Communicating in Groups

Topics: Decision making, Decision theory, Employment Pages: 5 (1467 words) Published: May 7, 2013
In society, individuals have been socialised to work within groups. A group is a collection of people with common characteristics or purpose (What are Groups and Team, n.d.). In the business world, workplaces employ groups because they are effective, creative and efficient at contributing and solving problems to achieve success. However, potential conflicts can arise as the number of participants increase. This paper will discuss and describe the role of groups and their influence on group communication in the workplace. Furthermore the issues of group attributes, decision making skills and their relationships in meetings will also be discussed.

Group attributes that contribute of the success of groups include size, age, diversity, openness and cohesion. It is important to know how these attributes affect group outcomes. An efficient group size requires at least three members and up to nine to be effective (Keyton, J., 2006). As the size of a group increase, the complexity is also increased several levels. This affects the way members interact, as well as the dynamics of the group in terms of decision-making. Group size affects the level of cooperation in the workplace. Smaller groups tend to work together more interdependently on task than larger groups. Larger groups show less cooperation, task effectiveness, increased conflicts and poorer accomplishment of goals (Managing Groups, n.d, p2). Age diversity has become apparent in today’s organisation. It offers a great opportunity for businesses as they can provide the added benefit of insight from a different generation and thus utilise the unique attributes each age group brings to the table (Goessl, 2009). However, as varying ages have different life experiences, these differences can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications in the workplace. Age differences can also lead to conflict, loss of productivity and other workplace problems (Greenwood, n.d.).

Other diversity occurs in areas such as language, religion, gender and professions. Diversity can bring advantages to workplace relationships with specific customer groups. For example, some companies in the U.S. hire bilingual customer reps to deal with customers in their native language (Ingram n.d). However, diversity can also impact in a negative way. According to research, a U.S. company that hires employees from other cultures of those who have English as a second language may experience difficulties communicating between employees and managers. It can lead to misunderstanding and a decrease in productivity (Johnson, n.d.). Communication openness is essential in workplace efficiency. If individuals are not willing to interact with each other, conflict can arise and lead to unsatisfactory group outcomes. Therefore individuals in groups need to make sure they communicate their ideas in order to solve work conflicts.

Time is an essential part of a workplace, and needs to be properly managed for efficiency. In the workplace, employees often have to multitask and work on different projects daily. It can be stressful due to managing multiple projects and meet deadlines. Therefore, it is important to take the time and organise work properly on schedule. Otto, et al (2012) argues that time management is more effective than multitasking, the higher one climbs in the management structure the more tasks they are able to complete. As a result, it leads to an increase in multitasking. Employees who are over worked may suffer in performance because the time pressure may hinder them from accomplishing all the tasks. Cohesion in groups is when members of a group enjoy strong social relationships and a shared sense of identity. They see each other as important and are proud to describe themselves as a part of a team. A cohesive group can increase job satisfaction and decrease stress due to their social support team members. By contrast, a low-cohesive group may find that individuals whom are often absent from...

References: Goessl, L, 2009, Benefits of age diversity in the workplace, Helium, viewed 16th March 2013,
Huitt, G, W., 1992, ‘Problem solving and decision making: Consideration of individual differences using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator’
Keyton, J., 2006, Communicating in Groups: Building Relationships for Groups Effectiveness, Oxford University Press, U.K.
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