Group Dynamics Ch5

Updated 2007-02-07 21:15

Chapter 5

What is a group’s communication structure? What is the difference between a centralized and decentralized communication network? Which is effective when?

Communication structureA group’s established communication network, the pattern of information sharing in the group.
Centralized communication networkA communication structure in which members must go through a central person to communicate with one another and one member is the principal source and target of communication. Example: all talk through mom
Decentralized communication networkA communication structure in which information flows between members without going through a central person and communication and access to information are more or less equally distributed. Example: the members of the family all talk to each other.
For simple taskscentralized works.
When tasks are complex and require more extensive informationthen decentralized work.

How is an informal communication network different from the formal communication network? Know how the grapevine is part of the informal network and how gossip can be constructive or destructive to the group.

Informal communication networka groups unofficial communication network.
Formal communication networkA layered communication network officially designated by the group or organization.
Grapevines allowgossip, rumors, and unofficial information to travel through a group. Good for those left out of the formal group. May have information before formal.
Gossip iscommunications about other group members that may or may not be factual. Gossip can make us feel like a trusted friend or it can be incorrect and hurt someone. Can contribute to conflict and dropout of members.

What are verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and paralanguage? What is congruent vs. incongruent communication? What guidelines are given in the chapter regarding effective verbal and nonverbal communication?

Verbal communicationsThe way we communicate using words.
Non-verbalThe way we communicate using body language such as gestures, body orientation, touching, personal distance, paralanguage, and facial expressions.
Paralanguagea form of nonverbal communication that includes voice pitch, rate, quality, and tone as well non-word communication such as tsking or sighing.
CongruentWhen the verbal and non-verbal content of a message are consistent and match.
Incongruent messagewhen the verbal content and the nonverbal content of a message are mixed and suggest different things.

Guidelines for verbal and nonverbal communication:

Try to communicatecongruent messages
Ask forclarification if you feel you are receiving a mixed message
Be sensitive toothers' comfort level on touch and personal distance.
Be aware even ifnot speaking you are communicating non-verbally.

How do supportive/cooperative and defensive/competitive communication climates differ? Be familiar with Gibb’s six categories of member behaviors that influence whether a climate is supportive or defensive. What suggestions are given for fostering a supportive communication climate?

Question Answer
Supportive/cooperative climatea climate in which members feel free to communicate honestly and the communication is directed toward the group's work.
Defensive/competitive climateA communication climate in which members distrust one another and communication is competitive.

Gibb's six-categories of member behaviors the influence climate:

Question Answer
Evaluation versusdescription-judging in Defensive, describe in Support
Control versusproblem orientation
Strategy versusspontaneity
Neutrality versusempathy
Superiority versusequality
Certainty versusprovisionalism-Defensive they know it all and have the solution. Ina Support they are willing to change depending on the other's input.


Do not insistthat your ideas are the only ideas with merit
Do not attempt tomanipulate the group
Participate inthe group
Confirm others byadding to their ideas
Avoidchanging the subject or not building on others ideas
Do notinterrupt others
Analyze your response ifnegative
If a leader, leadthe discussion to help them be more supportive.

What is the difference between assertive, passive, and aggressive communication? What does the text say about gender, culture, and assertive behavior?

Assertivebehaviors oriented toward asserting one's own rights, opinions, or boundaries in a way that also respects the rights of others.
Passivenonassertive, don't speak up for themselves. Deny themselves full participation in a group.
Aggressivepeople forcefully speak their minds and may shout at others or bully them to get their way. May get what they want but their behavior hurts others.
Women's assertiveness rises and falls withsocial status.
Currently gender differences in assertiveness arenone.
Cultures havedifferent expectations regarding assertive behavior of male or female and power respect.
What is assertive in one may beaggressive in another. Defer Asians and Latin Americans.

What are the main features of a constructive confrontation?

Constructive confrontationscalm, well-prepared confrontations
Involveclarifying and exploring the issues and the feelings of the participants
Mutualproblem solving.

What are some likely communication challenges in the diverse group? What is an isomorphic attribution? What is intercultural exploration and how can it contribute to better communication in the diverse group? What is the difference between low-context and high-context communication cultures? How can you reduce communication problems in the diverse group?

Likely communication challenges in a diverse groupreduces the frequency and quantity of communication between group members. Miscommunication more probable
Isomorphic attributionwhen we interpret the behavior of others in the same way they intended it. Often nonisomorphic when diverse.
Intercultural explorationA process of sharing cultural assumptions and values that is intended to avert or clarify misunderstandings and misperceptions that arise out of cultural differences.
Low context communication cultureirect and precise communication where value is placed on providing a clear message through words, common individualistic cultures like the US.
High context communication cultureindirect communication where the meaning of messages is conveyed by how something is said rather than what is said, common in collectivistic cultures like Japan.

Reducing communication problems in a diverse group

Look out forthings that are honest misunderstandings rather than intentional acts an sight them.
Learn aboutthe communication conventions of the cultures of the other members.
Avoid slang thatmay not be understood by all members
Fosterconfidence and validation
Watch yourlanguage