Small Group Work in the Real World: A Practical Approach

Author(s): Mark Staller, Andrea Thorson, Bryan Hirayama

Edition: 3

Copyright: 2017


Details: Print Prod w/GoReact | 180 days |

Small Group Work in the Real World: A Practical Approach introduces students to essential communication concepts and specialized communication terms. This full-color textbook aids students in working together to become a cohesive, effective small group team.\

Small Group Work in the Real World: A Practical Approach offers practical, “real world” advice about small group work. This text is divided into three main units and offers practical advice about:

  • Getting a productive start
  • Using power and managing conflict
  • Practical applications in small group theories
  • Forming and developing an effective group
  • Communicating clearly and creating a supportive communication climate
  • Leading groups and assuming small group roles
  • Making decisions and solving problems
  • Making small group presentations
  • Using technology in small groups

Unit One: Foundations of Small Group Work. 0

Chapter 1: Introduction to Small Groups. 1

Chapter Objectives

Small Groups: A Definition

The Complexity of Small Group Communication

Types of Small Groups

The Prevalence of Small Groups in the Popular Imagination

The Prevalence of Small Groups in the Real World

Small Groups in Business

Small Groups in Law

Small Groups in Education

Small Groups in Musical Entertainment

Small Groups in Government

“Reality” Television and Misconceptions about Small Groups

The Phenomenon of “Grouphate”

Tips for Reducing or Eliminating Grouphate

Drawbacks of Small Group Work

The Social Exchange Theory

Benefits of Small Group Work



Works Cited or Consulted

Film Recommendations

Questions for Thought and Discussion

Chapter 2: Getting a Productive Start

Chapter Objectives

Forming a Small Group

Setting Your Small Group Members at Ease (“What Have We

Gotten Ourselves Into?”)

Establishing Clear Lines of Communication

Establishing Group Guidelines

Developing a Small Group Identity

A Team Name

A Team Symbol or Mascot

A Team Motto

A Team Mission Statement

Scheduling, Conducting, and Debriefing from Meetings

Choosing a Meeting Time and Place

Developing a Meeting Agenda

Conducting an Effective Meeting

Concluding a Small Group Meeting  

Advice from Your Small Group Coaches

Advice from Your Peers  



Works Cited or Consulted

Film Recommendations

Questions for Thought and Discussion

Chapter 3: Using Power and Managing Conflict.

Chapter Objectives

Five Power Resources

Addressing Power Imbalances

Types of Conflict

Five Conflict Management Strategies

The Strength and Weakness of the Conflict Strategies Approach.

Managing Strong Emotions.

Dealing with Difficult People



Works Cited or Consulted

Film Recommendations

Questions for Thought and Discussion

Unit Two: Working Together

Chapter 4: Small Group Theories

Chapter Objectives

Small Group Communication Theory

The Role and Usefulness of Theory  

Limits of Small Group Theory  

Systems Theory

Theories Previewing Chapter Five: Group Development

Structuration Theory

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Tuckman’s Group Development Model  

Asch’s Conformity Theory

Tuddenham’s Conformity Theory  

Theories Previewing Chapter Six: Communication and Climate

Communication Theories and Models.

Theories Previewing Chapter Seven: Leadership and Roles

Functional Theory

Approaches to Leadership

Leadership Styles  

The Naturalistic Paradigm



Works Cited or Consulted

Film Recommendations

Questions for Thought and Discussion

Chapter 5: Small Group Formation and Development

Chapter Objectives

Small Group Formation and Development





Why We Join Groups.






Works Cited or Consulted

Film Recommendations

Questions for Thought and Discussion

Chapter 6: Small Group Communication and Climate

Chapter Objectives

Some Basic Communication Elements and Definitions

General Principles of Effective Communication

Gaining Communication Competence

Communication Networks

Answers to the “Interaction Diagram” Quiz  

The Difference Between Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal Communication versus Verbal Communication  

Nonverbal Communication and Culture

Interpreting Nonverbals  


Three Listening Barriers  

Eight Ineffective Listening Behaviors

The Five Steps of the Listening Process

Ten Steps to Take to Become a Better Listener

Communicating Clear Verbal Messages

Creating a Supportive Communication Climate

Disconfirming Responses versus Confirming Responses

Defensive and Supportive Climates



Works Cited or Consulted

Film Recommendations

Questions for Thought and Discussion

Chapter 7: Small Group Leadership and Roles

Chapter Objectives


Leaders and Leadership

Designated Leaders

Emergent Leaders


Leadership Theories: Making Sense of Leadership

How to Become a Leader

Roles within Groups

Types of Roles

Labels for Group Task Roles

Labels for Group Maintenance Roles  

Labels for Individual Roles

Tips to Being Effective with Group Roles

Roles and Communication: Closing Thoughts



Works Cited or Consulted

Film Recommendations

Questions for Thought and Discussion

Unit Three: Producing Quality Small Group Work

Chapter 8: Making Decisions and Solving Problems

Chapter Objectives

Decision-Making Groups versus Problem-Solving Groups

Decision-Making Small Groups

Problem-Solving Small Groups

Decision-Making and Problem-Solving Groups

The Elements of Low-Quality Small Group Decisions

Too Much Evidence or Information (Information Overload)

