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Fundamentals of Organizational Communication

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2 Fundamentals of Organizational Communication
Groups in Organizations Chapter Six

3 Groups in Organizations
Small-group experiences - individual involvement in the formal and informal groups formed within organizations for task or social support.

4 Groups in Organizations
Small Group Experiences Group – “a collection of more than two persons who perceive themselves as a group, possess a common fate, have organizational structure, and communicate over time to achieve personal and group goals” (Baird 1977)

5 Groups in Organizations
Small Group Experiences This definition places communication relationships at the core of group activity. As such, groups can be understood in terms of how they are formed and structured, how individuals understand their dependence on one another, and how members communicate.

6 Small Group Experiences
Organizational Needs Task efficiency Problem-solving Planning Negotiation

7 Small Group Experiences
The underlying assumption is that the efforts of numbers of individuals exceed individual efforts requiring energy and creativity for either completing tasks or examining issues.

8 Small Group Experiences
Groups also contribute to establishing the shared realities of the organization. Expectation of conduct Rules

9 Types of Groups Primary work teams - group to which an individual is assigned upon organizational entry. 3 common features of competent work team members The possession of essential skills and abilities A strong desire to contribute The capability of collaborating effectively

10 Types of Groups Long-standing teams - relatively permanent groups of individuals organized for task accomplishment. develop ways of doing things that not only make qualifications for new members clear but also identify expected behaviors for members. Can limit creativity and change

11 Types of Groups Project teams - work group established for the duration of a specific assignment. Highly specialized individuals Little history and few traditions Need to establish trust and relationships

12 Types of Groups Prefab groups - work group designed and structured for frequent replacement of members. Prefab groups have detailed individual assignments requiring limited experience to produce specified products.

13 Types of Groups Self-managing teams - a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, have a defined set of performance goals, and who execute an approach for which they hold themselves accountable.

14 Types of Groups Directional groups - groups formally charged and structured to provide overall direction and oversight of the organization. Executive teams

15 Types of Groups Quality teams - groups charged with responding to quality or quantity problems and to issues raised by management. Quality circles (Deming) in Japan Have made documented improvements in productivity

16 Types of Groups Task force groups - groups composed of individuals with diverse specialties and group memberships who are charged with accomplishing a specifically designed task or project. Make recommendations

17 Types of Groups Steering committees - groups of individuals with diverse specialties and group memberships who are charged with implementing organizational plans, processes, or change.

18 Types of Groups Focus groups - collections of individuals who have familiarity with a problem or issue and are asked in a somewhat nonstructured format to describe the issue and make recommendations; formed to discuss problems but not take responsibility for final recommendations or implementation of change.

19 Types of Groups Geographically diverse groups - groups of individuals who form a work team but are separated in distance and linked through technology. This reality underscores the importance of a combination of human and technological communication competencies.

20 Types of Groups Social support groups - formed as subgroups of larger task groups or among people with similar organizational interests; function to stimulate trust and cohesiveness among group members.

21 Groups in Organizations
Team-based organization - organizational structures with fewer managers and networks of self-managing teams. Team-based organizations alter the way in which work is organized, supervised, and rewarded, whereas teamwork is the interactional process through which work is accomplished.

22 Team-Based Organizations
Research indicates team-based organizations generally outperform more hierarchically organized structures in terms of product and service output, less absenteeism, fewer industrial accidents, more worker flexibility, quality improvements, and overall employee job satisfaction.

23 Team-Based Organizations
More innovative, able to share information, involved, and task-skilled than more traditional organizational structures By 2010 over 75% of work force Four aspects of organizational life: goals, roles, relationships, and processes

24 Team-Based Organizations
In essence, team members assume many of the supervision responsibilities formerly residing with management.

25 Team-Based Organizations
These processes require highly developed communication competencies from all team members. In a recent national employer survey, team skills were listed as a major requirement for college graduates and also a major deficiency as employers evaluated their new college hires.

26 Team-Based Organizations
Team skills usually are divided into two categories Task roles Maintenance roles Issues Complex mixture of competencies Career advancement less understood

27 Team-Based Organizations
Self-Limiting Behaviors Presence of someone with expertise The presentation of a compelling argument Lacking confidence in one’s ability An unimportant or meaningless decision Pressure from others to conform to the team’s decision A dysfunctional decision-making climate

28 Team-Based Organizations
Workplace democracy - principles and practices which emphasize employee goals, feelings, and participation.

29 Groups in Organizations
Individuals in Groups The more positive we feel about our personal communication competencies, the better able we are to work in groups successfully.

30 Groups in Organizations
Individuals in Groups Rhetorically sensitive - quality that describes individual acceptance of personal complexity, avoidance of communicative rigidity, interaction consciousness, appreciation of the communicability of ideas, and tolerance for inventional searching.

31 Group Development Group stages - concept that groups progress through sequences such as formation, production, resolution, and dissolution; frequently described as Forming Storming Norming Performing Adjourning.

32 Group Development Group norms - unwritten behavior rules, ways of doing things, that groups develop over time. Norms reflect what groups deem as desirable and can be said to be cultural beliefs about effectiveness or appropriateness.

33 Group Development Group communication roles
Task Roles Maintenance Roles Self-centered Roles categories for description of behaviors which individuals exhibit in groups. Task roles - communication roles that help groups accomplish goals.

34 Group Development Task Roles - communication roles that help groups accomplish goals Initiator Information Requestor Information Giver Procedure Facilitator Opinion Requestor Opinion Giver Clarifier Summarizer-Evaluator

35 Group Development Maintenance roles - communication roles that promote social support among group members. Social Supporter Harmonizer Tension Reliever Energizer Leader Follower Compromiser Gatekeeper

36 Group Development Self-centered roles - communication roles that support individuals’ goals and may or may not be compatible with overall group goals and relationships. Negative Blocker Dominator Attacker Clown

37 Group Development Generally speaking, group, task, and maintenance roles are considered productive for group interaction, whereas self-centered roles are destructive and contribute to ineffectiveness.

38 Group Development Influences on Group Members
We are most comfortable in groups in which group goals and our individual goals are compatible. Most are attracted to groups with high prestige or in which we have prestige.

39 Group Development Influences on Group Members
Group participation is influenced by the overall climate of a group, the degree of interaction among group members, and the overall size of the group. Groups are more attractive as participation among members increases and the overall size of the group remains relatively small

40 Group Development Influences on Group Members
Fulk found that an individual’s attraction to the group was related to the use of technology. In her study of use, Fulk found that technology-related attitudes and behaviors were stronger when individuals were attracted to their work groups.

41 Increasing Group Participation Effectiveness
People believe decisions are most likely to be of high quality when group members participate fully in the process, when the group climate is characterized by the presence of respectful behaviors and the absence of negative socioemotional behaviors, and when information and solutions offered in groups are analyzed by group members. (Mayer)

42 Increasing Group Participation Effectiveness
Negative Participation Behaviors Arguing stubbornly for own ideas Suppress differences of opinion Work for quick agreement Pit one person against another Use power to get others to agree with you

43 Increasing Group Participation Effectiveness
Positive Participation Behaviors Be prepared and informed Exhibit cooperative behaviors Value diverse opinions Contribute ideas and seek information Attempt to remain rational Observe the participation process Actively participate

44 Increasing Group Participation Effectiveness
Positive Participation Behaviors Stress group productivity Avoid “role ruts” Avoid self-centered roles Ease tensions Support leadership Build group pride Produce results

45 Fundamentals of Organizational Communication
Groups in Organizations Chapter Six

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