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Group Roles


Group roles are a collection of common expectations that define a specific ... Care should be taken not to stifle the information and opinion giver's input or ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Group Roles

Group Roles
  • By Josh Culotta, Teresa Griffith, and Dylan

Group Roles
  • Group roles are a collection of common
    expectations that define a specific purpose, need
    or capacity within the group.

Roles Facilitate Group Functioning and
  • 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

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
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.
  • Initiator
  • Information and opinion seeker
  • Information and opinion giver
  • Clarifier
  • Elaborator
  • Coordinator
  • Evaluator
  • Tracker
  • Recorder

- 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//
- 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//
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//
(2 - http//
- 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//
- Elaborator -
Explains, expands, and develops ideas and
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//
(2 - http//
- 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//
- 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.
- 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.
- 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//
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.
Disruptive Roles
  • Satisfy members of the groups needs at the
    expense of the group
  • Self-serving roles
  • Dysfunction and counterproductive to the group
  • Create Conflict

  • In the following section, we will look at the
    disruptive roles of
  • Blocker
  • Recognition Seeker
  • Isolate
  • Aggressor
  • Cynic

  • 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

Example Harriet, let me interrupt you. Before
we move on, I would like to reconsider the
decision we made last meeting.
-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
  • Example It doesn't 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.
  • The cynic doubts all ideas, needlessly
    discourages others, and encourages failure.
  • Example Were never going to solve this
    problem, so why try?

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.

Since humans are inherently social people, we
seek opportunities to be with others.
Group work is inevitable but working together and
taking on positive roles in groups will ensure
effective communication