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Small Groups As The

Heart Of Society
Introduction
 This chapter, will help you start this process by asking you to
consider how important groups are in your life.

 You will be introduced with:

 Concepts central to understanding small groups processes,

 Variety of groups you will encounter

 Importance of being an ethical participant observer in groups.


Groups in your life

 Lawrence Frey, a leading advocate for the study of small groups in


their natural settings, believes that the small groups is the most
important social formation.

 The first group you encounter is your family

 Professionally, the higher you go in any organization, the more you


will spend working as member of small groups
Group as problem solvers
 Solving problems means coming up with a plan and executing it.

 Many companies using teams and groups and more planning is


done by groups.

 All courses use small group participation as a way to learn


actively.

 You need to be able to work effectively in groups to participate


in planning to carry out assignments
Participating in groups
 Human feeling and behavior important to understand how groups
operate ,

 Effective group problem solving depends on how well members


understand such as about their members feel about given task and
how skilled they are at expressing themselves and listening to others.

 Thus, communication in groups performs two key functions:-

 It accomplishes the group’s task

 Creates “ the social fabric of the groups' by promoting relationships


among members
Group versus individuals as problem
solvers
 Research of effectiveness of solutions developed by small groups,
compared to those planned by individuals acting alone, has shown
that groups can be far superior for solving many types of problems.

 Groups tend to do much better than individuals when several


alternative solutions are possible

 They also better at conjunctive tasks, where no one person has all
the information needed to solve a problem , but each member has
some needed information
When a group is a good choice

 Groups members can help each other think critically by correcting


one another’s misinformation, faulty assumptions and invalid
reasoning

 Group members often counteract each other’s tendencies to


engage in self-defeating behavior.

 Having qualified, dedicated team members work together to


address important issue can produce better results.
When a group is not a good choice
 When a problem has a best solution (such as in accounting task), a
skilled person working alone often performs better than a group of
less knowledgeable people, even if the group includes the highly
skilled person as a member.

 Coordinating the work of several persons when conditions are


changing rapidly (as in natural disaster or battle) may be done best
by one person (a commander or coach)
Table 1.1 problems appropriate for
groups vs individuals
Problems suitable for Problems suitable for an
a group individual
 Problem complex; one person is  Best solutions , recognized expert is
not likely to have all relevant most qualified to determine that
information solution
 Several acceptable solutions  Conditions are changing rapidly
and one best solution does not (such as natural disaster), and
exist coordination is best done by one
person
 Acceptance of the solution by
those who are affected is  Time short and decision must made
critical quickly
 Sufficient time for a group to  Group members have personality or
meet and discuss and analyze social problem that make it difficult
the problem. to work as team.
Groups, small groups, teams and small
group communication

GROUPS

 Three or more individuals who have a common purpose, interact


with each other, influence with each other , influence each other
and are interdependent.
Small groups
 A group of at least three people that is small enough for
individual members to perceive one another as individual
members to perceive one another as individuals during
interaction
Small group communication
 The verbal and non- verbal interaction among members of a small
group

COMMUNICATION

 The perception , interpretation, and response of people to


message produced by others
Groups and technology
 Technology is becoming a critical component of how group members
communicate

 John Cragan and David Wright, two small group theorists, call groups
that use technology Cyborg Decision-making Groups , groups that
blend face-to-face communication with technology such as e-mail and
interactive software.
Classifying groups by their
major purpose

Primary groups Secondary groups

 Groups formed to meet  Groups formed to meet


primary needs, for inclusion secondary needs for control
and affection and problem solving
Types of secondary groups
 Support groups: formed for members to help each other understand
, address, and cope with personal issues or problems

 Learning groups: members meet to understand and learn about a


particular topic

 Organizational groups: created by organizations, usually to solve


organizational problems

 Committee: performs specific service for an organization


Cont’
 Standing Committee is a permanent committee whereas Ad Hoc
committees created to perform one special assignment , will close after
finished it.

 Quality control circles : Organizational groups that address issues of


job performance and work improvement

 Self –managed work terms : Also called autonomous work groups; group
of peers who manage their own work schedules and procedures
Being an ethical group member
1. Members must be willing to communicate and share ideas, information
and perspectives within the group.

2. Group members should treat their fellow members with respect and
consideration.

3. Group members should use their best thinking skills when they evaluate
information, ideas and proposals in a group.

4. Members must demonstrate a commitment to the group.


The participant – observer
perspective
 A group member who participates but also observes the
group and adapts as necessary and can help a group
succeed.
Summary
 Small group members participating in decision making create and
considering more issues, correct each other’s misinformation,
accept solutions more often and more loyal to the organization
than members who don’t participate.