Abstract In this paper I will describe and analyze my experience working in a group situation, writing a paper on the movie 12 Angry Men. I will address therapeutic communication techniques used in our group situation. I will address any conflicts that arose in our group. Utilizing Tuckman’s group process theory, I will also address the effectiveness of our group process.
Individual Analysis of Working in a Group Situation Learning how to work effectively in a group situation is key to success in many professions as well as in social situations. Groups vary from each other based on the individuals that make up each group, all of us belong to various groups at one time or another. The roles that we fulfill vary from group to group, and may even vary within the same group over time. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the communication process and the interaction of my group during the completion of an assignment. The group consisted of four members.
Our task was to prepare an analysis paper on the movie 12 Angry Men. Because this was only a four-member group focused on a single specific task, there was a high level of cohesiveness and no conflict. Our group would be considered a secondary group because the relationship was impersonal and goal-oriented (Arnold & Boggs, 2011). Every member of a group plays a certain functional role within the group. Some functional roles relate to the task aspect of the group, while others promote social interaction. These functions are manifested in the behaviors of individual members and affect group dynamics.
Task functions include such behaviors as; identifying tasks, coordinating, clarifying and summarizing. Maintenance functions include such behaviors as harmonizing, gatekeeping, encouraging and compromising. All of the members of our group were task specialists (Arnold & Boggs, 2011). According to Arnold and Boggs (2011), when task specialists dominate a group, members become dissatisfied and collaboration is diminished. However, this was not the case with our group. Due to the fact that our group was very task oriented and we collaborated well with each other everyone was satisfied with the experience.
Our group was able to effectively function without a designated leader. As a group, we had many strengths. I believe one of our biggest strengths was our effective communication. When we met in person all the members of our group used therapeutic communication such as active listening, paraphrasing, and summarizing. We were all very respectful of each other and maintained eye contact and receptive nonverbal communication. There were several times during the movie that we paused the movie to discuss the jurors’ ages, professions, or the dynamics between the different jurors. Normally it wouldn’t be acceptable to repeatedly pause a movie for discussion, but it was widely accepted among our group and did not cause any conflicts.
Another form of communication that our group used was the internet. It enabled us to receive papers via email attachment, and then download, print, edit, and return the changes at our own leisure. The only drawback with using the internet for communication is the lack of acknowledgement. In the future I will make sure that I ask the recipient to acknowledge that they have received my communication. Groups do not always start off fully-formed and functioning.
Bruce Tuckman's model of the developmental sequence in small groups suggests that groups grow through clearly defined stages, from their creation as groups of individuals, to cohesive, task-focused teams. There are five stages of Tuckman’s theory, forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. During the forming stage of Tuckman's theory, group members meeting each other for the first time are primarily concerned with overcoming their discomfort with one another. In this phase, the group members are engaged in establishing boundaries and group norms for communication (Arnold & Boggs, 2011).
In contrast to Tuckman’s description, our group did not introduce themselves or share their backgrounds or reasons for coming to the croup, since we have been together in class for a few weeks and had already been acquainted. Our group did not pass through all of Tuckman’s stages of group development. Specifically, we omitted the storming stage and passed from forming to norming. Tuckman's storming phase focuses on the interpersonal conflicts that erupt among the members as they compete with one another for leadership roles. According to Tuckman, the interpersonal conflicts that typically include personal criticisms undermine the group's ability to accomplish the task (Arnold & Boggs, 2011).
There was no real conflict in our group, since there was no clear leader in our group and all of the members were very task oriented. According to Tuckman, during the norming phase the group has one goal and all group members take responsibility and work toward the success of the group's goals (Arnold & Boggs, 2011). Our group was able to arrive at this level of cohesiveness at the beginning of the first meeting. Our group agreed to watch the movie once by ourselves and then meet and watch the movie together, and once we had view the film we would decide as a group which questions to assign to each of the members.
Tuckman’s preforming phase happened on our second meeting, when our group watched the movie. After viewing the movie we discussed each question and collaboratively decided who would be most knowledgeable about each of the different areas. After dividing up the different areas of the paper we decided on a date that we would email our individual sections to Katie. The final phase of Tuckman’s theory is the adjourning phase. Our group reached this phase after we completed our final paper with the satisfaction of all of the group members. I left the group with a real feeling of satisfaction at having achieved what I set out to do.
Throughout this group process has been helpful in a number of ways. I have learned how to communicate more effectively and I have also learned to step outside of my comfort zone. I have also leaned to be more conscious of my body language, because it is more effective than what you say. This group project has helped me learn how to convey my thoughts, feelings, opinions and ideas to my group in an effective manner. . I will be able to apply what I have learned to my work and also to future group projects at school.
Groups are a fundamental structure for accomplishing a wide variety of tasks. An effective group has many traits or characteristics that combine to ensure that it is able to reach its goals and objectives in a manner that is conducive to a high level of performance. Most groups go through five separate stages before achieving effective collaboration. Bruce Tuckman described these stages as forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Several factors affect group performance: composition, size, norms, and cohesiveness. In working with groups it is important to be aware of the many factors that affect group performance and understand the individual as well as the group issues. References
Arnold, E. & Boggs, K. (2011). Interpersonal relationships: Professional communication skills for nurses. (6th ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders. ISBN -978143 770944-5.