMENTS OF SMALL GROUPGROUP
  3. 3. INTRODUCTIONINTRODUCTION  Ordinarily, humans do not liveOrdinarily, humans do not live in solitary confinement. Wein solitary confinement. We interact with people around usinteract with people around us and are interdependent onand are interdependent on each other. There are cases,each other. There are cases, where efforts by people towhere efforts by people to isolate themselves from theisolate themselves from the civilized world result in mentalcivilized world result in mental and nervous breakdown. Thus,and nervous breakdown. Thus, we cannot escape fromwe cannot escape from engaging in societal activities.engaging in societal activities. We are bound to participate inWe are bound to participate in various groups but do we reallyvarious groups but do we really know what groups are and howknow what groups are and how we should communicate inwe should communicate in groups? Are all gatheringsgroups? Are all gatherings considered groups and whyconsidered groups and why some groups are referred to assome groups are referred to as small groups? These are thesmall groups? These are the issues that we will look at inissues that we will look at in this topic.this topic.
  4. 4. DEFINITION OF SMALLDEFINITION OF SMALL GROUPGROUP  Cragan and Wright (1999)Cragan and Wright (1999) define small group as "adefine small group as "a few people engaging infew people engaging in communication over time,communication over time, usually in face-to-faceusually in face-to-face settings, who have commonsettings, who have common goals and norms and havegoals and norms and have developed adeveloped a communication pattern forcommunication pattern for meeting their goals in anmeeting their goals in an interdependent manner."interdependent manner."  Based on this definition, weBased on this definition, we can gather that there arecan gather that there are some elements thatsome elements that describe human gatheringsdescribe human gatherings as group. Basically, theas group. Basically, the elements of a small groupelements of a small group can be divided into twocan be divided into two characteristicscharacteristics
  5. 5. Directly ObservableDirectly Observable CharacteristicsCharacteristics  A small group hasA small group has directly observabledirectly observable characteristics.characteristics. TheseThese characteristicscharacteristics encompass:encompass:  InteractionInteraction  SizeSize  TimeTime  SpaceSpace  structurestructure
  6. 6. InteractionInteraction  In a small group, interaction is vital in order toIn a small group, interaction is vital in order to accomplish shared goals. Interaction in a small groupaccomplish shared goals. Interaction in a small group involves cooperation. Within cooperative activities,involves cooperation. Within cooperative activities, individuals seek outcomes that are beneficial toindividuals seek outcomes that are beneficial to themselves and also other group members.themselves and also other group members.  We communicate verbally or nonverbally to conveyWe communicate verbally or nonverbally to convey messages so they can be well understood by others.messages so they can be well understood by others. Once everyone has agreed upon some goals, necessaryOnce everyone has agreed upon some goals, necessary actions can be taken in accordance with the goals.actions can be taken in accordance with the goals.  Just imagine if there is no group interaction. How canJust imagine if there is no group interaction. How can group members understand and follow instructions ifgroup members understand and follow instructions if they do not know what is wanted out of them? Withoutthey do not know what is wanted out of them? Without interactive members, a group can be considered asinteractive members, a group can be considered as static or deadstatic or dead
  7. 7. SizeSize  Normally, a small group consists of three to sevenNormally, a small group consists of three to seven members. However, a good small group is a group thatmembers. However, a good small group is a group that obeys the principle of the smallest size, that is, anobeys the principle of the smallest size, that is, an optimum group size based on given tasks and groupoptimum group size based on given tasks and group goals. If the group goals are difficult to achieve andgoals. If the group goals are difficult to achieve and demand exceptional commitment from team members,demand exceptional commitment from team members, the group should consist of about eight to twenty people.the group should consist of about eight to twenty people. In contrast, a smaller group size is suitable for simpleIn contrast, a smaller group size is suitable for simple tasks or goals.tasks or goals.
  8. 8. TimeTime  Group discussions are usually conducted at pre-Group discussions are usually conducted at pre- determined times, where all group members will bedetermined times, where all group members will be present. So, the scheduling of time plays a role inpresent. So, the scheduling of time plays a role in coordinating group members. However, the duration ofcoordinating group members. However, the duration of meetings is not limited. It depends on what is discussedmeetings is not limited. It depends on what is discussed and how it is being discussed. For instance, problem-and how it is being discussed. For instance, problem- solving discussions or annual meetings may last longersolving discussions or annual meetings may last longer compared to meetings to discuss the progress of projects.compared to meetings to discuss the progress of projects. Apart from that, a systematic process of discussion willApart from that, a systematic process of discussion will also shorten the duration of a session.also shorten the duration of a session.
  9. 9. SpaceSpace  Group members need a comfortable and suitable spaceGroup members need a comfortable and suitable space to interact. For instance, the size of a room, itsto interact. For instance, the size of a room, its temperature, and the arrangement of chairs and tablestemperature, and the arrangement of chairs and tables in it, influence the form and pace of discussion.in it, influence the form and pace of discussion. Therefore, the existence of a proper meeting spaceTherefore, the existence of a proper meeting space encourages group members to meet face to face.encourages group members to meet face to face.  However, in this era of information and communicationHowever, in this era of information and communication technology, space is no more seen as an obstacle fortechnology, space is no more seen as an obstacle for communication as there are facilities like video-communication as there are facilities like video- conferencing and e-mailconferencing and e-mail..
