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.

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