Small Group Communication Advantages and Disadvantages

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Small-Group Communication Advantages and Disadvantages. Six Benefits or Advantages of Small Group Communication. Also, Disadvantages of Small Group Communication.

Small-Group Communication

Small group communication refers to the intercommunication among a small number of people who communicate regularly to achieve a shared goal. It is also known as a small group discussion or team interaction. Small group communication is essential for group learning. The vital features of group communication are Goals, Members, Interaction, Interdependence, and Working. These elements are inevitable to conduct small group communication. The members are the primary elements of the group communication who form the small group to achieve a common goal. For example, a small group of students communicates regularly to complete group assignments.

Definition of Small Group Communication 

The definitions of small group communication by different scholars are as follows:

A small group is an interaction between two or more individuals who interact over time to achieve common group goals or achieve individual goals valued by each member who believes that this group can help them achieve them (Bormann and Bormann, 1980).

A limited number of people who communicate face-to-face share a common understanding of an interdependent goal, influence one another, and express a sense of belongings to the group (Schultz, 1996).

Two or more persons interact with one another so that each person influences another person (Jones, George, and Hill, 2000).

According to David and Chris (2009), a small group as a few people engaged in communication interaction over time, in a face-to-face or computer-mediated environment with common goals and norms and has developed a communication pattern for meeting their goals in an Interdependent manner.

Small group members encounter a few stages and barriers to achieve the individual and group goals. According to Tuckman’s theory of group discussion, the five steps of small group communication are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Additionally, the four barriers in group communication are ethnocentrism, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination.

Examples of Small Group Communication

The ten examples of small group communication are nuclear family group communication, assignment small group communication,  co-worker group communication, self-help group communication, educational group communication, learning group communication, service group communication, workgroup communication, virtual group communication, sports team Communication, and political group communication. These groups are also known as the example of Social Group

In the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual communication has become very prevalent in our society. Politicians, students, employees, and businessmen create a virtual group to communicate via virtual meeting platforms.  Apart from that, people build small groups to achieve personal, educational, and professional goals.

Characteristics of Small Group Communication

The five characteristics of small group communication are members, goals, interactions, working, and interdependence.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Small Group Communication

Every group communication is intended to achieve a common goal. Thus, group members communicate to achieve their individual and shared goals. However, every group discussion or communication has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, the benefits of Small Group communication are superior performance, Greater member satisfaction, Greater civic engagement, More learning, More creativity, Enhanced cultural understanding, and so on. In contrast, the disadvantages of small group communication are more time, energy, and resources, conflict, social loafing, blaming for shared errors, sleeping members, and scheduling problem.

Based on the study, the author has outlined a list of the advantages and disadvantages of Small Group Communication.

Firstly, the author will discuss six advantages of a small group or team communication or discussion. After that, discuss six disadvantages of a small group or team communication or discussion.

Small Group Communication Advantages and Disadvantages
Small-Group Communication Advantages and Disadvantages
Six Advantages of Small Group Communication
  1. Superior performance
  2. Greater member satisfaction
  3. Greater civic engagement
  4. More learning
  5. More creativity
  6. Enhanced cultural understanding
1. Superior Performance

According to MIT Management Professor Peter Senge: “If you want something really creative done, you ask a team to do it, instead of sending one person off to do it on his her own.” Groups make better decisions also solve problems incredibly complex and unclear problems. Finally, groups share the workload among group members.

2. Greater Member Satisfaction

Social benefits – opportunity to make friends, socialize, receive peer support, and feel part of a unified and successful team or group. The more opportunities group members have to communicate with one another, the more satisfied they are with the group experience.

3. Greater Civic Engagement

You can apply theories, methods, and tools to better engage in service to the community you learn in a group communication course. 

