Small Group Communication Advantages and Disadvantages

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 achieving 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.

Group communication Definition, Elements, Barriers & Example

Group communication Definition, Elements, Barriers & Example. Also, Difference Between Group and Team.

Group Communication 

Group communication refers to the regular discussion among a group of people who communicate to achieve the goal. It is also known as group discussion. Group members discuss completing an independent and interdependent goal. The interdependent goal is a mutual goal in which many people work together to achieve the same purpose. On the other hand, an independent plan refers to one person’s dream. Group discussion occurs when a group of people communicates regularly to complete a group task.

Small-Group Communication
Example of Group Communication

A real-life example of group communication is group study. For example, few students regularly sit together to discuss how to complete the assignments given by the lecturers. The group members meet together before or after the class to share their opinion and suggestion. They continue their discussion until the project is completed. So, the continuous interaction among a group of students for projects is an example of group discussion.

The most common example of group discussion is virtual group communication. Nowadays, educational institutes offer a virtual learning system due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows connecting students far from each other beyond the geographical borders. To complete the group assignment, the students create a virtual group to communicate through virtual meeting platforms such as zoom, Google meet, Skype, and so more. They communicate regularly to complete the assignment and presentation. Many lecturers instruct their students to submit the virtual meeting minutes sample.

Examples of social groups communication are classmate learning group, team group, employee working group, business group, virtual group, family group, and political group discussion.

Group Communication Elements

There are many elements or components in group communication. Group elements are essential components to form an active group as well as achieve a common goal. An influential group must have to have or fulfill all elements to understand an interdependent plan. The essential features of group communication are common goals, members, interaction, interdependence, and working.

The 5 Elements of Group Communication are:
  1. Goals
  2. Members
  3. Interaction
  4. Interdependence
  5. Working

 Group Communication

1. Goal

The goal is the essential element of group communication because every group or team is intended to achieve a goal. A goal is a purpose or objective toward which the group work is directed; therefore, all group members are aware of achieving that goal. Every group has its specific common goal or interdependent goal and the independent goal of the group members. The opinions of group members have selected the common goal.

2. Members

Members are another essential element or component of the group. At least three (3) members can form a small group, and 18 is the maximum number. As groups grow larger, individual satisfaction with and commitment to the group often decrease. A Group can not be formed without members, so every group must consist of some members. Members are the most important to form groups; hence they have to follow some ethical principles in group communication.

Ethical Principles of Group Members

1. Group members should be willing to speak
2. Group members should embrace and work with diversity within the group
3. Group members should always treat one another with respect
4. Group members should be thorough in gathering information as well as diligent in evaluating it.
5. Group members must contribute their fair share to the group’s effort.
6. Group members must conduct themselves with honesty and integrity.

A social loafer refers to a person who makes a minimal contribution to the group and assumes the other members will take up the slack—the willingness of every group member to be a participant. The group member should be collaborative, cohesive behavior, but not social lofting. Learning effective communication in groups is about what you can do in groups and what you should do.

3. Interaction

Interaction denotes communication among group members through verbal or nonverbal communication messages. Additionally, it will happen among group members intentionally or unintentionally through verbal or nonverbal cues.

4. Interdependence

Group is affected and influenced by the action of other members. Therefore, interdependence is an essential component of group communication to motivate team or group members.

5. Working

Work is the physical or mental effort you use when trying to accomplish something. It is also one of the essential elements of group communication in which the group goes ahead. 

Group Communication Barriers

Barriers in Group Communication are disturbances that are obstacles to interactive communication among group members. The barrier in group discussion usually hiders to understand other members in the group or team. The group discussion has many stages, tensions, conflicts, and so more. According to Tuckman’s model, the five stages of group discussion are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. Members must need to overcome all these stages to achieve the independent and interdependent goal. The four types of barriers in group communication are Ethnocentrism, Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination. 

Barriers in Group Communication

Barriers in group communication are also known as noises in group communication. These barriers or noises in communication are prevalent in every context of the communication process, for example, barriers in the face to face communication, barriers in mediated communication, barriers in corporate communication, and barriers in group communication. Barrier or noise is the unwanted element of the communication process.

Group communication barriers
Types of Barriers in Group Communication
The 4 Types of Barrier in Group Communication
  1. Ethnocentrism
  2. Stereotyping
  3. Prejudice
  4. Discrimination.
1. Ethnocentrism

Ethnocentrism refers to a mistaken belief that your culture is superior to others, with special rights and privileges that are or should be denied to others. It is not about patriotism or pride.  Ethnocentrism is an excellent barrier that obstacle to effective communication among the group or team members. 

For example, my culture should be a role model for other cultures. People would be happier if they lived like people in my culture.

  • Furthermore, most other cultures are backward when compared with my culture.
  • For example, Have you ever been insulted by someone who implies that their religious beliefs are “true,” whereas yours are not?
  • For instance, Have you been disrespected by someone who believes that his traditions, language, or music preferences are “better” than yours?
2. Stereotyping

Stereotyping means generalization about a group of people that oversimplifies their characteristics. It relies on exaggerated beliefs to make judgments about a group of people. For example, Malays are lazy; Chinese are greedy and rich; Indians are drunker; Singaporeans are “kiasu”. Negative traits to an entire group when, in reality, only a few people in that group may possess those traits. In another instance, Asian students are good at Mathematics(Positive stereotypes). 

3. Prejudice

Prejudice refers to the negative attitudes about other people that are based on faulty and inflexible stereotypes. Prejudice mostly brings negative consequences. For example, “He cannot be brilliant if he only has a Bachelor’s degree from XX University or College. In addition, “I don’t want a person with disabilities working on our group project.”

  • Stereotyping ⇒ Prejudice
  • Characteristics of Prejudice:
    • Firstly, they are rarely based on extensive direct experience and first-hand knowledge.
    • Secondly, the result is irrational feelings or dislike and even hatred for certain groups.
    • Finally, they justify a readiness to behave in negative and unjust ways toward members of the group.
4. Discrimination

Discrimination describes how we act out and express prejudice. When we discriminate, we exclude people from opportunities granted to others: employment, promotion, housing, political expression, and equal rights. For example, Racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, disability, age, people from different social and political classes.

Difference Between Group and Team Communication

According to our research data, the group and team describe almost the same characteristics, although they contrast.

Group Communication

Group discussion occurs when a group of people regularly interact to achieve a common goal.

For example, Student Learning Group, Morning jogging group, and so more

 Team Communication

Francis and Young (1992) defined a Team as a “high-performing task group whose members are actively interdependent and share common performance objectives. A group of members (people) shows closer cooperation and cohesiveness likewise a group.

For example-Football team

Players come together to win the match. Here, winning the game is the common goal, and players are team members similar to the group.