Impact of Group Processes on the Communication That Takes Place in Groups Essay

Pages: 5 (1685 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Family and Marriage

Sociology -- Family Issues

Group Cohesion and Maintenance Roles in Families:

The study of group dynamics reveals the tremendous importance of individual social roles of group members. In general, group leaders fulfill essential roles of establishing overall group goals and define the values of the group, while other members fulfill corresponding roles as facilitators, mediators, and antagonists through myriad specific behavior patterns. Furthermore, those patterns include both overt conscious roles as well as completely unconscious roles, many of which are typically expressed through communication patterns that remain stable over time (Myers & Spencer, 2004).

Among different types of social groups, families exhibit some of the most stable and well defined roles among members, particularly in the realm of the types of communication patterns and relationship dynamics associated with group cohesion and maintenance as those concepts are defined in the psychological literature pertaining to social groups. My family exemplifies the concept of group cohesion and maintenance in terms of the respective roles played by family members within the group and illustrates some of the principles disclosed in recent literature in the area of family roles and relationships. As with all social groups, the social dynamics within my family demonstrate both the essential social roles played by individuals as well as some of the limitations of reliance on social roles for the establishment and maintenance of optimal relationships within the group over the long-term.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Essay on Impact of Group Processes on the Communication That Takes Place in Groups Assignment

In many respects, cohesions and maintenance the family group represents one of the most functions of communications within the group (Myers & Spencer, 2004). This is likely even more true of families than of other types of groups, mainly because all family group members participate in the evolution of communication patterns and also because the maintenance of relationships within the group is one of the principal purposes of the group. Conversely, in most non-family groups, even the most fundamental social relationships within the group merely serve a larger function defined by the stakes of individuals in the mutual pursuit of group goals.

Communication Patterns within the Group Role Concept in the Family:

In my family, my father has always fulfilled the role as the group's primary leader who establishes the values and responsibilities of group members, both within and among family members, and also in terms of the overall long-term goals of the group. My mother fulfills a dual role of co-leader and a facilitator who strives to help communicate ideas and principles established by my father in such a way that they can be best understood by group members.

My father's main mechanism of communication is direct instruction and his primary means of ensuring compliance is the natural (and learned) tendency of group members to seek his approval. In that regard, my father tends to communicate the importance of group values and of maintaining specific principals of behavior and belief through his words, but his primary means of enforcement is through nonverbal mechanisms. My mother also utilizes verbal communication to reinforce family values and ideals, particularly during interactions involving the entire group; at those times, she provides direct verbal support for my father and functions mainly as a co-leader.

However, in interactions not involving my father, she fulfills another role of facilitator of family relationships by explaining concepts introduced by my father in such

a way that increases compliance and minimizes conflict, particularly where potential (or actual) conflict has arisen in connection with family values or goals and individual behavior. In this role, my mother tends to rely more on nonverbal communication such

as through the use of informal rituals as a natural means of enhancing group cohesiveness, whether with respect to one individual at a time or the entire group in my

father's absence. In many ways, her indirect approach helps resolve conflicts between group members and my father arising from his more direct and directly critical methods of establishing and maintaining family values and goals.

The manner in which my mother takes advantage of informal social rituals in the family is precisely consistent with empirical research suggesting how important family rituals are to maintaining functional and fulfilling social relationships within families

(Fiese, Tomcho, Douglas, et al., 2002). For example, my mother has always had a routine of serving coffee at various specific times, either in the kitchen or outside on the adjacent patio. Ever since I can remember, this ritual has served important social functions in the realm of maintaining group cohesion, whether by providing a forum for her counsel, for reconciliation of disputes, and for resolution of issues arising between group members and my father.

More specifically, my father has always had difficulty initiating compromises or making concessions after conflicts with individuals within the group and tends to do so only indirectly, such as through scheduling novel family activities. In principle, both core family activities and novel ones such as group vacations facilitate group cohesion

(Zabriskie & McCormick, 2001); in reality however, there are insufficient opportunities to rely exclusively on this method. Therefore, the primary alternate means of resolving disputes between other family members and my father has traditionally been through the mediation function fulfilled by my mother.

The informal communications during my mother's coffee meetings form the basis of offers of compromise and other mechanisms of resolving conflict by virtue of the subsequent communications between my mother and father. Typically, my mother interprets and communicates the topic of conversation occurring over her coffee table to my father privately and conflicts between him and other family members are resolved (in effect) with mutual compromises conceived, proposed, and negotiated over coffee with my mother without any direct communication on the matter between other family members and my father. Not infrequently, my father used to either initiates core family recreational activities or vacations as a means of restoring bonds strained by family conflicts after resolution by my mother.

Among my siblings, (especially when we were younger), one of the most important mechanisms of settling disputes and grievances was through the process of necessary cooperation to fulfill assigned family chores and obligations. Typically, my parents will assign specific chores and other responsibilities to other members of the family, many of which require more than one individual to complete. By providing an important mechanism for necessary collaboration, my mother often motivates resolution of issues between siblings by offering an incentive capable of being earned only by completion of tasks that require the mutual effort of siblings who recently experienced conflict. In other instances, my mother would assign chores necessitated by specific conflicts (such as a broken door) as punishments that resulted from conflicts. Either way, that method often helped restore relationships in the same manner that empirical research suggests that adolescents establish and reinforce social bonds through ordinary activities

(Kastner & Ray, 2000).

Finally, both of my parents have always initiated family rituals and required family participation in various manifestations of our cultural heritage. In our childhood, this was enforced equally by both parents; more recently, participation is strongly encouraged as an unspoken requirement of parental approval. To large degree, the continual reinforcement of our cultural orientation is no longer necessary, because all of us clearly absorbed the overall importance in that regard from our childhood and adolescent experiences, in the same manner as demonstrated by academic literature

(Phinney, Romero, Nava, et al., 2001). In that regard, it is somewhat unfortunate that both of my parents still maintain their roles of reinforcing those values, because it is no longer necessary and now seems to detract from their ability to appreciate that their efforts have been mostly successful.

Likewise, it is unfortunately, now that my siblings and I are on the verge of independence, the family's long-term reliance on the social dynamics and communication patterns within our family have resulted in somewhat different types of relationships between my siblings… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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