Communication is a two-way process or dialogue that involves the sender relaying a message, through a communication medium or channel, to the receiver of the message. Two parties are attempting to share meanings and relate to them in the same manner; in this way communication will be successful. The end result of communication is that it must bring out a response and change behavior. The most important factor is for the sender to communicate his/her ideas clearly and for the receiver to listen with understanding. We communicate every day with almost everyone around us.
Messages can be sent to others by two ways of communicating, verbally and non verbally. Most of the verbal communication is from one individual to another. This is true in a family, social, or a work setting. One-on-one verbal communication affords the greatest opportunity for precise communication, because immediate feedback from the receiver can tell whether the message has been understood accurately. However, communicating effectively involves more than just accuracy. The purpose of most communication is to influence the attitudes and behaviors of those whom we address.Order now
Since the human race is composed of billions of individuals, each with a different way of responding, no one approach is universally effective. It is therefore important to learn to express ones self accurately and in a way that will accomplish the purpose toward the individual being addressed. (Lewis & Slade 2000) The importance of non verbal communication is obvious in the fact that it is used in the majority of human communication. The fact that non verbal communication is more important than any other form of communication is due to the emotional information it conveys, which is otherwise usually controlled or concealed.
Thus, human beings base their feelings and emotional responses not so much on what another person says, but upon what another person does. In fact, it is estimated that the impact of non verbal communication on a message’s meaning can be as high as 93%. Both types of communication are important when a group is working together. There are three things needed to make a group: a common goal, at least three people, and influences by and influence to others. When we all work together in order to achieve a desirable goal, we exhibit interdependence.
The goal is unattainable without the cooperation of group members, so we depend on each other for success. Success is not defined individually but in terms of the group. Cooperative goals can be reinforced by an interdependent division of labor and resources within a group. Groups will probably outperform individuals when certain conditions exist (Forsyth, 1990; Pavitt & Curtis, 1994). When the task requires a wide range and variety of information and skills, groups tend to be superior to any individual.
One group study found that the group scored significantly higher than its highest scoring member (Stasson & Bradshaw, 1995). This was achieved by pooling knowledge; when the highest-scoring member didn’t know the answer to a question, another member typically knew the answer to that specific question. Thus, the group benefitted because members had overlapping knowledge. Besides pooling knowledge, another reason groups outperform individuals when the task is comprehensive is the group remembering phenomenon or collective recall of information.
Also, groups outperform individuals when both the group and any individual compared are without expertise on the task. “None of us are as smart as all of us” (Johnson & Johnson, 1987). This is when synergy is used. Synergy happens when the joint action of the group members produces performance that exceeds the expectations based on perceived abilities of skills of individual members. There can also be a negative synergy; which happens when the joint action of group members produces a worse result than expected based on perceived individuals abilities of skills of members.
Group size has a very large effect on the results a group produces. When the group size is increased: complexity, factionalism, information distortion, quality decision making, difficulties achieving a consensus are all increased. When group size is decreased the following increase: participation in group discussions, pressure to conform, member satisfaction, access to information, the flow of negative information to the top, and speed of decision making. All decision making groups have both a task dimension and a social dimension. The task dimension is the work performed by the group.
The social dimension is the relationships that form between members in the group and their impact on the whole. In a corporation, if the boss is only concerned with the task dimension and ignores the social dimension of his workers it creates a problem. Too much attention to productivity can diminish cohesiveness by producing stress and conflict. Productivity is the result of the efficient and effective accomplishment of a group task. Cohesiveness is the degree to which members feel a part of the group and are committed to each other. A group will establish rules or standards called norms.
Norms define appropriate behavior in specified situations. “They stipulate what a person must do (obligation), ought to do (preference), or must not do (prohibition) in order to achieve certain goals. ” (Smith, 1982) There are two types of norms, explicit and implicit. Explicit norms are rules that are written down. They are clearly understood by each member of the group. Implicit norms are implied rules. They are rules we already know without having to talk about them or explain them. The main purpose of norms is to achieve group goals. The norming process takes place almost immediately after groups are formed.
