The Concept of Task in Small group Communication Submitted By: Date: Bibliography of the Sources: Fisher, B.A. “Communication research and the task-oriented group”. Journal of Communication 1997. 21, 136–149. Myers, Scott A., and Carolyn M. Anderson…
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J. "Group Communication Across the Life Span." Managing Group Life: Communicating in Decision Making Groups. Boston: Houghton Miffling, 1997. 3+. Section One Summary of the Source: The main source used to discuss the concept of task within small group communication is a book titled “The Fundamentals of Small Group Communication” by Scott A. Myers and Carolyn M. Anderson. This book talks in detail about the very basics of what comprises a small group to detailed discussion on every thing from participation, ethics and personality traits of group members that are vital for effective small group communication. This book not just focuses on group characteristics but also looks at individual participation within the group, so as to give the reader a better understanding of what roles and responsiblities they have within the group and how it effects the group as a whole. Our focus remains on the importance of the task within the small group. The authors have highlighted the importance of the task in the first chapter of the book that not only defines the concept but also goes into the detail of the different types of tasks that a group can face. The text also uses case studies to help the reader effectively understand what is being taught to them through the book. The book also cites the work of different authors on small group communication including research articles and journals that will be used in the next section of this essay where we will talk in detail about the contribution of the source to our understanding of the task within small group communication. Task is one of the primary features of small group communication, the other two being group size and interdependence (Myers and Anderson, 2008, pg. 7). Section 2 Task as a primary feature of small group communication: This section defines task and how it is one the key features in small group communication. A small group as defined by this text consists of “three or more people working interedependently to accomplish a task” (Myers and Anderson, 2008, pg. 7). One needs to keep in mind that most research restricts this number to a maximum of fifteen members and not more (Socha, 1997). The importance of task is such that without a task the existence of the group is not required (Myers and Anderson, 2008, pg. 8). The very reason why the group comes together is in order to accomplish a given task. Task is defined as “an activity in which no externally correct decision exist and whose completion depends on member acceptance” (Fisher, 1971). There are two different types of tasks discussed by Myers and Anderson that basicaly determines how the work is divided between the members and how the communication needs to take place. The first type is the additive task whereby the work is divided among group members in a way that each is assigned an individual task which is eventually combined to create a final project (Myers and Anderson, 2008, pg. 8). The second type is the conjunctive task where coordination is required and all group members have to work in a combined manner to complete the task (Myers and Anderson, 2008, pg. 8). Interdependance although another primary feature of small group communication comes in to play at different stages within these two types of tasks. Whilst the former requires interdependance at a later stage when the work is being combined, within the conjunctive task interdependance needs to be there from the very beginning for coordination to be effective (Myers and Ander
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