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SMALL GROUPS AND NETWORKS
… key to Chapter 10 in text
A. Nature and types of small groups
1. Defining characteristics
3. Small groups as networks (not in
B. Stages in the life of a task group (not in
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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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
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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2. Links can go one-way or both ways:
3 We can understand the nature of the group by looking at the
structure of the links…
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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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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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)
b. Who do you think….
has the most power? next most? why?
is most dependent on others? least dependent / most free?
is likely to be the most creative person in the group on the right?
7. Now let’s look at some of the networks in your Friday sections… (discussion)
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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.”
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Section FB – Links between those who reported talking to someone “only once or
(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”
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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”
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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
Section FR – Links between those who reported talking “a few times” or “often”
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III. FIVE STAGES IN THE LIFE
OF A TASK GROUP…
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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2. Effective leaders ground their behavior in planning and vision…
Planning – Vision –
Analyzing the The ability to
task to be done. summarize a
Learning in terms
strengths and your
weakness of the audience(s)
people involved. understand.
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.
b. Autocratic – giving orders, maintaining strict circumstances.
control, making assignments.
c. Laissez-faire – laid back, lets group members provide initiative and
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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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
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
Extending ideas /
Summarizing Showing solidarity / cohesion
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