By Josh Culotta Teresa Griffith and Dylan Brothers
2 Group Roles
Group roles are a collection of common expectations that define a specific purpose need or capacity within the group.
3 Roles Facilitate Group Functioning and Communication
Difficulties associated with group roles can create communication problems for a group.
Some roles are formal in nature as assigned
Some roles are taken on as the group gets into the discussion process
4 Group Task Roles Group roles that help the group reach its goal or purpose. In a decision making group there are several different roles that group members must fill in order to reach the groups purpose. Roles like gathering information evaluating information contributing to group discussions recording group decisions and coordinating group activities all fall under the Task roles of a group. 5 In the following section we will look at each of the following Task roles and how they play a part in the operation of group activities.
Information and opinion seeker
Information and opinion giver
6 - Initiator - Suggests directions and proposes solutions. Initiators are the main work force of a group. They develop ideas formulate strategies for presenting them to the group and perform work in between group meetings. According the University of California (UC Davis) every member of a group should try to be an initiator. (1) Example Ok lets start by taking a look at last years local census and comparing it to the year before. (1 - http//trc.ucdavis.edu/TRC/papers/vohs/sec06 -2.html) 7 - Information and Opinion Seeker - Researches discussion topics asks for facts and suggestions and invites members to share personal experiences and viewpoints. This particular role is often split up into two separate roles information seeker and the opinion seeker. (1) These roles compliment each other nicely because information and opinion seekers often create the best group ideas by inspiring members to voice their opinions. The seeker will explore outside sources in order to adequately determine whether ideas and opinions are factual. (1 - http//www.teambuildinginc.com/tps/020c3.htm ) 8 Information/Opinion Giver - Provides relevant facts and evidence draws conclusions from the data and shares opinions. Like the previous role this role is often separated as information givers and opinion givers. (1) Combining these roles is efficient in that a group member will have more to pass along to others. No matter how trivial information givers may go over collected information to make sure that all members can make informed decisions. They will also make sure that because everyone has differing opinions it is important to express opinions about a problem choose some and consolidate them. Care should be taken not to stifle the information and opinion givers input or the group may extinguish new ideas and perspectives. (2) (1 - http//www.teambuildinginc.com/tps/020c3.htm ) (2 - http//trc.ucdavis.edu/TRC/papers/vohs/sec06 -2.html) 9 - Clarifier - Clears up misunderstandings clarifies ambiguous statements and simplifies complex ideas. Paraphrasing is essential to the clarifier. Clarifiers will listen intently to each member of the group sorting the information and thinking of easier ways to express the ideas in case of misunderstandings. Often times a clarifier may jump into a conversation when they feel the speaker is being too ambiguous or cant seem to make their point so that all group members understand one another. (1) (1 - http//trc.ucdavis.edu/TRC/papers/vohs/sec06 -2.html) 10 - Elaborator - Explains expands and develops ideas and suggestions. Elaborators take clarification to another level. Elaborators will listen to each member sympathetically and add their own ideas or beliefs.(1) Elaborators basically spell out the information given to them to the whole group by examples or developed meanings. (2) Example Were not just learning about gang relations in the area were looking for a real way to unite police agencies and increase crime prevention. (1 - http//trc.ucdavis.edu/TRC/papers/vohs/sec06 -2.html) (2 - http//www.teambuildinginc.com/tps/020c3.htm ) 11 - Coordinator - Organizes the activities of the group and assigns task responsibilities. Coordinators outline what needs to be accomplished by the group and presents assignments of these tasks at opportune times.Coordinators do not necessarily perform these tasks themselves they merely supervise the distribution of the tasks. The role of the coordinator isnt to perform the work themselves but to make sure that the individual group members perform their assigned tasks to achieve the groups goal or purpose. (1) (1 - http//trc.ucdavis.edu/TRC/papers/vohs/sec06 -2.html) 12 - Evaluator - Tests ideas and makes judgments about the value of information and suggestions. Evaluators are an extension of the coordination role. When assigned to a specific group member an evaluator should after each meeting look at what worked for the group and what didnt. Evaluators can effectively decide why a specific idea did or did not work. Armed with this knowledge evaluators may help to eliminate useless or repetitive information. They may seek more efficient ways to handle group meetings and may assist in dismissing ideas before they become costly or a waste of time. 13 - Tracker - Keeps the group on task clarifies the agenda and reminds members of the group goal. As the name implies a tracker will examine the groups agenda and goals and ensure that members stay on course. When the group veers away from the topic at hand they can count on the tracker to focus the attention back towards the goal. Example We shouldnt talk about adding stop lights on the citys roads without examining the infrastructure and determining where the problem lies first. 14 - Recorder - Keeps the group record prepares reports and agendas and maintains the minutes. The recorders job doesnt simply include keeping track of the minutes. An important function of the recorder is to note important questions and ideas whether responded to positively or not and make sure that these questions and ideas arent lost from meeting to meeting. Groups without an efficient recorder often waste time by not revisiting important issues. It is also vital to the groups success that agreements and decisions be recorded and verified so that the group will not have to spend time thinking of a solution to the same problem multiple times. Group members forget it is up to the recorder to remind them of everything that has been discussed. (1) (1 - http//trc.ucdavis.edu/TRC/papers/vohs/sec06 -2.html) 15 Task Roles Looking at the nine different task roles weve seen that there is a lot of responsibility when it comes to making a group function. Many times we will see group members assuming several of the task roles simultaneously but overworking should be avoided as it reduces efficiency. No matter how successfully these task roles are accomplished there are two other sets of roles that affect the progress and overall accomplishment of the group maintenance roles and disruptive roles. 16 Disruptive Roles
Satisfy members of the groups needs at the expense of the group
Dysfunction and counterproductive to the group goal
In the following section we will look at the disruptive roles of
The Blocker prevents group progress constantly raises objections argues trivial points and frequently reintroduces controversial topics.
The Blocker basically is an individualistic member of the group and resists moving forward.(1)
Example Harriet let me interrupt you. Before we move on I would like to reconsider the decision we made last meeting. (1)-http//www.abacon.com/commstudies/groups/role s.html 19 -Recognition Seeker-
This member of the group seeks individual achievement opportunities or pleasure at the expense of the group.
Example If we adjourn early I could get home before the traffic gets too heavy.
The Isolate withdrawals and refuses to participate.
Example It doesnt matter to me. Im only here because Professor Jobs said I had to come.
The Aggressor puts down others engages in conflict for the sake of conflict and tries to one up others.
Example Lynn you never make any sense. Your next good idea will also be your first good idea. 22 -Cynic-
The cynic doubts all ideas needlessly discourages others and encourages failure.
Example Were never going to solve this problem so why try
23 Disruptive Roles
Teamwork is the concept of people working together cooperatively.(1) When someone hinders this cooperation it creates a barrier and does not let the group move forward. The disruptive roles people assume are self-serving and need to be set aside to ensure a collaborative out come from whatever goal the group is working towards.
(1)http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teamwork 24 Since humans are inherently social people we seek opportunities to be with others. 25 Group work is inevitable but working together and taking on positive roles in groups will ensure effective communication
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