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Communication 101
test 3 (final) day 3
Undergraduate 2

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Small Group Communication
Small groups: between 3 & 20 people
- Not two people because that’s a dyad (interpersonal)
- Over 20 people are large group or public comm.
- Most research for small group comes from information if 2-4 people
Why Study Guides
a. People say and so things in groups they wouldn’t normally say or do
b. Allow people feel is influenced by groups
i. Example: upset by UofA basketball team losing because we affiliate with the team loosely
c. Important decisions are made everyday by ordinary people working in groups
i. Major part of life
ii. Impacts work life, school, social
Criteria Defining a Group
a group is a collection of individuals who…
a. Influence one another:
i. If you can walk away from group and aren’t affected, then not really a group
b. Interact for same purpose
i. Common group goal
ii. Social group goal could be to have fun
c. Derive some satisfaction from maintaining membership in the group
i. Some reward is gained
d. Are dependent on one another
i. Everyone in group must serve some unique function
ii. Example: group needs 60% in order to start meeting therefore 3 out of 5 people must show up (serve function)
e. Communicate face-to-face
i. In our modern age, this is less significant
ii. Face-to-face causes you to gain more information/importance
iii. This criteria is controversial
Phases in Group Development
a. Forming: coming together stage
i. Main characteristics is that comm. is cautious (on your best behavior)
ii. Agree tends to be high
iii. Interaction is non-committal
iv. Not in the group yet- testing
v. Comm. is more positive and polite
b. Storming: people start to clash/not agree
o Individually starts to assert itself
o Own opinions stated
o Comm. becomes more direct
o Various roles emerge
o Disagreement emerges
o If you don’t work then, group break up
c. Norming: balance
o Individuals and group needs balance
o Group bonds, recognize single group hint
d. Reforming: actually do the goal
i. Example: students submitting project
ii. Example: social groups goes out for the night and has fun
Phases in Decision-Making (Ideal)
1. Assess the problem: make sure everyone understands what is involved
2. Generate solution to the problem: Come up with a plan liden
3. Identify Alternative Solutions: Circumstances might change, therefore other alternatives sued to be made
4. Evaluate solutions: discuss, vote, process solutions
Unsuccessful Groups tend to follow those steps
1. Generate solution to the problem: already assumed that everyone knows the problem, therefore there’s no assessing the problem (most often followed)
2. Evaluate solution: there is only one solution generated, so you discuss the one solution
3. Assess the problem: after the solution doesn’t work, they go back and evaluate the problem
4. Discuss operating procedures: group is chaotic and nothing seems to be getting gone, so they establish leader, etc.
5. Generate solution to the problem
The Asche Study (conformity)
- Conformity video
- Asked participants which line matched the original
Why did people in the group trails respond incorrectly?
- In group setting, accuracy was 68%
- In individual setting, accuracy was 99%
1. Distortion of Reception: these people claim that they weren’t affected by the majority (in denial), small percentage of people
2. Distortion of Judgment: they thought that their own judgment was wrong because the majority thought differently (lacks confidence)
3. Distortion Action: better be in the group majority even though he didn’t believe it (clear act public compliance)
-Conformity affect occurs because we have the need to accept
Informational Influence
relies on facts, evidence, logic, and argument to persuade people
a. Tasks are objective, rather than judgmental: we are more likely to use informational influence
- Example: judge in court and jury duty should base opinion on facts evidence
- Example: that is wrong is awards for moves because its opinion
b. A majority but not consensus is required: majority will produce the correct decision
c. Positions are private: that means speaker would have to try to persuade all of us. They don’t know which members disagree (private decision making)
d. Leaders are democratic: everyone has a voice everyone can make a decision. This will produce the best outcome
-This influence should produce the best decision. This will produce the best decision
Majority Influence
the people that are larger in number convince those that are smaller in number
-More likely when…
a. A group is (cohesive)
b. The group exists over time (has history)
Minority Influence
group with smaller number of votes convince the larger group
More likely when:
a. The minority forms a coalition: forms a sub-group has more ability to persuade
b. The minority is unwavering: wont switch position → stalemate mems that they hold up the process
c. The minority advances strong argument: Example – U.S civil right movement- M.L.K speech had a solid argument
d. The decision requires consensus: everyone must agree
you go along with the group’s position due to pressure even though you think another way (essentially peer pressure)
1. Public Compliance: you go along with the group even though you don’t agree with the group
2. Private Acceptance: you convince yourself that the group is right
- Challenging of core valances/beliefs
- Goes further than public compliance
Risky shift Phenomenon
people are as a result of group discussions
• groups take gambles more than individuals
• people described as risk takers tend to talk more in group discussions
• behavior of risk taking is culturally valued- it’s exciting
• Example: in football people want to see them go for a touch down even though punting is more appropriate
• Gambling means that more often than not there aren’t favored able outcomes
Diffusion of Responsibility
(diffusion = spread out)
- Responsibility in a group context is spread out
- If there are 5 people in group, each is responsible for 1/5 of the decision
- Example: A woman was attacked and people hear a scream but did nothing. The reason was because they figured someone else would
- Example: smoke experiment- when by their self the person went to get help immediately; when with other people they looked around the room for others to decide who would get help
Social Loafing
people don’t work as hard in a group as they do individually on individual projects
-This is why people don’t like group work
- But this is human nature
1. Process Loss: the imperfect coordination of individual efforts
-When people get in the way of one another
-Example: two people are around the computer- both right for mouse and get in the way of one another
-Physical element/component
-Example: 1 person can lift 100 lbs but 5 people can’t lift the same because not enough room
2. Motivation Loss: people are less motivated in group situations then individual
- Psychological components
Why does social loafing motivation loss occur?
1. People are lazy and will take every chance they can to do less work
o It is human nature
2. Diffusion of responsibility- only partially responsible if the group outcome is negative
3. Allocation of Effort: we only have a finite amount of time, energy and resources. Allocate in a way that you’ll get the bulk of the credit
Conditions which reduce social loafing
1. Make the task relatively difficult
o Make it so one individual cant do it by themselves
o Example: writing a paper in group could be done by one person
2. Make each person have a unique task to complete or perform
o Assign each person a job and report back
3. Make tasks attractive
- If people like a specific task, its ok to let them do it
4. Provide a direct link between effort and reward
o Employee of the month reward
o Provides recognition
Effective Group Size
Actual Effective
(# of people in group) (Productive)

3 2.5 (avg.) (Lose ½ person)
6 4 (Lose 2 people)
12 6 (Lose 6 people)
Common Knowledge Effect
when knowledge is common, everyone has access to it
o People attach greater value to information shared by more than one person
o Gives information more credibility
o When only one person or a few people know a piece of information, we think its not true and attach less value
o This is why thinking independently is so important
Biased Sampling
processing information in a way that isn’t accurate
o When you go into a group discussion, your input is only certain segments because of the knowledge you know
o Group discussions are often skewed
1. People are more likely to remember information consistent with their beliefs
o We know less about alternatives
2. Individuals are more likely to contribute information consistent with their beliefs
o People have different preferences therefore all the relevant information is not shared
3.Information is more likely to value information consistent with their beliefs
o Information is not treated equally
o See things through their own perspective
5. Individuals spend more time discussing what they already know
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