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Small Group Communication Why Should You Learn About Small Groups? To meet needs Groups are everywhere To learn a highly valued skill To become an effective group member To participate in the democratic process What is Small-Group Communication? The interaction between three to nine people who are working together to achieve an interdependent goal The Types and Functions of Small Groups Task-oriented groups – completing tasks – Secondary groups Relationship-oriented groups – inclusion/affection – Primary groups Assigned groups – appointed hierarchy Emergent groups – environmental conditions What is Leadership? A process of using communication to influence the behaviors and attitudes of others to meet group goals The Role of Leadership in Small Groups Types of Small Group Leaders – Designated leaders - appointed – Emergent leaders - environmental The Role of Leadership in Small Groups Power and Group Leadership – Distributive power - leader – Integrative power interdependence – Designated power - relational Sources of Power – – – – – Reward Punishment – withhold needs Coercion – hostile tactics Referent - loyalty Expert power - knowledge Theoretical Approaches to Group Leadership Style Approaches – Democratic leaders – Laissez-faire leaders – Autocratic leaders Contingency Approaches – Different contingencies (situations) require different leadership styles Theoretical Approaches to Group Leadership Communication Competencies Approach – What do effective leaders do? The Distributed Leadership Approach – Each member is expected to help the group move forward Establishing Culture in Small Groups Group Norms – Informal rules for interaction Role Structure – Formal (positional) and informal (behavioral) roles – Behavioral functions Task functions Maintenance functions Self-centered functions Establishing Culture in Small Groups Group Cohesiveness – Trust, supportiveness, cohesiveness – Groupthink Diversity and Cognitive Paradigms – Observable diversity (physical characteristics) – Implicit diversity (worldview) Problem Solving and Decision Making Characteristics Solving of Group Problem – Multiple perspectives – Takes longer – Well suited for conjunctive tasks (all members have some info, no one has all) – More effective when the process is systematic and organized Problem Solving and Decision Making Effective Group Problem Solving – Wording the discussion question Is it a question of fact, value, or policy? Is it stated clearly? Is it measurable? Does it focus on the problem? – Discussing criteria for judging solutions Absolute criteria (must be met) Important criteria (should be met) Problem Solving and Decision Making – Identifying alternatives Brainstorming – Evaluating alternatives The Functions of Groups in a New Era Making decisions Effecting change Negotiating conflict Fostering creativity Maintaining ties to stakeholders Technology and Group Communication Processes Group Decision Support System (GDSS) – Brainstorming – Evaluation of alternatives – Anonymous – Efficient How Should You Communicate in Small Groups? Relate your statements to preceding remarks Use conventional word arrangements Speak concisely State one point at a time Being an Ethical Group Member Be trustworthy and supportive Be honest and truthful Be thorough and unbiased when evaluating information Behave with integrity Manage group conflict ethically Questions? Comments from TAs Head to recitation.