Advantages and Disadvantages of Small Group Communication

Advantages and Disadvantages of Small Group Communication or Discussion. Six Advantages and Disadvantages of Small Group or Team Communication.

Group communication 

Group communication means intercommunication among a number of people who interact regularly to achieve a goal.

Small group communication

In similar, Small group communication means intercommunication among a small number of people who communicate regularly to achieve a goal. It is also known as a small group discussion or team interaction. Small group communication is very important for group learning.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Small Group Communication

Every group communication is intended to achieve a common goal. Group members communicate to achieve their individual and common goals. However, every group discussion or communication has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages 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 is going to 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
  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, especially complex, and unclear problems. Finally, groups share the workload within 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 are able to apply theories, methods, and tools to better engage in service to the community that 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 are able to learn from also with 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 standards of achievement.
  • 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, and behavior as well as differences in gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion, race, status, and worldviews.

Advantages and Disadvantages or Pros and Cons

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 to analyze and resolve problems. In contrast, less time, energy, and resources are needed when individual works alone.
  •  A group does not have a long attention span rather it has a short attention span (David Berg, 1967). A long attention span is an inevitable element to complete a task within the time period.
  • In group communication, there have a tendency 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 the group.
3. Social Loafing

Social loafing refers to the idle activity of a person or group member who pays less effort compared to other members to achieve a goal. Actually, they work very well alone for completing their own tasks but pay less effort while 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 as well as the person who creates the errors. In group communication, sometimes, group members do not acknowledge the responsibility of 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 members of the group are not available to join the meeting at the same time for their personal busyness. Scheduling for group meetings is the essential element to increase group member’s commitment. Hence, it reduces the group productivity not for scheduling regular meetings among members.


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. The group or team needs to take the necessary steps to handle effective communication among group members. 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 Studies18(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.

5 Elements or Components of Small Group Communication

Elements of Group Communication: 5 Elements or Components of Small Group Communications. 5 Elements of Small Group Communications: Goals, Members, Interaction, Interdependence, also Working.

Elements of Group Communication

Group elements are essential components to form an active group as well as achieve a common goal. An effective group must have to have or fulfill all elements to achieve a common understanding of an interdependent goal. There are many elements or components in group communications but the author is going to discuss 5 basic elements of small group communication for example Common goals, members, interaction, interdependence, and working.

5 Elements of Small Group Communication
  1. Goals
  2. Members
  3. Interaction
  4. Interdependence
  5. Working
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 members of the group are aware of achieving that goal. Actually, every group has its specific common goal or interdependent goal as well as the independent goal of the group members. The common goal has been selected by the opinions of group members.

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 by 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 not only what you can do in groups, but what you should do.

3. Interaction

Interaction denotes communication among group members through verbal or nonverbal 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 important elements of group communication in which the group goes ahead.

Elements of Group Communication