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Communicating in Groups. Dr Aidah Abu Elsoud Alkaissi An Najah National University Faculty of Nursing. Objectives. At the end of the chapter, the student will be able: Define group communication Identify the differences between primary and secondary groups

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Communicating in Groups


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    1. Communicating in Groups Dr Aidah Abu Elsoud Alkaissi An Najah National University Faculty of Nursing

    2. Objectives • At the end of the chapter, the student will be able: • Define group communication • Identify the differences between primary and secondary groups • Discuss factors that influence group dynamics

    3. Objectives • Identify the stages of group development • Compare and contrast group and individual communication • Apply group concepts in clinical settings • Contrast different types of groups in health care settings

    4. Basic concepts • Definition, a group: is a gathering of two or more individuals who share a common purpose and meet over a period of time in face-to-face interaction to acheive an identifiable goal • Every group is a unique social community of individuals • Within the group members develop characteristic perspectives and patterns of behavior as central guides to their action • A group culture emerges, which is the unique interrelationships among a particular group´s, norms, roles, status distinctions and ways of interacting

    5. Basic concepts • Each group´s culture is different from that of other groups because group dynamics reflect the differences in group functions and the makeup of the membership • Groups may have similar memberships and purposes but the quite different in level of functioning and goal acheivement

    6. Basic concepts • Communication is understood by group members but not necessarily by anyone outside the groups • The relatioships among members are interdependent, so that each members behavior influences the behavior of other group members • Group cultures developed through shared images and the meanings of the communication that takes place in the group

    7. Basic concepts • Shared meanings become stories, myths, and metaphores (novel) about the group and how it functions • Group values are woven together into a meaningful whole, which becomes the group´s unique history or story

    8. Primary and secondary groups • Primary groups are spontaneous group formations characterized by an informal structure and social process • Membership can be natural and automatic-family for example or membership is freely choosen because of common interest such as a bridge groups, scouts, team sports and community, religious and other organized groups

    9. Primary and secondary groups • Primary and natural groups usually do not have a defined time limit, people stay or leave as they choose • So important are primary-group identifications that many people make their group membership and their relationship with others a part of self identification i am a moslim, i am a student at the university

    10. Primary and secondary groups • Special initiation rites (The prescribed or customary form for conducting a religious) symbolize the solemnity (the experiencing of affective and emotional states and significance of entering group membership) eg, bar mitzvah (13-year-old Jewish boy, considered an adult and responsible for his moral and religious duties), sorority (An association or a society of women), fraternity (chiefly social organization of men students at a college or university)

    11. Primary and secondary groups • Other cermonies such as retirement parties and graduation, mark the exit of an individual from a formal work group or school • When people die, those who knew them past and cared about them as a member of one or more natural groups hold a funeral, joining together to bid (To issue a command to; direct) group member farewell • Throughout the life, primry groups serve as a fundamental context for communication and source of relationship

    12. Primary and secondary groups • Secondary groups:are artificially made groups • Most groups found in health care settings are secondary groups • It differs from the primary group in structure and purpose • Established to acheive certain agreed upon goals • They have a prescibed structure, a designated leader and last for a special length of time • When the group acheives its goals, the group disbands. It includes therapy group, work group, educational group • Principles of group relationships in secondary group originates from and build on the human behaviour that occurs in natural groups

    13. Primary and secondary groups • People join secondary groups for one of three reasons: • To meet personally established goals • To develop skills to make better adaptation to the environment • To satisfy the expectation of a larger group system to which the individual belongs • A study of the number and types of group a person belongs to provide valuable data about values and interests • All groups have a structure (group process) and an emotional life based on the communication and meaning of the group to individual members (group dynamics) that facilitate or impede the accomplishment of group goals

    14. Group dynamics • Includes all of the communication processes that take place within a group • It is influenced by individual communication and group variables that bind the individual to the group purpose and that cause group membership to become important • A model of the common determinants of group dynamics (figure 12-2 page 263 • Groups in which members possese commitment and are reasonably similar in functional capabilities and cultural background and that operate with a democratic leadership style are most likely to function smoothly

    15. Individual variable- commitment • Commitment denotes (be a sign or indication of) responsibility and involvement • Successful groups are constituted of members who are motivated to fulfill their responsibilities as group members • Motivation refers to the forces that activate behavior and direct it toward one goal instead of another

    16. Individual variable- commitment • It helps to have a goal that members can support but a motivated group can develop appropriate and meaningful goals • Members commited to the goals of a group derive satisfaction from their efforts • They attend meetings through choice and feel a sense of responsibility for the well being of other group members

    17. Individualvariable- commitment • Group members who are unwilling to participate actively in the accomplishment of group goals must find ways to bring their individual goals in line with established group goals, otherwise they should consider leaving the group • For a member to remain without resolving his (her fundamental conflicts with the goals of the group can jeopardize goal acheivement

