Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Virtual groups and how they effect group communication Research Paper

Virtual groups and how they effect group communication - Research Paper Example Instead they connect through communication technologies and computers, provide an unparalleled amount of flexibility (Powell, Piccoli & Ives, 2004) and are unified only by a shared function or rationale (Lurey & Raisinghani, 2000). This paper aims to review the literature and research that focuses on the characteristics of small virtual groups in an effort to determine how virtual group interaction affects performance and to make comparisons between performance of small virtual teams and more traditional co-located small teams. Small groups usually consist of three to fifteen members (Socha, 1997) with the ideal size being five to seven (Cragan & Wright, 1999) with every member having an influence on each other and are interdependent. In other words if something occurs to or influences one member it impacts on other group members; the behavior of one group member effects both the way other group members relate to each other (relational behavior) and how they finish the task or attain their goal (task behavior) (Bertcher, 1994). According to Myers & Anderson (2008) interdependence is a fundamental characteristic of a small group and at the end of the day will influence how the group achieves its goal or task which is the initial and most important reason the group is formed. Tasks can be additive, wherein the small group members work separately on one component of a task and when all components are completed they amalgamate their endeavors to produce one ultimate outcome, or they can be conjunctive, wherein the group works together to produce the final outcome (Steiner, 1972). In the case of additive tasks the small group is not interdependent until the end when they unite their work but with conjunctive tasks they are interdependent from start to finish. Apart from the task, interdependence and size, Myers & Anderson (2008) claimed that small groups contain three further features of communication which are ‘norms, identity and talk’ (p.9). He furth er claimed that the norms of small group behavior are the rules or regulations pertaining to members of the group, and can be social, procedural or task based, and if not upheld by a group member sanctions may be imposed on that member. Norms therefore shape small group behavior and govern the way in which group members undertake their task, interact and create their identity - the physical and psychological limits that differentiate small groups and group members. Communication is the most important feature of small groups in terms of defining their identity and consists of four different types of talk as posited by Cragan & Wright (1999) that include role talk, problem-solving talk, encounter talk and consciousness-raising talk. Myers & Anderson (2008) claimed that a small group that is able to balance all four talk types will be more effective and succeed in its task, whereas a small group that places too much emphasis on one type over another or does not employ any one type may alienate some members and not accomplish their task. To summarize the characteristics of small group communication there are three major qualities – size, interdependence and task, and three minor qualities – norms, talk and identity, that influence the way in which group members interact and communicate. Research shows that much has been suggested and purported in terms of virtual communication

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