Groups have existed throughout human history and continue to follow familiar patterns across emerging venues as we adapt to technology, computer-mediated interaction, suburban sprawl, and modern life. We need groups, and groups need us. Our relationship with groups warrants attention on this interdependence as we come to know our communities, our world, and ourselves. This will be the focus of this chapter.
- 7.1: Prelude to Working Effectively in Groups
- Groups use words to exchange meaning, establish territory, and identify who is a stranger versus who is a trusted member. Are you familiar with the term “troll”? It is often used to identify someone who is not a member of an online group or community; does not share the values and beliefs of the group; and posts a message in an online discussion board to initiate flame wars, cause disruption, or otherwise challenge the group members.
- 7.2: What is a Group?
- Our ability to work effectively in a group shows our emotional intelligence skills of social awareness, self-awareness, and our ability to manage relationships. We cannot have relationships with others if we do not have a sense of ourselves. To maintain those relationships, we need to have social awareness and be able to manage those relationships in a positive way.
- 7.3: Group Life Cycles and Member Roles
- Groups are dynamic systems in constant change. Groups grow together and eventually come apart. People join groups and others leave. This dynamic changes and transforms the very nature of the group. Group socialization involves how the group members interact with one another and form relationships. Just as you were once born and changed your family, they changed you. You came to know a language and culture, a value system, and set of beliefs that influence you to this day.
- 7.4: Effective Group Meetings
- Business and professional meetings are a part of the communication climate of any business. Some view meetings as boring, pointless, and futile exercises, while others see them as opportunities to exchange information and produce results. A combination of preparation and execution makes all the difference.