Enhancing Groups

1. How is pressure exerted toward uniformity? “The force to change exerted on any particular part of the group is also a direct function of the discrepancies in state between this part and all other parts of the group” (Festinger & Thibaut, n.d.).

Festinger, L., & Thibaut, J. (n.d.). Interpersonal communication in small groups. Retrieved from http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/faculty/friedkin/Syllabi/Soc147/Interpersonal%20Communicaion%20in%20Small%20Groups.pdf

2. Have you been part of group decision making that went against what you felt was right? What factors led you to reduce your opposition or stop arguing against the group’s stance? I have been a part of a group decision making process that went against what I felt was right. When my daughter was first diagnosed with ADHD and Bi Polar disorder I was totally against medication for her.

There was a meeting with me, her psychiatrist, and her counselor. The psychiatrist and the counselor strongly urged for medication to be used but I didn’t want her on medication. After listening to their reasons and them giving me literature on why medication can help I lessened my opposition. I was able to take the literature home and research the medications in question. Once I did my own research and read the information given to me I understood why this medication might be helpful. I finally allowed the use of medication because of the research and the doctor’s openness to my opinions and feelings toward the use of medication.

3. Have you ever been in a group where you felt the need to conform even though you thought much differently than other members? How did this affect the group’s success? How did this affect your feelings toward the group? There have been several times when I need to conform to a group even though my thoughts are much different. Although I finally did conform I did hold some resentment because it felt as though my ideas were not being heard. I also felt that there were many ways to compromise using my ideas as well but the majority of the group didn’t feel that way so my opinions got pushed aside.

4. In a group, do you tend to emphasize working toward solving the group’s tasks or maintaining harmony in the group? What do you do to achieve this? I think that there needs to be a combination of solving the group’s task and maintaining harmony in a group. Having both of these will hopefully end with a happy group that completes the tasks at hand. The best way to achieve solving the group’s tasks and maintaining harmony in a group is having everyone be open to different personalities and compromise.

5. When, if ever, can “groupthink” be positive? I do not think that “groupthink” is a positive thing. “Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups” (PsySR, n.d.). If a group is dealing with “groupthink” there are ways to remedy the situation. Psychologists for Social Responsibility listed a few ideas on how to remedy the situation. “Decision experts have determined that groupthink may be prevented by adopting some of the following measures: a) The leader should assign the role of critical evaluator to each member

b) The leader should avoid stating preferences and expectations at the outset c) Each member of the group should routinely discuss the groups' deliberations with a trusted associate and report back to the group on the associate's reactions d) One or more experts should be invited to each meeting on a staggered basis.

The outside experts should be encouraged to challenge views of the members. e) At least one articulate and knowledgeable member should be given the role of devil's advocate (to question assumptions and plans)

f) The leader should make sure that a sizeable block of time is set aside to survey warning signals from rivals; leader and group construct alternative scenarios of rivals' intentions” (PsySR, n.d.). PsySR. (n.d.). What is groupthink? Retrieved from http://www.psysr.org/about/pubs_resources/groupthink%20overview.htm

6. Do you enjoy working in groups? Why or why not?

I have some anxiety when it comes to working in groups. The few times I have had to work in a group the final outcome was not a good one. There were members of the group that did not pull their own weight and that caused others to take on a bigger work load. It was also difficult at first to get used to working with so many different personalities. Some were very outspoken and strong willed while others were very laid back and quiet. I think that it was a learning experience to get all of the personalities to work together. The overall outcome was a very stressful situation and I am hoping that the final group project does not end up being a replay of my past experiences.