Insufficient Evidence or Information (Information Underload)

Insufficient Deliberation Time

Influence from Outside Parties

Hidden Agendas

Poor Communication

Poor or Faulty Reasoning

Too Much Conflict

Too Little Conflict (Groupthink)

Poor Decision-Making Processes

The Elements of High-Quality Small Group Decisions

The Right People Are in the Room, And They Know Why

They Are There

Adequate Time Has Been Set Aside for

the Decision-Making Process

Members Set Aside Preconceptions and Biases

Open, Frank Discussion is Encouraged

(Even the Discussion of Dissenting Opinions)

All the Necessary Information and Evidence Is Made Available

Members Share Their Analysis and

Evaluation of the Information

Members Support Their Assertions with

Adequate Evidence and Sound Reasoning.

All Options and Alternatives Are Explored

Conflict is Managed Appropriately  

Members Aim for a Consensus Decision.

The Standard Agenda (A Six Step Problem-Solving Method)

Step 1: Identify and Define the Problem

Step 2: Analyze the Problem

Step 3: Brainstorming Possible Solutions  

Step 4: Decide on Criteria for Judging the Solutions.

Step 5: Evaluating and Selecting the Solution(s)

Step 6: Implement the Solution(s)

Practical Advice for Using the Standard Agenda



Works Cited or Consulted

Film Recommendations

Questions for Thought and Discussion

Chapter 9: Small Group Presentations

Chapter Objectives

The Basics of a Speech

Five Crucial Public Speaking Skills

How to Gather and Use Research  

Outlining a Speech  

Making and Using “Key Word” Note Cards  

How to Make and Use Visual Aids

How to Manage Your Public Speaking Anxiety

Types of Small Group Presentations

Acting as a Small Group Spokesperson

A “Tag Team” Small Group Presentation

A Small Group Panel Discussion

A Small Group Symposium

A Small Group Forum Discussion



Works Cited or Consulted

Film Recommendations

Questions for Thought and Discussion

Chapter 10: Using Technology Effectively

Chapter Objectives

Technology and Small Groups

Virtual Meetings

Video Conferencing

Video Calls.


Text-Only Virtual Communication

Online Collaboration Tools

Technology Based Facilitation and Presentation Tools

Using Software-Based Presentation Tools

Visual Guidelines for Software-Based Presentation Aids

PowerPoint Rules

Organize Your Group with Technology

Tips for Delivering with Technology



Works Cited or Consulted

Film Recommendations

Questions for Thought and Discussion

Mark Staller

I belong to several academic co-cultures. As a student in a Great Books program at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California, I earned a BA in Liberal Arts and was the recipient of the Thomas Aquinas Award for outstanding achievement in the Liberal Arts. At the University of California at Berkeley I earned an MA and PhD in Rhetoric. My doctoral areas of concentration were rhetoric and philosophy in the classical world, modern rhetorical theory, and the rhetoric of philosophy. After completing my doctoral work, I taught for about 4 years at several Central Valley colleges in three different academic disciplines, English, Philosophy, and Speech. I taught courses in basic writing, research writing, technical writing, public speaking, critical thinking, and Introduction to Philosophy. Some of my academic identities, therefore, are writing instructor, speech instructor, liberal arts generalist, rhetorician, and philosopher.

For the past 22 years, I have taught full-time as a Professor of Communication at Bakersfield College. For my first 5 years, I alternated with my colleague Helen Acosta as coach and assistant coach of the Bakersfield College Speech and Debate Team, so Helen and I first developed our professional relationship as members of the California Speech and Debate community. For the past 17 years, I have been teaching Communication courses at Bakersfield College, including Public Speaking, Rhetoric and Argumentation, Intercultural Communication, Interpersonal Communication, and Small Group Communication. Collaborating with my colleagues in the Communication Department, I am a principle coauthor of four Communication textbooks: Contemporary Public Speaking: How to Craft and Deliver a Powerful Speech; Small Group Work in the Real World: A Practical Approach; Let’s Get Personal: Creating Successful Relationships Through Effective Interpersonal Communication; and, now, Intercultural Communication: Building Relationships and Skills.

In addition to my academic co-cultures, the primary co-culture I am involved in outside of my college career is the conservative Christian co-culture. I have been an active member of my church denomination since I was a small child, and I have pastored a small church in Tehachapi, California, for about the past 20 years. For a large part of my life, I have travelled back and forth between this traditional religious co-culture and the secular academic co-culture. Studying and teaching Intercultural Communication has helped me to clarify and claim both of these major parts of my personal identity.

