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Chapter 9

Human Communication in Society (Book alone)

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Chapter 9 – Small Group Communication The Importance of Small Group Communication Reasons to study small group communication Fact of life - Grouphate : the distaste and aversion that people feel toward working in groups - Primary groups : groups that provide members with a sense of belonging and affection (family or social groups) - Secondary groups: groups that meet principally to sole problems (support groups or work groups) Enhance college performance - Group work in general leads to higher-quality thinking and decision making Enhanced Career Success - Business or another profession, organizations tend to hire those who have proven they can work well with others Enhanced personal life Advantages and disadvantages of group work - A group can produce more innovative ideas than an individual working alone - Social Facilitation : the tendency for people to work harder and do better when others are around - Small group work can promote critical thinking, leading to better decisions. - Members can benefit from collective contributions - Group members also have to justify their opinions and judgments to other group members, each opinion is subject to careful scrutiny - Disadvantages—groups usually take more time to make decisions than do individuals - Such communication behaviors can cause frustration and conflict, preventing members from working productively and cohesively What is Small Group Communication? - Small group communication: communication among a small number of people who share a common purpose or goal, who feel connected to each other, and coordinate their behavior Small number of people - 3 is the fewest number of people and 5 to 7 is the optimum upper limit - Odd number of members is recommended to avoid ties when a vote is required A common purpose - Small groups that are working toward a common purpose A connection with each other - Groups need to experience a group identity and recognize their interdependence, because when members do not feel a part of the group, the group won’t function as it should
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- The challenge for the small group is to find ways to create a sense of group identity for all members, and communication is often key to making this happen An influence on each other -
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