Small Group Communication Advantages and Disadvantages. Six Benefits or Advantages of Small Group Communication. Disadvantages of Small Group Communication. Also, Small Group Types and Elements.
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 five components of small 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.
Small group members encounter a few stages and barriers to achieve the individual and group goals. According to Tuckman’s Theory, the five stages of small group communication are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Additionally, the four types of barriers in small group communication are ethnocentrism, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination.
Types of Small Group Communication
The ten types of small group communication are, 1) Nuclear Family Group, 2) Co-worker Group Communication, 3) Self-help Group Communication, 4) Educational Group Communication, 5) learning Group Communication, 6) Service Group Communication, 7) Work-Group Communication, 8) Virtual Group Communication, 9) Sports Team Communication also 10) Political Group Communication.
In the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual small group communication has become very prevalent in our society. The politician, student, employee, and businessman create a virtual group to communicate via online meeting platforms. Apart from that, people build small groups to achieve personal, educational, and professional goals.
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.
Six Advantages of Small Group Communication
- Superior performance
- Greater member satisfaction
- Greater civic engagement
- More learning
- More creativity
- 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, especially 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
- More time, energy, and resources
- Social Loafing
- Blaming for shared errors
- Sleeping Member
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.
- Disagreement = aggressive also disruptive
- Members in a group often are confronted with an individual who wants to take over; therefore, conflict exists in the group.
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. Actually, 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 both personal and group activities; therefore, it is important to identify the root cause of errors and the person who creates the errors. In group communication, sometimes, group members do not acknowledge shared errors; rather, they blame each other. Therefore, blaming for shared errors might increase conflict among group members that reduce productivity.
5. Sleeping Member
Sleeping members are always barriers to reduce production in Small groups because they do not contribute to achieving 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 personal 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.
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.
Berg, D. M. (1967). A thematic approach to the analysis of the task‐oriented, small group. Communication Studies, 18(4), 285-291.
Citation for this Article (APA 7th Edition)
Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2021). Advantages and Disadvantages of Small Group Communication. Educational Website For Online Learning. https://newsmoor.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-small-group-communication-pros-cons/