  10. 10. StructureStructure  An effective group has a very clear structure. EveryAn effective group has a very clear structure. Every member of the group understands each other's tasksmember of the group understands each other's tasks according to the group hierarchy. A group without aaccording to the group hierarchy. A group without a structure is unsystematic and faces difficulties instructure is unsystematic and faces difficulties in reaching its goals.reaching its goals.  For example, in a small group, there may be a leader, anFor example, in a small group, there may be a leader, an assistant leader, and group members, who carry variousassistant leader, and group members, who carry various tasks. The leader would be responsible to ensure thattasks. The leader would be responsible to ensure that the end product is delivered on time and of quality. Thethe end product is delivered on time and of quality. The assistant leader helps the leader, where necessary or asassistant leader helps the leader, where necessary or as required. On the other hand, group members arerequired. On the other hand, group members are responsible to carry out their respective tasks.responsible to carry out their respective tasks.  The important thing is that the job scope orThe important thing is that the job scope or responsibilities of every individual in a structured groupresponsibilities of every individual in a structured group has to be very clear from the very beginninghas to be very clear from the very beginning
  11. 11.  Apart from directly observableApart from directly observable characteristics, small groups also havecharacteristics, small groups also have indirectly observable characteristicsindirectly observable characteristics that are abstract in nature. Thesethat are abstract in nature. These characteristics indirectly influence thecharacteristics indirectly influence the group's movement. We would not begroup's movement. We would not be able to observe or identify theseable to observe or identify these characteristics if we are not part of thecharacteristics if we are not part of the group. Among them are:group. Among them are:  InterdependenceInterdependence  GoalsGoals  normsnorms Indirectly ObservableIndirectly Observable CharacteristicsCharacteristics
  12. 12. InterdependenceInterdependence  Group coordination can beGroup coordination can be enhanced by cooperativeenhanced by cooperative efforts of team members forefforts of team members for the purpose of achievingthe purpose of achieving desired goals. Since a group isdesired goals. Since a group is a system, every member of thea system, every member of the system needs to collaborate insystem needs to collaborate in doing real work in which theydoing real work in which they promote each other's successpromote each other's success by sharing resources andby sharing resources and helping, supporting,helping, supporting, encouraging, and applaudingencouraging, and applauding each other's efforts to achieveeach other's efforts to achieve mutual benefits. Just imagine amutual benefits. Just imagine a group without cooperativegroup without cooperative members? How would theymembers? How would they strategize? Surely there will bestrategize? Surely there will be chaos, where everyonechaos, where everyone pursues the group goals withpursues the group goals with his or her own way or evenhis or her own way or even worse, they do not work towardworse, they do not work toward the same goal.the same goal.
  13. 13. GoalsGoals  A successful group is a group that has clearA successful group is a group that has clear goals, which are understood by all teamgoals, which are understood by all team members. Goals are a group's aims. Teammembers. Goals are a group's aims. Team members should not only know what theirmembers should not only know what their group goals are but they should also know howgroup goals are but they should also know how to realize them. There are two types of groupto realize them. There are two types of group goalsgoals
  14. 14. NormsNorms  Group norms are the rules and standardsGroup norms are the rules and standards that need to be followed by all teamthat need to be followed by all team members to ensure the smooth runningmembers to ensure the smooth running of group process towards their goalsof group process towards their goals (Rothwell, 1992). One such rule may be(Rothwell, 1992). One such rule may be the requirement for everyone to bethe requirement for everyone to be punctual for meetings. In this scenario,punctual for meetings. In this scenario, someone, who follows group norms willsomeone, who follows group norms will make sure that he or she allocatesmake sure that he or she allocates sufficient time to switch off his computer,sufficient time to switch off his computer, grab his report from an easy-to-locategrab his report from an easy-to-locate place, walk to the meeting room, and beplace, walk to the meeting room, and be ready before the boss comes in.ready before the boss comes in.
  15. 15.  We also need to know that in a group,We also need to know that in a group, there are written and unwritten norms.there are written and unwritten norms. Written norms are norms that need to beWritten norms are norms that need to be stated out clearly and make known tostated out clearly and make known to all. An example of a written norm is theall. An example of a written norm is the working hours of a company, which isworking hours of a company, which is applicable to all groups within thatapplicable to all groups within that company. In contrast, unwritten normscompany. In contrast, unwritten norms are norms that are already understoodare norms that are already understood and accepted by all. An example is theand accepted by all. An example is the act of shaking hands when or afteract of shaking hands when or after meeting someone.meeting someone.
  16. 16. CONCLUSIONCONCLUSION  In conclusion, we can say that getting a group of peopleIn conclusion, we can say that getting a group of people to form a group does not mean that we can already getto form a group does not mean that we can already get work done. In forming a group, we need to pay attentionwork done. In forming a group, we need to pay attention to the important elements of small groupto the important elements of small group communication, where there are directly observablecommunication, where there are directly observable and indirectly observable characteristics. Theseand indirectly observable characteristics. These elements are factors that strongly affect the efficiencyelements are factors that strongly affect the efficiency and effectiveness of group operations especially inand effectiveness of group operations especially in terms of communication.terms of communication.

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