    18. Individual variable- functional similarity • Numbers alone do not make a group • Regardless of the group´s purpose, members should have enough in common to communicate with each other • For professional groups, commonalities (along with another or others) might include credentials (That which entitles one to confidence, credit, or authority), level of experience or cooperative interests

    19. Individual variable- functional similarity • For social groups, common denominators (common trait or characteristic) might be educational or functional level • Similar expertise and interest in an issue are other indicators

    20. In therapy groups , the experiencing of the same kinds of problems for examples co-dependency, loss or abuse provides grounds for a group relationship • Medication groups require a certain level of cognition because their goal is to provide education related to taking medication the Alzheimer, lacking the cognitive ability to acquire new information • Generally does not benifit from such groups

    21. Individual variable- functional similarity • An adolescent girl placed in a group composed of adolescent boys or an older PhD. Put into a group of very young adults with limited verbal and educational skills create problems in communication because the new member who is different lacks functional similarity to the other members • In each of these actual circumstances the different one became a group causalty (the philosophic name for the nature of the relation between cause and effect, in regard to which there has been much diversity of opinion among philosophers)

    22. Individual variable- functional similarity • Member mismatches can be avoided if attention is paid to functional similarity • Functional similarity should not be confused with sameness (The quality or condition of being the same) in communicational style or personality profile

    23. Individual variable- functional similarity • Wherease it is imperative that group members speak enough of a common language to understand one another, differences in interpersonal styles help clients learn a broader range of behavioral responses • Diversity of ideas and communication styles improves the adaptive survival characteristics of all members • Group members with complementary rather than similar views on task group issues potentially ensure a more lively discussion and a more productive outcome

    24. Group variables- Purpose • The purpose of the group represents the functional design of the group, it lays the foundation for the group´s existence • Group purpose provides direction for membership decision, developmen of group norms and type of communication • Group purpose differs from a group goal in that it relates to the functional framework of the group rather than to the anticipated outcome

    25. Group variables- Purpose • For example the group goal might be improved health of the client, but the functional purpose of the group might differ depending on whether the improved health outcome relate to anticipated changes in interpersonal functioning, medication compliance or greater self awareness

    26. Group variables- Purpose • If the purpose is medication compliance the intervention would be educational, quite different from a therapy group focused on improved interpersonal functioning in which the intervention would be insight oriented • It is critical for the professional nurse to understand the purposes and communication focus of each type of group • Most client focused groups in health care settings have either a therapeutic or an educational purpose and design • Common group purposes are presented box 12-1 page 264

    27. Group variables-Norms • Represents unwritten communication rules and standards of behavior expected of group members • Behavior standards enhance the productivity of the group and discourage nonfacilitative behaviors • Communication rules are particularly important in group interaction because different personalities are involved • Norms are developed by group members, ideally they support the purpose and goals of the group • Some norms are universal standards and other are specific to a particular group

    28. Universal norms • Behavioral standards are common to all successful structured groups • Confidentiality, the willingness to share information and provide feedback and attendance at group meetings are universal norms essential for group survival • Unless group members can trust that personal information revealed in the group will not be shared outside the group setting, the necessary trust will not develop

    29. Universal norms • Without a commitment of attendance from its members, the group becomes an unstable means of promoting dialogue and action • Regular attendance is an expectation in most groups and repeated unexcused absences are not acceptable • The effectiveness of the group depends on the verbal contributions of its members, verbal dialogue is a general standard of behavior

    30. Group Specific Norms • Emerge (come out into view) from the interpersonal needs of group members and the identified goals of the group • Examples of norms emerging from the combined expectations, values and needs of group members include the degree of risk taking, decision making, toleration of humor and anger, focus on task or process and level of leader control • For instance, some groups are characterized by blunt (make less intense) provocations (unfriendly behavior that causes anger) designed to strip away a person´s defenses, forcing members to confront their feelings. In other groups, confrontations are presented with tact and sensitivity • Group members intially look to their leader to model important norms

    31. Group Specific Norms • As the group develops its own identity, members assume a more active role in defining and modifying behavioral standards • Once formed, norms are difficult to change even though circumstances no longer warrant their existence

    32. Cohesiveness • Refers to ” the degree of positive attachment and investment involvement, belongingness, importance that members have for the group • Refers to cohesiveness as the ”we”value a group holds for its members • People develop a greater commitment to group goals and are willing to work harder to acheive them when they value other group members and want to be a part of the group

    33. Group attraction can develop from the appeal (challenge , attractiveness that interests or pleases or stimulates) of other group members, the significance of the group task, or the values and goals held by the group • Feeling a sense of belonging in group situations closely parallels the sense of mutuality and rapport that develops in successful one-to one therapeutic relatinships

