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Chapter 9

 Group: Three or more people who

interact and attempt to influence
each other in order to accomplish
a common purpose

 Healthy groups are characterized

 Ethical goals
 Interdependence
 Cohesiveness
 Productive norms
 Accountability
 Synergy
 Clearly defined ethical goals
 Specific, consistent, challenging, acceptable

 Interdependence
 Members rely on each other’s skills/knowledge to
accomplish group goals

 Cohesiveness
 Brings group members together; members genuinely
like and respect one another; work collaboratively
 Team-building activities (build rapport and trust)
 Members attracted to group’s purpose
 Voluntary membership
 Members feel free to express ideas, opinions
 Members support, encourage, provide pos. feedback
 Members perceive group to be achieving its goals and
celebrating their accomplishments
 Norms: expectations for way group members
will behave while in group

 Formalized process: ground rules

 In most groups, norms evolve informally

 Changing counterproductive norm(s):

 Observe norm(s) and outcome
 Describe results of norm(s) to group
 Solicit opinions of other group members

 Accountability: all members held responsible

for adhering to group norms and working
toward group’s goals
 Whole is more than sum of its

 “Multiplying force created by

having a common purpose and
complementariness of each others’

 Result: more than one would

expect the individuals in group to
be capable of producing
 Face-to-face:
 Group seating arrangements
 Circle: generally considered ideal arrangement for
group discussions and problem-solving

 Virtual:
 Email listservs/discussions
 Teleconferencing
 Videoconferencing: most sophisticated of all virtual
meeting formats
 People come to feel valued and
accepted so that they identify with

 May be awkward silences; people

may feel unsure about how to act

 Members strive to be seen as


 Express positive attitudes and

 Group clarifies its goals;
determines what roles each
member has in group power

 May be underlying/expressed
tension as members struggle with
roles, ideas, opinions,
personalities, etc.

 Group is confronted with

alternative ideas, opinions, ways of
viewing things

 Groupthink: people seek

unanimous agreement in spite of
facts pointing to another
 Group solidifies rules for behavior,
especially related to how conflict
will be handled

 Competent communicators pay

attention to developing norms;
they then adapt personal
communication style to group
 Skills, knowledge, abilities of all
members are combined to
overcome obstacles and meet
goals successfully

 Conversations focus on problem-

solving and sharing task-related

 Little energy spent on building

 Members assign meaning to what
they have done and determine
how to end/maintain relationships

 Evaluate and reflect on experience

 Sever or maintain relationships?

 Engage in some form of

“termination ritual”
 Families: how do families function when facing an issue?
 Protective: issue(s) not discussed; decision made by authority figure
 Consensual: issue(s) discussed w/all, but authority figure still makes decision
 Pluralistic: issue(s) discussed w/all ; everyone involved in decision
 Laissez-faire: members converse about issue, but each member
makes his/her own decision and is responsible for consequences
 Social friendship groups
 Support groups (e.g., AA, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society)
 Interest groups (e.g., MADD, 4-H)
 Service groups (e.g., Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity)
 Work groups
 Optimum number of diverse members: best size is smallest # of people
capable of achieving goal
 Heterogeneous v. homogeneous groups