Understanding Human Communication: Chapter 10
Understanding Human Communication:
Overcoming Dangers in Group Discussion
-There is a great value in involving group members when making decisions. When people participate, their loyalty increases. The key to effective participation is balance. It is important to encourage useful contributions of other members.
Pressure to Conform
-There is a strong tendency for group members to go along with the crowd. This is referred to as group think which is a group's collective striving for unanimity that discourages realistic appraisals of alternatives to its chose decision.
Information Underload and Overload
The decline in efficiency that occurs when there is a shortage of the information necessary to operate effectively.
The decline in efficiency that occurs when the rate or complexity of material is too great to manage.
Groups can produce more solutions to a problem than individuals working alone. The solutions are also higher quality.
-Working in a group increases the likelihood of catching errors.
-Groups generate a higher commitment to coming up with superior solutions.
Participative Decision Making
: A process in which people contribute to the decisions that will affect them.
-For many tasks, groups have access to a greater collection of resources than do most individuals.
:Three or four people can put up a tent or dig a ditch better than alone.
-Working with others allows us to consider approaches and solutions we might not think of otherwise.
-People from different backgrounds can bring different ideas to the group that you would not think of otherwise.
When do you use groups for problem solving?
Are Individuals' Tasks Interdependent?
Is There More Than One Decision or Solution?
Is the Job Beyond the Capacity of One Person?
Is Potential for Disagreement?
Setting the Stage for Problem Solving
Maintain Positive Relationships
:The totality of forces that causes members to feel themselves part of a group and makes them want to remain in the group.
8 Factors in Boosting Cohesiveness
Minimize perceived threats between members.
.Emphasize members' Interdependence
. Establish shared norms and values.
. Recognize threats from outside the group.
. Recognize progress toward goals.
. Develop mutual liking and friendship.
.Share group experiences.
. Focus on shared or compatible goals.
Stages of Team Development
When groups members become familiar with one another's positions and tentatively volunteer their own.
When group members openly defend their positions and questions those of others.
When a group moves from conflict toward a single solution.
When group members endorse the decision they have made.
Approaches and Strategies in Problem Solving
A Structured Problem-Solving Approach
Evaluate the solutions by asking the following:
-Will this proposal produce desired changes? Can the proposal be implemented by the group? Does the proposal contain any serious disadvantages?
Implement the plan
. The following are important steps in implementing a plan of action: Identify specific tasks to be accomplished, Determine necessary resources, Define individual responsibilities, and plan ahead for emergencies.
Develop creative solutions through brainstorming or the nominal group technique
. It is important to consider more than one solution. During this stage creativity is essential.
Follow up on the solution
. You can improve the group's effectiveness and minimize disappointment by following two steps: Meet periodically to evaluate progress and revise the group's approach as necessary.
Analyze the problem
. It is important to state the problem, once identified, as an open question that encourages exploratory thinking.
Identify the problem
-On a sports team, individual members may have goals that aren't tied directly to winning: making friends, being recognized as good athletes, or having fun.
Decision Making Methods
-One person, seen as the superior, makes the final decisions. However, this can spark a lot of disagreements of who has the authority.
-An approach in which few members of the group decide matters. This also allows a minority of members to study an issue in greater detail. However, it is important that the committee reports their findings to the entire group.
-Majority rule is always superior with this method; however, it can be risky.
-If a 51% majority of members favors the plan, 49% may still oppose it. Despite this, majority would make the final decision.
-This method is quick and ideal for routine matters. However, when overused, can lead to a decline in effectiveness.
-Agreement among group members about a decision. Includes full participation and can increase the quality of the decision. However it can take a great deal of time.
Group Problem Solving Strategies and Formats
Group Discussion Formats
-Problem-Solving meetings use this procedure to observe specific rules about how topics may be discussed and decisions made.
-A problem solving format in which participants discuss the topic informally, much as they would in an ordinary conversation.
-Sponsoring organizations use focus groups to learn how potential users or the public at large regards a new product or idea.
, the participants divide the topic in a manner that allows each member to deliver in-depth information without interruption.
-When some members are more vocal than others,
can help equalize participation. Members list their ideas on a separate card which is then read by the group leader.
allows nonmembers to add their opinions to the group's deliberations before the group makes a decision.
-When the number of members is too large for effective discussion,
are a suitable solution.
can be used to maximize participation and divide the large group in several subgroups.
-A process in which people let go of the notion that their ideas are superior to others' and instead try to understand the issue from many perspectives.