Defining small-group communication
oSmall-group communication is the interaction among 3 to 9
people who are working together to achieve an
oIt involves sending verbal and nonverbal signal that are
perceived, interpreted, and responded to by other people.
Types of small-group communication:
Assigned groups: when individuals are appointed to be members
(student union advisory board)
Emergent group: when a group of individuals decide to form a group
(group of friend who meet at college)
Task-oriented group: formed for completing tasks. (Students
studying for an exam)
Relationship-oriented group: (family)
socially negotiated system of rules that guide group
Groups develop a unique group-culture through
Roles: every group member enacts a role, which is a consistent
pattern of interaction or behavior exhibited over time. Two major
types of group roles are formal and informal roles.
Formal or positional role: an assigned role based on an individual’s
position or title within a group.
Informal or behavioral role: the role that is developed
spontaneously within a group.
Roles are defined by behaviors
Various types of behaviors performed by group
Various types of behaviors
Task functions: behaviors directly relevant to the group’s purpose.
Help group members to productively focus on their assignment.
Maintenance function: behaviors that focus on interpersonal
relationships among group members
Self-centered function: behaviors that serve the needs of individual
at the expense of the group.
The emotional tone or atmosphere members create within the
Three factors that contribute to group climate are:
Cohesiveness generally is desirable. Though there is an unintended
outcome of cohesion: Groupthink.
Groupthink happens when the desire for cohesion and agreement
takes precedence over critical analysis and discussion.
Groupthink can destroy effective decision making.
Observable signs of groupthink
(by Irving Janis)
An illusion of invulnerability by the group
An unquestioned belief in the morality of the group
Collective efforts to rationalize faulty decisions
Stereotypic views of enemy leaders as evil
Self-censorship of alternative view-points
A shared illusion that all group members think the same thing
Direct pressure on group-members expressing divergent opinion
The emergent of mind-guards o screen the group from information contradictory to the
prevailing opinion 167.
Group-culture is influenced by the diversity of the group.
Within-group diversity: the presence of observable and/or implicit differences