Studying and teaching intercultural communication has also helped me to discover my German roots. Although my last name is “Staller,” until 11 years ago (when I first started teaching Intercultural Communication) I only thought of myself as American—I had almost no ethnic identity. On an unconscious level, I had disassociated myself from anything German because I primarily thought of Adolf Hitler and Nazis when I thought of German culture. After researching my family background and my German heritage, I can now write proudly that I am German-American. The Stallers, I have learned, were German Lutheran farmers who immigrated to the eastern part of the United States in the late 1800s. I hope that my Intercultural Communication students can have similar experiences getting in touch with their own co-cultures and their own personal identities.

I wrote Chapter 1 (The Foundations of Intercultural Communication), Chapter 2 (Appreciating Both Sameness and Difference), Chapter 5 (Nonverbal Communication), Chapter 6 (Approaches to Conflict), and Chapter 7 (Values and Worldviews).

Andrea Thorson

Andrea Thorson-Hevle is a dedicated professor and author. With community college work from Bakersfield College, a BA from Bradley University, a MA from California State University, Long Beach, and some doctoral work from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Andrea has collected a variety of degrees. Her favorite areas of interest include: women’s studies, interpersonal communication, disability, education, law, and language. She has published several books in the Communication discipline and enjoys giving invited lectures on issues of oppression, women, and education.

Andrea is currently teaching pubic speaking, small group, interpersonal, and rhetoric and argumentation courses at Bakersfield College in Bakersfield, CA. She thanks her parents James and Debra Thorson for their sacrifices and faith that lead her to a successful life, as well as her dear friend Sarah Crachiolo for her support and humor through the years. She is especially grateful to her loving husband Justin for his unwavering encouragement and for giving her the three greatest blessings of her life: Montgomery, Sebastian, and James.

Bryan Hirayama

There are so many events and experiences that have shaped me as a person and driven me to become more aware and conscientious of my communication with others, especially with those who might not come from a similar background. Many of these experiences I wear like badges of honor like being raised in a single-parent home by a woman, despite having four growing children, took full advantage of the support and generosity from family and friends to go back to school and become a credentialed teacher. Although some badges were apparent, chosen, and intentional, some of the badges that decorate my life are worn more proudly than others. There are three in particular that color me as an individual, a scholar, an author, as a professor, and as a husband and father.

I come from humble beginnings, much like many of the students who will read this text. Despite not always having the things I wanted and needed growing up, my participation in sport culture gave me a social capita that was worth its weight in gold. As I excelled in a number of sports within my community, the disparities of being someone without certain luxuries disappeared on some level. My involvement with sports and the culture of athletics propelled my life in ways that will forever be understood as nothing short of life changing. My friend groups and the way I was treated by others were often a direct product of my involvement and skills in sports. Even the friendships I was able to build with others from different sports were unique from the friends from other sports. Each sport culture is so different and rich. It is really the interplay between the sports, sport teams, and fandom of the sports I played that acted as my first training grounds for intercultural communication. The language and behaviors in one sport make very little sense on different fields and venues. It was not until college that I really started to understand just how different and special the culture of sports was. During my community college days I was a two-time All-American in water polo and swimming. Although I consciously made a decision to not continue after two very successful years at the community college level, Water Polo is still very much a part of my life. This culture has and continues to shape the way I see the world and how I understand others.

Secondly, another co-culture that has impacted and continues to impact my life is related to my ethnic identity. As a Japanese American I take great pride in my heritage and being part of a co-culture of racial mixed people. My minority status is often called into question because of my subtle Japanese features but ideologically I have always felt more in-line with other co-cultures that are on the fringes of society. As a fourth-generation Japanese-American, or yonsei, the experiences I share with others within my co-culture creates a bond that is very important for me to nourish and a bond I hope to pass onto my racially mixed children. My love for Japan and Japanese culture helps me to stay connected and grounded within my co-culture and since many of my students are interested in Japanese culture, I am often given a soapbox to share this love with them. Following graduate school, I took a visiting professorship position teaching at a private University in Japan. My two years teaching, studying, living, and learning in Japan has forever solidified my love for my father-land, as I call it, and my family that made the difficult journey to America a few generations ago. My affiliation and inclusion within this co-culture is something I have to work hard to maintain at times but it is through the struggle of reaching out to others, travel, and study that makes this membership so much more meaningful.

Lastly, I belong to a co-culture of loss. Without going into too much detail, my father died when I was eleven. A consequence of his death was in fact my initiation into a co-culture of survivors. At times I hide the fact that I am a part of this co-culture. It is not easy to talk about with others regardless if they too have experienced this kind of loss. It has shaped me in ways that I am still making sense of today in my early thirties. Although co-cultural groups for survivors exist out there, I have always been wary about making my membership known. It is not that I am ashamed or embarrassed, it is just that I reserve my communication about my inclusion in this co-culture to the people that I trust and with students when it is appropriate. This co-culture has helped to shape my goals, values, and in many ways helps me stay true to other co-cultures that I am a part of. Each of these three co-cultures has made and continues to make its imprint on me as a person, a community member, and a family member. I value each of these co-cultures despite my openness about them.

Related ISBN's: 9781524923648, 9781792447334, 9781792459276

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ISBN 9781524923648

Details Print Prod w/GoReact 180 days