Small Group Communication (Six Hats Method of Decision Making (White hat.…
Small Group Communication
Small group communication refers to interactions among three or more people who are connected through a common purpose, mutual influence, and a shared identity
Types of Small Groups
Task-oriented groups are formed to solve a problem, promote a cause, or generate ideas
Examples: Committee or study group
The three main types of tasks are production, discussion, and problem-solving tasks.
Relational-oriented groups are formed to promote interpersonal connections and are more focused on quality interactions that contribute to the well-being of group members
Advantages of Small Groups
shared decision making
synergy: the potential for gains in performance or heightened quality of interactions when complementary members or member characteristics are added to existing ones.
exposure to diversity
Group Cohesion and Climate
cohesion within a group helps establish an overall group climate
Task cohesion refers to the commitment of group members to the purpose and activities of the group
Social cohesion refers to the attraction and liking among group
Group climate refers to the relatively enduring tone
and quality of group interaction that is experienced similarly by group members
Leadership Styles (Old Model)
Autocratic leaders set policies and make decisions primarily on their own, taking advantage of the power present in their title or status to set the agenda for the group.
Democratic leaders facilitate group discussion and like to take input from all members before making a decision.
Laissez-faire leaders take a “hands-off” approach, preferring to give group members freedom to reach and implement their own decisions.
Leadership Styles (New Model)
Group Problem Solving
The problem-solving process involves thoughts, discussions, actions, and decisions that occur from the first consideration of a problematic situation to the goal.
Group Problem-Solving Process
Step 1: Define the Problem
Define the problem by considering the three elements shared by every problem: the current undesirable situation, the goal or more desirable situation, and obstacles in the way.
Step 2: Analyze the Problem
During this step a group should analyze the problem and the group’s relationship to the problem
Step 3: Generate Possible Solutions
During this step, group members generate possible solutions to the problem
Step 4: Evaluate Solutions
During this step, solutions can be critically evaluated based on their credibility, completeness, and worth
Step 5: Implement and Assess the Solution
Implementing the solution requires some advanced planning, and it should not be rushed unless the group is operating under strict time restraints or delay may lead to some kind of harm
Brainstorming before Decision Making
The originator of the term brainstorming said the following four rules must be followed for the technique to be effective
Evaluation of ideas is forbidden.
Wild and crazy ideas are encouraged.
Quantity of ideas, not quality, is the goal.
New combinations of ideas presented are encouraged.
To make brainstorming more of a decision-making method rather than an idea-generating method, group communication scholars have suggested additional steps that precede and follow brainstorming
Do a warm-up brainstorming session
Do the actual brainstorming session
Eliminate duplicate ideas
Clarify, organize, and evaluate ideas
Discussion before Decision Making
The nominal group technique guides decision making through a four-step process that includes idea generation and evaluation and seeks to elicit equal contributions from all group members.
Silently and individually list ideas.
Create a master list of ideas.
Clarify ideas as needed.
Take a secret vote to rank group members’ acceptance of ideas.
Specific Decision-Making Techniques
Majority rule: Quick, but close decisions (5–4) may reduce internal and external “buy-in”
Minority rule by expert: Quick, but expertise must be verified
Minority rule by authority: Quick, but authority may not be seen as legitimate, leading to less buyin
Consensus rule: High-quality decisions due to time invested, but time consuming
Six Hats Method of Decision Making
White hat. Objective—focuses on seeking information such as data and facts and then processes that information in a neutral way.
Red hat. Emotional—uses intuition, gut reactions, and feelings to judge information and suggestions.
Black hat. Negative—focuses on potential risks, points out possibilities for failure, and evaluates information cautiously and defensively.
Yellow hat. Positive—is optimistic about suggestions and future outcomes, gives constructive and positive feedback, points out benefits and advantages.
Green hat. Creative—tries to generate new ideas and solutions, thinks “outside the box.”
Blue hat. Philosophical—uses metacommunication to organize and reflect on the thinking and communication taking place in the group, facilitates who wears what hat and when group members change hats.