Advantages and Disadvantages of Small Group Communication PDF

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 of 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 individual and group goals. According to Tuckman’s group discussion theory, the five steps of small group communication are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. The four barriers in group communication are ethnocentrism, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination.

Examples of Small Group Communication
Five Examples of small group communication are:
  1. Nuclear family members communicate with each other.
  2. A small group of students communicates to complete assignments.
  3. A few employees discuss completing office projects.
  4. The football team members discuss to yield victory.
  5. The Political leaders discuss to ensure victory in the election.

Recently, virtual communication has become very prevalent in our society. Politicians, students, employees, and businessmen create a virtual group to communicate via virtual meeting platforms. People also build small groups to achieve personal, educational, and professional goals. Students conduct a virtual meeting for group study.

Examples of small group communication

Small group communication occurs in various contexts and settings, involving a limited number of individuals who interact and collaborate to achieve common goals or objectives.

The author represents five examples of small-group communication:

  1. Team Meetings at Organization: A group of employees gathers regularly to complete office tasks. They meet and sit together to discuss project updates, brainstorm ideas, allocate tasks, and address challenges. Team meetings facilitate collaboration, decision-making, and problem-solving among members working towards a shared goal. They keep meeting minutes to keep records.
  2. Study Groups in College: Students form small study groups to review course material, prepare for exams, and work on group assignments. These study groups provide opportunities for peer learning, knowledge sharing, and academic support in a more informal and collaborative environment.
  3. Family Discussions: Family members come together to have discussions about important decisions, such as planning a vacation, resolving conflicts, or addressing household responsibilities. Small group communication within families promotes understanding, cohesion, and shared decision-making.
  4. Community Task Forces: A small group of community members forms a task force to address a specific issue or concern, such as improving neighborhood safety or organizing a community event. Task force meetings involve brainstorming ideas, coordinating efforts, and mobilizing resources to achieve community goals.
  5. Support Groups: Individuals facing similar challenges or experiences come together in support groups to share their stories, encourage, and offer emotional support. Whether it’s a support group for addiction recovery, grief counseling, or mental health, small-group communication fosters empathy, validation, and healing among participants.

These examples illustrate how small group communication occurs in various contexts, serving different purposes such as collaboration, learning, decision-making, support, and community engagement.

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 problems.

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 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 their own.” Groups make better decisions and also solve problems incredibly complex and unclear problems. Finally, groups share the workload among group members.

2. Greater Member Satisfaction

Social benefits – the 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 more significant than its parts
  • Members can also learn from 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 to 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, brainpower, and 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 = understanding, respecting, and adapting 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 an 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 inevitable to complete a task within the period.

In group communication, they tend to get side-tracked. Similarly, topics that do not pertain to the discussion may be brought up.

2. Conflict

Disagreement = aggressive also disruptive

Group members are often 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 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, which reduces 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 challenge the group faces regularly. Usually, all group members are unavailable to join the meeting simultaneously because of their busyness. Hence, it reduces group productivity not for scheduling regular meetings among members. Therefore, scheduling group meetings is essential in increasing group members’ commitment.


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

The Rationale for Studying Small Group Communication

Firstly, we live 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 relies 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 anxiety and uncertainty. Finally, Help you diagnose and improve your performance.

Citation for this Article (APA 7th Edition)

Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2024, March 13). Advantages and Disadvantages of Small Group Communication PDF. Newsmoor.


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

Group communication Elements, Examples, Importance and Barriers

  Group Communication Definition, Elements, Examples, Importance, and Barriers

Group Communication 

Group communication refers to the regular discussion among a group of people who keep communicating to achieve a goal. Group members communicate to improve teamwork therefore; it is also known as team discussion. They come together and discuss to accomplish an independent and interdependent goal. An interdependent goal is a mutual objective in which many people work together to achieve the same purpose.

On the other hand, an independent goal refers to a personal or individual objective. Group discussion occurs when people converse regularly to complete a group task.

