Group Communication And Types Of Groups

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Group communication are the messages that are exchanged by group members. These messages, both verbal or nonverbal, are essential for the existence of groups because by this virtue group members participate, maintain the group identity, determine goals, motivate participation.

Types of groups.

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This communication can occur in groups of different scales -small, large, very large (the public), or the mass.

A public is a group of people who are united only spiritually but dispersed and physically separated. Those people can be the readers of one newspaper or the followers of one YouTube channel.

A mass is a social group of people who are anonymous, physically dispersed and isolated, not organized to cooperate. Those people are crowds on the streets, the overall population of a country or a planet.

Most fundamental typology: primary and secondary groups. They are grouped according to the level of satisfaction of their members’ interpersonal needs. Primary groups meet most of one’s needs. For example, these are the groups according to interpersonal connection (families), individual values (church choir), hobbies (tennis club), etc.

However, when a primary group does not work righteously, it leads to abuse. Zayn (Capernaum) received a minimum of interpersonal interaction, being constantly sued for the expression of his thoughts. As a result, he just left a group and did not associate himself with it. He formed another family group, taking care of a baby.

Groups that only satisfy interpersonal needs partly are called secondary groups. Among secondary groups are classes in school, departments of an organization, etc. They are focused on tasks and goals, which presupposes less frequent face-to-face interactions, less emotional and relational communication, and more task-related communication than primary groups.

As an example, I can name a class of 3-graders in the film “Class divided”. Their main function during the study time was to learn. During the experimental activities, they acted as several groups, one “better” and one “worse”, due to the instructions of an authoritative figure.

In organizational communication theory, those types are called formal groups and informal groups. Formal groups are the ones that are created by the official authority to fulfill the desired goal. Dissimilar, informal groups are formed by the employees, given that their likes, interests, and attitudes are similar. It is quite obvious, that people engage in several types of groups in conversation and behave there accordingly,

Small groups communication

Although it is hard to distinguish, how many people exactly form a small group, however, it is generally agreed that they contain at least three people. When the size of a group expands, it becomes a challenge to have equal participation, because not everyone has a chance to speak or be heard, respond on time. Time is, indeed, a barrier to communication. The more people in a group, the more issues with coordination of communication happen. Some participants will dominate, others will recede, and smaller groups will form. Finding a natural balance within a group can be a challenge.

The family in the film “The Upside of Anger” experienced some problems allocating time for discussion. Still, eventually, they found a way in the last minutes of the film.

Small group types.

Apart from somewhat smaller primary and secondary groups, we can distinguish between task-oriented and relational-oriented groups. Task-oriented groups are formed to solve a problem by brainstorming or acting independently for a common cause. They tend to be less frequent face-to-face interactions, less emotional and touching communication, and more task-related communication than primary groups. The level of communication there is primarily evaluated based on the quality of the final product or output.

Relational-oriented groups are formed to have quality time together, contribute to the well-being of group members. The primary goal is strengthening or repairing relationships rather than completing actual tasks or debating specific ideas or courses of action.

H. Paul Grice’s Conversational Maxims.

First of all, the maxim of quantity: the information should be fully expressed. Secondly, the maxim of quality, the information should be, based on reasoning and truth. Thirdly, the maxim of relation, the information should relate to the conversation flow. Finally, the maxim of manner, the information should be clear and brief, concise.

As far as I am concerned, those maxims are deeply individual. However, they can well be a skeleton for a meaningful discussion of any kind.

Conditions necessary for effective communication.

G. Braunig’s rules for the successful verbal communication

According to the first rule, it is necessary to create an understandable construction of the sentence. For this purpose, we should combine simple sentences and more complex ones.

The second rule says that the average sentence should consist of 8-15 words. According to some studies, the number of memory slots is 7 key words.

Another rule is as follows: minimize the use of a sentence with conjunctive mood, like “I would say“ or ‘I would suggest. This creates a distance between the interlocutors.

My personal recommendations include:

  1. Active listening. For me, communication is effective, when your partners can recall facts mentioned and express their agreement not simply by nodding. When a person is somewhere else or in the clouds, I am more than willing to end a conversation.
  2. Having one’s own communication style. By using compassion, curiosity, or humor (when appropriate), we can spice up any dull lecture.
  3. Being open-minded and flexible to different perspectives. The ability to be in the shoes of another person will certainly create empathy, change your own way of thinking and cause a productive and meaningful social interaction.     


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