Summary - Group Communication Theories

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Group Communication Theories
© Brian Brown, 1998-1999. All rights reserved.
Last Modified: January 28, 2000.
| Intrapersonal | Interpersonal | Group | Organization | Mass/Cultural | This is a summary of the information in
Littlejohn, Stephen. (1992). Theories of Human Communication (5th Ed.). California: Wadsworth Publishing. YOU ARE STRONGLY ADVISED TO BUY IT.
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|General Organizing Model |General Functional Theory |GroupThink | |Barry Collins and Harold Guetzkow |Randy Hirokawa |Irving Janis | |Interaction Process Analysis |Interaction Analysis |Structuration Theory | |Robert Bale |Aubrey Fisher |Anthony Giddens | |Structurational Theory of Group Decision|  |  | |Making | | | |Scott Poole | | |

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[pic]GENERAL ORGANIZING MODEL
Barry Collins and Harold Guetzkow (pg. 282)
• A task group is confronted with two types of problems o Task Obstacles - difficulties encounted by the group, such as planning an event or approving a policy o Interpersonal Obstacles - difficulties encountered between people, making ideas clear to others, handling conflict and differences • In any group discussion, members deal simultaneous with both task and interpersonal obstacles • Assembly effect is when task and interpersonal work is integrated effectively • Group rewards are positive (a successful event is a task reward, the fun involved in planning it the interpersonal reward) or negative (if rewards are negative the group may find it more difficult next time) • Synergy is the effort expended by the group in solving tasks (effective synergy) and dealing with interpersonal obstacles (intrinsic synergy) Harold Guetzkow [Online]. Available http://adder.colorado.edu/~ward/hg/hg.html  

[pic]GENERAL FUNCTIONAL THEORY
Randy Hirokawa (pg. 284)
• Tries to identify the kinds of things groups must address to become more effective • (1) Groups begin by identifying and assessing a problem o what happened? why? who was involved?

• (2) Groups then gather and evaluate information about the problem • (3) Next, groups generate alternative proposals and discusses objectives to be accomplished • (4) Objectives and alternatives are evaluated in order to reach consensus (exploration of positive and negative outcomes) • Factors which lead to incorrect decisions

o improper assessment - failing to see the problem or identify its causes o inappropriate goals and objectives
o improper assessment of positive and negative qualities o inadequate information base
o faulty reasoning from the information base
• Errors arise from the communication within the group  
[pic]GROUPTHINK THEORY
Irving Janis (pg. 286)
• Groupthink is a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action • Groupthink occurs when cohesiveness is high

• Consensus-seeking tendency of close-knit groups can cause them to make inferior decisions • Groups often dont discuss all available options
• the solutions are often not examined
• groups often fail to seek expert opinion
• groups are often highly selective in the way they handle information • Some examples of group think disasters
o Bay of pigs invasion of Cuba by the Kennedy...
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