    34. Cohesiveness • Cohesiveness is fostered by norms that encourage the open expression of feelings, acceptance, and mutual support • Feeling valued by others stimulates self-disclosure and a willingness to take interpersonal risks • Group members are more willing to reveal their innermost thoughts, feelings and fears

    35. Stressing teamwork and working through conflict as necessary parts of group dynamic are interventions the leader can use to encourage cohesiveness • If members are to value their group participation, it is critical for the leader to credit (give her recognition for trying) the group as a whole for goal accomplishment and teamwork in public as well as in private

    36. Cohesiveness • Nothing is more destructive to group cohesiveness than having the leader claim (assert or affirm strongly) full credit for goal acheivement • The leader and other members should also acknowledge the outstanding efforts of individual members • Members with low status in the group are particularly appreciative of praise from other group members and the leader

    37. Cohesiveness • Caring for each other and a team approach are strong evidence of cohesiveness • Communication principles that enhance the development of cohesiveness Box 12-2 page 266 • Research suggests that cohesive groups experience more personal satisfaction with goal acheivement and that members of such groups are more likely to join other group relationships

    38. Group Think • Is experienced when loyalty to the group and approval by other group members become so important that members become so important that members are a fraid to express conflicting ideas and opinions • The group exerts pressure on members to act as one voice • Critical thinking and realistic appraisal of issues get lost

    39. Group Think • Group think deludes (be dishonest with ) a group into making serious errors in judgment • In the process of rationalizing the correctness of their decision making, groups characterized by group think dehumanize (deprive of human qualities) others • Members who disagree with uncritically accepted proposal are discounted or ignored

    40. Group Think • Input is not sought from people who might disagree, even if they might be affected by the decision • This usually is a serious oversight because nonparticipants are likely to sabotage (a deliberate act of destruction) a decision in which they had no part • Group think taken to an extreme, can result in breaking the law

    41. Role position • People assume roles in groups that directly and indirectly influence their communication and the responses of others • A person´s role position in the group corresponds to the status, power, and internal image other members in the group have of the member • Chosen role behaviors become standardized over time

    42. Role position • Group members usually have trouble breaking away from roles they have been cast in, despite their best efforts • For example, people will look to the ”helper” group member for advice even when that person lacks expertise or needs the group´s help herself

    43. Role position • Other times a role position is projected onto a particular group member representing a hidden agenda or unresolved issue for the group as a whole, rather than the characteristics of the member involved • If one member is being scapegoated (One that is made to bear the blame of others), ignored, deffered (Excellent; first-rate) to or consistently idealized by all other group members, chances are that similar group behaviors or issues the group does not want to deal with are being projected onto that member • Characteritic of group think box 12-3, page 266

    44. Power basis in groups • Power and influence refer to the relative rank or position individual group members hold the amount of interpersonal leverage (Positional advantage; power to act effectively) and control one member has over another • Well-developed group structure consists of obvious ranking, interdependent roles, formalized patterns of interaction, and subgroups • An important rule associated with group power, which some people overlook, is that a person can influence the group only when conforming (To act in accordance with current customs or modes) to it

    45. Power basis in groups • Group members expect a person of power to respect the norms of the group • A sure way to lose power is to lack understanding of the group norms and to try to impose (force) a solution on group members • Box 12-4 identifies page 268. • What seems important is the ability to reflect and deliver the dominant thinking of a group in a concise, direct method

    46. Role functions • Define as more or less coherent and unified systems of behavior directed towards goals that both satisfy personal needs and maintain group values • Every group has task and maintanance role functions that different members assume to facilitat goal acheivement (task function) and to foster the emotional life of the group (maintenance function)

    47. Role functions • A healthy balance between task and maintenance of function increases group productivity • When task functions predominate (having superior power and influence ) to the exclusion of maintenance functions, member satisfaction and personal commitment to the goal are at risk • On the other hand, group in which maintenance functions override task function do not always reach their goals • Group life flourishes ( To do or fare well) but little is accomplished

    48. Role functions • Members don´t confront controversial issues and the creative tension needed for successful group growth doesn´t occur • Without meaningful task accomplishment, a group at some point ceases to exit • Without comitment and a sense of caring , group members are less motivated to acheive group goals

    49. Role functions • Within a given group a person may assume several different roles • Contrast involvement in groups where attention is given to member needs with that in groups which disregard member needs and values • Some members assume more of the task functions and others more of the maintenance functions • Task and maintenance role functions found in most successful small groups box 12-5 page 269 • Exercise 12.4 identifying task and maintenance function

    50. Non-functional role functions in a group • Refered to as self-roles, a person fulfills self-needs at the expense (sacrifice) of other member needs, group value, goal acheivement • Self role detract (To draw or take a way) from the group´s work and comprise goal acheivement by tak in time away from group issues and creating discomfort among group members • Box 12-6 page 269