Group communication is a crucial element in forming small groups and social groups in society. The different types of social groups are primary groups, secondary groups, self-help groups, learning groups, service groups, civic groups, work groups, public groups, virtual groups, and political groups. The five examples of small group communication are regular discussions among nuclear family members, classmates, roommates, and project members.

Group Definition in Organizational

A group refers to two or more employees who freely interact with individuals, and share common norms, goals, and identity. The two most common types of groups are formal and informal which can overlap.

Formal Groups: A formal group is assigned by an organization to accomplish specific goals. The formal groups fulfill two basic goals: organizational goals and individual goals.

Informal Groups. The association is formed by more than two people who come to meet their psychological and physiological needs. Group members maintain friendships and fulfill common interests.

Examples of Group Communication

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

The most common example of group discussion is virtual group communication. Nowadays, educational institutes offer long-distance learning. It allows connecting students far from each other beyond 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 more. They communicate regularly to complete the assignment and presentation. Many lecturers instruct their students to submit the virtual meeting minutes sample.

Group Communication Elements

The elements of group communication are essential components for regular group discussion. These elements are essential to forming an active group as well as achieving a common goal. An active group must have or fulfill all elements to accomplish the goal. The essential characteristics of group communication are common goals, members, interaction, interdependence, and working.

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

Group communication Elements, Definition

1. Goal

Group goal refers to the fundamental objective to keep communication among more than three people. The goal is essential to group communication because every group or team intends 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

Group member seems another crucial component of the active group. At least three members can form a small group, and 18 is the maximum number to form it. 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 in forming groups; hence, they must follow some ethical principles in group communication.

Ethical Principles of Group Members

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

Social Loafer in Groups

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 members should be collaborative and have cohesive behavior, but not social lofting. Effective group communication 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

The group is affected and influenced by the actions of other members. Therefore, group communication must be interdependent to motivate team or group members.

5. Working

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

The components are also known as characteristics or features of group communication. These characteristics ensure the effectiveness of the group discussion.

Group Communication Importance in Busines

The importance of group communication in business is: fostering collaboration and teamwork, improving critical thinking, enhancing productivity, building total quality management, and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Group Communication Barriers

Barriers to Group Communication are disturbances that are obstacles to interactive communication among group members. The barrier in group discussion usually hiders to understanding other members of the group or team. The group discussion has many stages, tensions, conflicts, etc. According to Tuckman’s model, the five stages of group discussion are Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. Members 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. 

Group Communication Barriers

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 face-to-face communication, mediated communication, corporate communication, and group communication. Barrier or noise is an unwanted element of the communication process.

Group communication barriers
Types of Barriers to Group Communication
The 4 Barriers to 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 unwanted barrier that impedes 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 specific groups.
    • Finally, they justify a readiness to behave in harmful and unjust ways toward group members.
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, and people from different social and political classes.

Difference Between Group and Team

According to our research data, the group and team describe almost the same characteristics, although they contrast in the level of performance. The team members are highly collaborative, dedicated, and competent compared to the group members.

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.

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.

Team Types

Teams can be distinguished by purpose, duration, and level of member commitment.

1. Work Teams: The work team operates to achieve a common objective, typically these teams are permanent and demand full commitment from members.

Project Teams: Project teams intend to complete specific problems, tasks, or projects. Usually, members form this group for a particular duration to complete a project.

Self-managed Teams: Admin authority from this team to regulate task domain including staffing, oversight, and scheduling.

Cross-functional Teams: This group is formed with diverse members for example, when experts from different areas are put on the same team.

Virtual teams. Teams that work together over time and distance via electronic media to combine effort and achieve common goals.

How Teams are Different from Groups?

A group becomes a team when:

  • Leadership becomes a shared activity.
  • Accountability shifts from strictly individual to both individual and collective.
  • The group develops its purpose or mission.
  • Problem-solving becomes a way of life, not a part-time activity.
  • Effectiveness is measured by the group’s collective outcomes and products.