Small Group Theories

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Chapter Two: Small Group Communication Theory
OBJECTIVES:

Describe some of the Central Issues (nature, function, relevance) of Group Communication Theory. Discuss Five General Theories that apply to Small Group Communication. Explain the Constellation Model of Small Group Communication. Identify some of the Components of Small Group Communication.

The Nature of Theory and the Theory-Building Process
Theories are very practical.
Theory building is a common, natural process of human communication. Theory is crucial to the study of small group communication. Two basic functions of theory: to explain AND to predict.
Theories are built when we observe a phenomenon and witness a repeated pattern of events for which warrant explanation. Theory is simply "the organization of information to explain and ultimately predict a phenomenon." A scientific theory allows us to make reasonably precise predictions. Theory: A Practical Approach to Group Communication

Theory helps us recognize the presence of conditions that call for certain actions. Explanatory Function
helps to understand a process and the ways in which different facets of it are related. (diagnosis) helps make sense of the processes involved when people interact with others in a group.
Predictive Function
informs communicative behavior (methods of treatment- what to do with what you know). "How-to" theories.
Establish formats for solving problems and resolving group conflicts. Allows people to anticipate probable outcomes of various types of communicative behavior in groups. understanding and being aware of possible alternative behaviors allows us to use theory to select behaviors that will help in the achievement of goals. Specific Group Theories

Descriptive Theories - PROCESS theories
leadership theories
theories of group growth and development
problem-solving theories
theories of interpersonal interaction
Prescriptive Theories - METHOD theories
allow us to...
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