SMALL GROUP COMMUNICATION

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					Com 202                                                                                1
Fall 2010
Class 15




              SMALL GROUPS AND NETWORKS
                                                              … key to Chapter 10 in text

I. OVERVIEW

      A. Nature and types of small groups

            1. Defining characteristics
            2. Types
            3. Small groups as networks (not in
                text)

      B. Stages in the life of a task group (not in
          text)

      C. Communicating to lead



II. NATURE AND TYPES OF SMALL GROUPS

      A. Definition: 3-9 people who are working together to achieve some a goal

            1. “Working together” – some degree of interdependence
            2. Types of goals—one, two or all three of these: ( 3 basic needs, p. 231)

               a. Control – getting something done, influencing the environment

               b. Inclusion – feelings of belonging, being a part of something
                    larger than yourself, helping others feel that they belong.

               c. Affection—feeling cared for, expressing caring for others

      B. Types of groups:

            1. Example photographs [cut from online notes]
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Fall 2010
Class 15


            2. Types of groups – two common categories:

                 a. Task-oriented groups.



                 b. Relationship-oriented or social groups




            3. Groups may be assigned or emergent          (note difference w/ text p. 234)

                 a. Assigned –



                 b. Emergent –


            4. Most groups are not pure types. That is, they combine task and
                social functions, have both assigned and emergent qualities.



        C. Small Groups as Networks     (linked to section exercise last Friday)

            1. A social network is defined by the links between people in a
                 group:

                 a. Contact/Communication: who talks to whom

                 b. Content flows: who talks about a particular topic, engages in
                     a particular behavior.
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Fall 2010
Class 15

            2. Links can go one-way or both ways:

                 a. Reciprocal:



                 b. Non-reciprocal



            3 We can understand the nature of the group by looking at the
               structure of the links…

                 a.



                 b.



                 c.



                 d.



                 e.

            4. All of these things are also affected by how the people you are
                 linked to are linked to others (who the people you know, know).
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Fall 2010
Class 15

            5. To see this let’s consider 3 “pure types” of networks in small
                groups: the line, circle, and star networks…




            a. Who has the most opportunities or power in each network?

            b. Power from…
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Fall 2010
Class 15

6. In real groups, of course, relationships can be much more complicated…




        a. Roles: (note this is a different approach than text, pp. 241-243)

                 Group members


                 Bridge:


                 Liaison:


                 Isolate:

        b. Who do you think….

                 has the most power? next most? why?
                 is most dependent on others? least dependent / most free?
                  why?
                 is likely to be the most creative person in the group on the right?
                  why?


7. Now let’s look at some of the networks in your Friday sections… (discussion)
Com 202                                                                          6
Fall 2010
Class 15

Section FK – Links between those who reported talking at least “once or twice”
(10:30 AM, Pamela Pietrucci)




Discuss concepts of “density” and “centrality”

Section FK – Network of those saying they talked “a few times“ or “often.”
Com 202                                                                          7
Fall 2010
Class 15

Section FB – Links between those who reported talking to someone “only once or
twice”
                                                   (9:30 AM, Mark Hungerford)




Note: this network is less dense, no person is highly central.

Section FB – Links between those who reported talking “a few times” or “often”
Com 202                                                                          8
Fall 2010
Class 15

Section FP – Links between those who reported talking to someone “only once or
twice” or more
                                                          (11:30, John Crowley)




Note: greater density compared to Section FB. Two most central people in red.

Section FP – Links between those who reported talking “a few times” or “often”
Com 202                                                                              9
Fall 2010
Class 15

Section FR – Links between those who reported talking to someone “only once
or twice” or more
                                                      (9:30 AM, Penny Sheets)




    Note: Network is relatively dense at low levels of interaction, but completely
    fragments at higher levels of interaction. Would be harder to act together as
    a group.

Section FR – Links between those who reported talking “a few times” or “often”
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Fall 2010
Class 15


III. FIVE STAGES IN THE LIFE
        OF A TASK GROUP…
      A




      B. Lessons…

          1. .


          2.


          3.




IV. COMMUNICATING TO LEAD (see text pp. 237-239)
      A. Much has been written about what makes a good leader and how to be
          more effective as a leader.

      B. The book talks about three ways to think about leadership – as style, as
          communication skills, as planning. I believe everything about
          leadership ultimately comes down to communication.

               1. While not everyone can be a leader, there are no “Born leaders.”
                   Everyone can become more effective.
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Fall 2010
Class 15

            2. Effective leaders ground their behavior in planning and vision…


                  Planning –             Vision –
                  Analyzing the            The ability to
                  task to be done.          summarize a
                                             path forward
                  Learning                      in terms
                  strengths and                  your
                  weakness of the            audience(s)
                  people involved.           understand.

                  Collecting other
                  necessary info




                                                                     Flexibility –
      3. Effective leaders display behavioral flexibility –
           varying their communication style to meet the               Democratic,
           demands of the situation and the characteristics of
           the group:                                                    Autocratic,

            a. Democratic – encourages group participation in            Laissez-faire
                decision-making. Open-style, seeks feedback.
                                                                      ...depending on
            b. Autocratic – giving orders, maintaining strict            circumstances.
                control, making assignments.

            c. Laissez-faire – laid back, lets group members provide initiative and
                 direction.

            d. Your personality may lean toward one of these, but to be effective
                as a leader, you need to develop the ability to do all three as well
                as the skill to know when to switch styles.
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Fall 2010
Class 15

      4. Our power as leaders derives from the relationships we have with
          others—all power is relational. Five bases of power:

             a. Reward power – the ability to give followers what they want and
                 need.

             b. Punishment power—the ability to withhold what followers want, to
                 use punishment or threats to gain compliance.

             c. Referent power— the power that comes from others’ admiration or
                 respect for your character. Charisma.

             d. Expert power—the ability to bring information that others value

             e. Legitimate power—power given because of position or title (must
                  be accepted to be effective).


      5. Effective leaders recognize the important of both task and relationship
           messages (see p. 243).

                  Task Messages              Social / Relational Messages
                 Initiating / orienting           Establishing norms
                Information seeking                  Gatekeeping
                    Opinion giving                    Supporting
                       Clarifying                    Harmonizing
                  Extending ideas /
                                                   Tension relieving
                      elaborating
                       Evaluating                   Dramatizing
                     Summarizing             Showing solidarity / cohesion
                     Coordinating
                 Consensus testing
                  Record checking


      Finally, more than anything else, leaders lead by directing attention.

             a. Attention as scare resource.

             b. Attention as first step in addressing any problem, achieving any
                    goal.

				
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