Midterm Study Guide
Chapter 1: Introduction to group communication
1. Explain the five characteristics of small groups.
a. Small number of people (no more than 12-15 people)
b. Shared purpose/common goal
i. Each group member is affected and influenced by the actions of other members
e. Psychological bond
i. The way the group members are able to identify with each other ii. Insiders vs. outsiders
2. Know the difference between primary and secondary groups; know examples for each.
Primary vs. Secondary Groups
a. Primary – fulfill the basic social needs
i. The purpose of a primary group is to provide members with affection, support, and a sense of belonging. ii. Make us feel loved, valued, wanted iii. Ex: family and best friends
b. Secondary task groups
i. The purpose of a secondary group is to come together to accomplish a specific task ii. Limited in life-span (as long as it takes for the task to be accomplished) iii. Come together to accomplish a specific task iv. Ex: problem-solving groups, decision making groups, study groups, therapy groups, committees
3. Be able to recognize the six characteristics of an effective group.
Characteristics of an effective group
1. Clear, elevating goal
2. Competent members: already know what they are doing or seek out information
3. Unified commitment
4. Collaborative group climate: need supportive communication, accepting, disagree respectively
5. Standards of excellence (clear expectations)
6. Principled leaders: share leadership positions/responsibilities
4. Know the five tips to avoid in order to have an effective group.
1. Distrust of other team members
2. Fear conflict
3. Lack of commitment to the team
4. Avoid accountability
5. Lack focus in achieving results
5. What are the five characteristics of an effective group member?
Characteristics of an effective group member
1. Experience (managing problems + decisions)
2. Problem solving ability
3. Openness and supportiveness
4. Action oriented
5. Positive personal style (easy to work with)
6. Explain the relational dialectics theory and types of group dialectics (not limited to the ones mentioned in lecture).
Relational dialectics (interpersonal relationship)
a. Both/and relationship
b. There is a pull/tension between two contradictory needs in a relationship
c. Need both, must be balanced when long term imbalance in needs then problems occur
d. Ex: autonomy vs. connectedness (freedom vs. being close to someone)
Group dialectics p. 15
e. Conflict and cohesion
i. Too much conflict then group fails, but if too much cohesion then make bad decisions
f. Conforming and nonconforming
i. Task dimensions are anything that helps the group accomplish a goal ii. Social dimensions are anything the group does to form or better relationships
7. What is a system?
a. A set of interconnected parts working together to form a whole in the context of a changing environment
b. Members interrelate with each other as a whole identity
8. Understand the difference between input, entropy, throughput, and output.
3 parts of a system
Resources that come from outside of the system. If input ceases, the system dies
Entropy = lack of input, the wearing down process of a system
a. System moves toward disorganization
b. Entropy leads to termination
c. System moves from disorganization to termination
Turning all of the input into output transforming all the resources into a final product (group discussion, problem solving, etc.) (conflict is throughput voting)
The final product
Interconnectedness – all the group members affect each other
9. What is the “ripple effect” in groups?
The idea that behaviors cause a chain reaction across the entire system
A small part of a big system can cause an enormous ripple