Members cast out trying to determine what behavior will be acceptable and what will be unacceptable. There are three principle sources of norms in small groups: some norms are from systems outside the small group, the influence of a single member, and the group itself. Each group member has a different role. A group role is the pattern of behavior expected of a group member. There are two types of roles, formal and informal. A formal role is a position assigned by an organization or is specially designated by the group leader. An informal role emerges from the groups transactions and it emphasizes functions not positions.
A group member’s role is usually decided when the group is initially formed. What may have began as a casual or unnoticed pattern my quickly develop into an expectation. Norms and roles from the basic structure of a group. The relative importance, prestige, or power held by a particular role is its role status. Structure is the systematic interrelation of all parts of the whole. Structure provides form and shape for a group. Norms designate appropriate behavior for all group members while roles stipulate how particular group members should behave.
A norm for a group might be that every member works hard on all tasks. Roles, however, specify different task behaviors for a manager and a worker (Johns & Sline, 2005). The effects of roles on perceptions can be seen in a dramatic way by doing a role reversal, which is stepping into a role distinctly different from or opposite of a role we usually play. The effects of roles can be seen in another way. When we find ourselves playing roles in different groups that contradict each other, we experience role conflict. Some group members take the role of being a social loafer.
Social loafing can suck the energy from a group. Social loafing is the tendency of individual group members to reduce their work effort as groups increase in size. Social loafing has been observed in groups working on a variety of tasks, among both males and females, people of all ages, and in many different cultures (Forsyth, 1999). Social loafing is more common in an individualist culture such as the United States than it is in collectivists cultures such as Taiwan, Singapore, China, and other Asian countries. Several steps can be taken to address the problem of social loafing.
Establish a group responsibility norm; emphasize individual responsibility. Note the critical importance of each member’s effort; tell all members that their individual effort is special. Hold members accountable; provide each member with a specific task. Talk to the individual privately; the first three steps attempt to prevent loafing. This step calls for a leader to approach the loafer. Confront the loafer as a group. Consult a higher power; consult a supervisor, teacher, or someone with greater authority than the group members.
Boot out the loafers; this is the last resort. While working in groups we form relationships. The dictionary defines relationship as the mode in which two or more things stand to one another. This may be true but physical and economical relationships doesn’t tell us much that is useful about interpersonal communication. Interpersonal relationships involve the way people deal with one another socially. Why do we form relationships? Sometimes we establish personal relationships because we find others attractive in one way or another.
Some reasons why we are attracted to others are: appearance (appearance is especially important in the early stages of a relationship), similarity and complementarity (we like people who are similar to us), reciprocal attraction (we like people who like us), competence (we like to be around talented people), disclosure (we develop relationships by revealing important information about ourselves) and proximity (we are likely to develop relationships with people we interact with frequently). Emotion plays a large part in the way we communicate and what we communicate about.
When a person has strong emotions, many bodily changes occur. For example, the physical components of fear include an increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, an increase in adrenalin secretions, an elevated blood sugar level, a slowing of digestion, and a dilation of pupils. Emotions are like colors: some are simple, whereas others are blends. Robert Plutchik’s “emotion wheel” illustrates the difference. For example, jealousy can be viewed as a combination of several different emotions: distress, anger, disgust, contempt, fear, and even shame.
Likewise, loneliness can include feelings of anger toward self and others, estrangement, and depression. Plutchik has identified eight primary emotions, which are listed inside the wheel. He suggests that these primary emotions can combine to form mixed emotions, some of which are listed outside the wheel ( Johns & Sline, 2005). “For communication to have meaning it must have a life. It must transcend ‘you’ and ‘me’ and become ‘us’. . . . In a small way we then grow out of our old selves and become something new. ” -Hugh Prather.