4. More Learning
  • A group provides many resources to work on a problem
  • “Synergistic” effect (Buckminster Fuller, the architect of the geodesic)
  • Synergy = the sum is greater than its parts
  • Members can learn from also other members
  • New members learn from veterans; similar amateurs learn from experts.
  • They also learn more about how to work as a group in contrast just merely topics they discuss.
  • It also helps in the decision-making process.
  • It is the product of interacting individuals stimulating one another so that what emerges is a product that no one member could accomplish working alone.
  • Additionally, it allows group members to share collective information, stimulate critical thinking, challenge assumptions, and raise achievement standards.
  • In the academic context, collaborative learning promotes higher individual achievement in knowledge acquisition, retention, accuracy, creativity in problem-solving, and higher-level reasoning.
5. More Creativity

The key to creativity is the mental flexibility required to mix thoughts from our many experiences. Groups provide a creative multiplier effect by tapping more information, more brainpower, and more insights.

6. Enhanced Cultural Understanding

Members differ in characteristics, life experiences, cultures, interests, and attitudes. Therefore, group members get a chance to enhance their cultural understanding of others. Working effectively = understand, respect, and adapt to differences in members’ skills, experiences, opinions, behavior, and differences in gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion, race, status, and worldviews.

Six Disadvantages of Small Group Communication
  1. More time, energy, and resources
  2. Conflict
  3. Social Loafing
  4. Blaming for shared errors
  5. Sleeping Member
  6. Scheduling
1. More Time, Energy, and Resources
  • A group needs more time, energy, and resources to discuss issues and analyze and resolve problems. In contrast, less time, energy, and resources are required when individual works alone.
  •  A group does not have a long attention span; instead, it has a short attention span (David Berg, 1967). However, a long attention span is an inevitable element to complete a task within the period.
  • In group communication, there tend to get side-tracked.
  • Similarly, topics that do not pertain to the discussion at hand may be brought up.
2. Conflict
  • Disagreement = aggressive also disruptive
  • Members in a group often are confronted with an individual who wants to take over; therefore, conflict exists in group communication.
3. Social Loafing

Social loafing refers to the idle activity of a person or group member who pays less effort than other members to achieve a goal. They work very well alone to complete their tasks but spend less effort working in a group. Therefore, sometimes, social loafing stimulates to makes a group less productive.

4. Blaming for shared errors

A proverb says that to err is human. Errors come from personal and group activities; therefore, it is essential to identify the root cause of errors and the person who creates them. Sometimes, group members do not acknowledge shared mistakes; instead, they blame each other. Therefore, blaming for shared mistakes might increase conflict among group members that reduce productivity.

5. Sleeping Member

Sleeping members are always barriers to reducing production in Small groups because they do not achieve the goal.

6. Scheduling Problem

Scheduling a group or team meeting is a great challenge that the group faces regularly. Usually, all group members are not available to join the meeting simultaneously for their busyness. Hence, it reduces the group productivity not for scheduling regular meetings among members. Therefore, scheduling group meetings is the essential element to increase group member’s commitment.

Conclusion

The advantages and disadvantages of small group communication have been discussed elaborately in this article so that readers get an idea about small group or team communication. Of course, the group or team needs to take the necessary steps to communicate among group members effectively. However, reducing the disadvantages of small group communication will surely increase the productivity of the group.

The rationale of Studying Small Group Communication

Firstly, we are literally living among many small groups; for example, your family group and groups of close friends. Additionally, colleagues at work, social and recreational clubs, athletic teams, and many more. In addition, The world of work—government, politics, health, a business group. The work reliance on small groups of experts to gather, interpret and present data to the decision-makers in their organizations. Similarly, Learning how to act and react in a group can help you overcome some anxiety and uncertainty. Finally, Help you diagnose and improve your own performance.

Citation for this Article (APA 7th Edition)
Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2021). Small-Group Communication Advantages and Disadvantages. Best Online Learning Platform. https://newsmoor.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-small-group-communication-pros-cons/
References

Berg, D. M. (1967). A thematic approach to the analysis of the task‐oriented, small group. Communication Studies18(4), 285-291.

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