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Week 8: Groups

by: Emily Mason

Week 8: Groups COMM 2010

Emily Mason

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These notes cover the learning objectives as seen on blackboard.
Introduction to Communications Studies
Marilyn Pugh
Study Guide
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This 6 page Study Guide was uploaded by Emily Mason on Saturday July 2, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to COMM 2010 at Clemson University taught by Marilyn Pugh in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 17 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Communications Studies in Communication at Clemson University.


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Date Created: 07/02/16
Week 8: Work Chapter 9  A group is more than just a collection of a few people. Groups are transacted through communication and relationships. A group comes into being once people recognize and identify themselves and others as members of the same group.  Types of groups: o Formal: Purpose is task oriented, general management oversight, outcome focused, often legislative or formally structured to run an organization. Ex: Congress, debate clubs, student government organization o Advisory: Purpose is task specific, usually evidentiary or evaluative, with the intention of producing an outcome that is focused “best solution” to a specific problem or arrangement of and event. Ex: Sorority and fraternity social affairs committees, homecoming committees, juries o Creative: Purpose is the evaluation of concepts or creation of new products or approached to complex problems. Ex: Brainstorming; focus groups o Support: Purpose is advising, comforting, sharing knowledge, spreading information, and raising consciousness about specific issues. Ex: Alcoholics Anonymous, breast cancer survivors, grief support groups o Networking: Purpose is obtaining, building, or sustaining relationships, usually online. Ex: Chat rooms, social networking groups, Twitter, Facebook  Characteristics of Groups o cohesiveness: working together and feeling connected  groupthink: a negative kind of consensus seeking through which members place a higher priority on keeping the process running smoothly and agreeably than they do on voicing opinions that contradict the majority opinion (or the opinion of the leader) –avoid this— o interdependence: the reliance of each member of a team or group on the other members, making their outcomes dependent on the collaboration and interrelated performance of all members (e.g., a football team dividing up the jobs of throwing, catching, and blocking) o Commitment  out-groups: cells of disgruntled members who feel undervalued, mistreated, disrespected, not included, or overlooked; these members can be either disruptive or constructive o group norms: rules and procedures that occur in a group but not necessarily outside it and that are enforced by the use of power or rules for behavior  group sanctions: punishments for violating norms o group roles: positions or functions within a group  formal roles: specific functions to which group members are assigned and that they are expected to perform within the group  informal roles: those to which someone is not officially assigned but that serve a function with a group  task roles: those functioning to ensure a group achieves its goals and is productive  social roles: those functioning to encourage group members and to develop and maintain positive communication and relationships among group members  disruptive roles: those functioning in opposition to group productivity and cohesion o group culture: the set of expectations and practices that a group develops to make itself distinctive from other groups and to give its members a sense of exclusive membership (e.g., dress code, specialized language, particular rituals)  Development and Decision Making o Tuckman’s Five Stages of Group Development  Forming: The group comes into existence and seeks direction from a leader about the nature of its tasks and procedures.  Storming: The group determines leadership and roles of its members.  Norming: The group establishes its procedures to move more formally toward a solution.  Performing: Having established how it will perform its task, the group now does so.  Adjourning: The group reflects on its achievements, underlines its performative accomplishments, and closes itself down. o Fisher’s Model of Group Progression  Orientation: Group members get to know one another and come to grips with the problems they have convened to deal with.  Conflict: The group argues about possible ways of approaching the problem and begins to seek solutions.  Emergence: This occurs when some daylight of consensus begins to dawn. The group sees the emergence of possible agreement.  Reinforcement: The group explicitly consolidates consensus to complete the task, or the leader may do it for the group by thanking everyone.  Group Decision Making Is About Relationships o Group members have relationships with one another outside as well as inside their meetings. o Group interaction and decision making are about emotions, feelings, and relationships—not so much a battle of ideas as a battle between people who have ideas and persisting relationships with one another.  Leadership Styles o socioemotional leaders: those focusing on making group members feel comfortable, satisfied, valued, and understood • pay attention to how everyone feels in the group, • ensure that members feel comfortable with the decision- making process, • allow everyone to get a turn in the discussion, • make members happy with the outcome, • keep the personal relationships between group members on an even keel, and • manage people’s “face” and handle their feelings. o task leaders: those focusing on the performance of tasks to ensure the achievement of group goals • stress the activity of the group, • keep members on topic, • follow the agenda, • make sure decisions get made, • are responsible for defining the group’s intended accomplishment, • are charged with directing what happens to fulfill the set tasks of the group, • make sure the group reaches a conclusion at the end of its allotted meeting time, • summarize what got done in a meeting, and • set the agenda for the next meeting.  