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8: Leadership and Working in Teams

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    This module assumes that a thorough understanding of people requires a thorough understanding of groups. Each of us is an autonomous individual seeking our own objectives, yet we are also members of groups—groups that constrain us, guide us, and sustain us. Just as each of us influences the group and the people in the group, so, too, do groups change each one of us. Joining groups satisfies our need to belong, gain information and understanding through social comparison, define our sense of self and social identity, and achieve goals that might elude us if we worked alone. Groups are also practically significant, for much of the world’s work is done by groups rather than by individuals. In this chapter, we will discuss small groups, small group development, small group dynamics, leadership, and decision-making in groups.

    • 8.1: Understanding Small Groups
      Small group communication refers to interactions among three or more people who are connected through a common purpose, mutual influence, and a shared identity. In this section, we will learn about the characteristics, functions, and types of small groups.
    • 8.2: Small Group Development
      Small groups have to start somewhere. Even established groups go through changes as members come and go, as tasks are started and completed, and as relationships change. In this section, we will learn about the stages of group development, which are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.
    • 8.3: Small Group Dynamics
      Any time a group of people comes together, new dynamics are put into place that differs from the dynamics present in our typical dyadic interactions. This section explores the dynamics mentioned previously in order to better prepare you for future group interactions.
    • 8.4: Leadership and Small Group Communication
      It’s important to point out that although a group may have only one official leader, other group members play important leadership roles. Making this distinction also helps us differentiate between leaders and leadership (Hargie, 2011).
    • 8.5: Problem Solving and Decision-Making in Groups
      In this section, we will discuss the group problem-solving process, methods of decision making, and influences on these processes.

    8: Leadership and Working in Teams is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Lisa Coleman, Thomas King, & William Turner.

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