Leadership Power o formal power: that which is formally allocated by a system or group to particular people o informal power: operates through relationships and individual reputations without formal status (e.g., someone may not actually be the boss but might exert more influence on other workers by being highly respected o Legitimate: Created by a person’s office rank of official status o Expert: Created through special knowledge of a particular topic o Referent: Created by the allegiance of one group of people to another person or group o Reward: created by the power to five benefits to other people, or to manage or withhold them o Coercive: Created by the power to punish (as distinct from withholding of rewards, this means actual application of punishment)  Leadership Vision o There are too many “visions” in existence for that to have much meaning beyond talking points in business seminars. Yet it is very often motivating for the members of a group to believe that their leader has some idea of where the group will be headed and what they will be doing.  Leadership Ethics o The main problem with the ethics question in leadership is that it is context-bound and often dependent on a whole range of complexities that interlock, especially those involving relationships.  Leadership is Transacted o Leadership is a communicative relationship between one person and others such that when one gives a direction and another gladly carries it out, leadership has been successfully transacted in the interchange. Leadership is embedded not in a person but in communication and relationships between people. Chapter 10  Learning About the Workplace o People’s ideas about the nature of work and the workplace are obtained early in childhood through family stories and discussions with others at school or through the media, which present certain professions and jobs as more or less valuable as others and stress the importance of work as part of identity or the value of “success.” o vocational anticipatory socialization: the preparation for becoming a worker; takes place from early moments of childhood onward, including through exposure to the media and depiction of the workplace in comedy and other shows  Going to Work o An organization can be viewed as a simple structure as in an organizational chart or as a sedimented set of practices that are transacted through repetitive communication, memory, narrative, and routine daily discourse. A better way of looking at the workplace, however, is as a set of interpersonal relationships between specific individuals. o continuation of identity: parts of your identity carry over from your normal practices of everyday talk into the workplace, but some parts of your identity are transformed by the workplace o professional face: the behaviors, courtesy, and comportment that are appropriate for people to present to others in a workplace o instrumental goals: are predominant at work and are directed at completion of duties; can also involve a direct assessment of performance o relational goals: typically involve intimacy and support and usually serve recreational or supportive purposes o formality/hierarchy: creates distance between workers and management and can represent a strain or restraint on relationships as an individual is forced to adopt a professional face rather than a personal identity when dealing with people at work  Workplace as a Culture o Although we often talk about organizations transacting business with other organizations, in fact these transactions occur at the face-to-face interpersonal level between individuals or groups of individuals who know one another, and this is a relational activity. It is important to focus away from looking mostly at the managers in the situation and to look at the everyday discourses between other employees who transact their relationships within the organization. o structuration theory: points to the regularities of human relationships that act as rules and resources drawn on to enable or constrain social interaction o sedimentation: the process by which repeated everyday practices create a “structure” for performance in the future, as a river deposits sediment that alters or maintains its course over time o structurational approach: to look at how people enact and enable or contain future interactions through their talk o industrial time: the attention to punctuality and dedication to a task that is connected with the nature of industry (clocking in, clocking out, lunch breaks, etc.  The Workplace as a Relationship o Since the workplace is another frame for real interactions and although it has hierarchical structures, there is no reason to suppose that relationship types there are different from those anywhere else, especially as these may be transacted in communication. o The Three Types of Friendly or Collegial Relationships Between People in an Organization  Informational Peer Relationships:  Low on personal self-disclosure, but information about the task is freely and openly discussed  Civil and Cordial but not close  Collegial Peer Relationships:  Individuals at work regard one another as friends and act in all respects in ways indistinguishable from friends outside the workplace; that is, they self-disclose and joke around and arrange to meet outside the workplace for social events.  Special Peer Relationships  Characterized by very high openness, self-disclosure, and intimacy  Virtually indistinguishable from best-friend relationships outside of the workplace o Sexual harassment: “any unwelcome sexual advance or conduct on the job that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment; any conduct of a sexual nature that makes an employee uncomfortable”


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