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Group Communication Pitfalls
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Group Communication Pitfalls
Overcoming Barriers to an Effective Group Experience

First Edition
  • John O. Burtis - University of Northern Iowa, USA
  • Paul D. Turman - Nebraska State College System, Lincoln, NE, South Dakota Board of Regents, USA


September 2005 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
"They have done this with a rich, provocative, and creative conceptual vocabulary that will resonate for readers who practice, supervise others' practice, teach about or do research in group life and group work."
—Paul H. Ephross, MSW, PhD, Professor, University of Maryland School of Social Work

 
Group Communication Pitfalls: Overcoming Barriers to an Effective Group Experience treats groups and the work involved in grouping as useful tools humans have developed for responding to pressures or demands faced by group members. This book assumes an orientation that expects and detects group pitfalls as they arise, providing students with the foundation for overcoming barriers to effective group experiences. By assuming this orientation, authors John O. Burtis and Paul D. Turman offer readers a map of the group pitfall terrain and demonstrate how people working well together can use the struggle against such pitfalls to improve their groups.

Key Features
  • Provides students with a unifying theoretical framework and pedagogical orientation, which organizes a very broad range of research findings into tight and useful classifications
  • Takes a comprehensive approach that frames current small group communication literature through a theoretical lens provided by Breakdown-Conducive Group Theory
  • Reviews research findings from a variety of methodological perspectives and directly describes applications of the concepts discussed across each chapter
  • Offers extensive skills enhancing material to help students apply the theoretically based concepts discussed in the book
While other texts cover cursory material on group pitfalls and miscommunication, it is the primary focus of this text and gives students practical recommendations to correct those pitfalls. Group Communication Pitfalls is an excellent textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on small group communication such as Advanced Group Communication, Group Dynamics, and Group Processes. It can also be used as a supplemental text in courses that focus on group interaction.

 
Preface
 
Unit I: We Co-construct Our Groups by Communicating
 
1. Why Study Group Communication Pitfalls?
Overview of the Book

 
Why Do Groups Matter Enough to Make a Study of Them?

 
Definitions of "Communication", "Group", and "Pitfalls"

 
Casting a Wide Net to Include All Pitfalls and Breakdown

 
Group Communication Pitfalls by Commission or by Omission

 
The Breakdown-Conducive Group Framework

 
Why Should We Focus Our Study of Groups on Group Communication Pitfalls?

 
 
2. How Grouping and Group Direction Help Create Effective Group Experiences
The Universals of Grouping Activity

 
The Framework for Grouping and Group Direction

 
Rhetorical Situation and a Purgatory Puddle

 
 
Unit II: We Struggle to Co-construct and Frame Our Circumstances and Processes
 
3. Pitfalls in Task and Supragroup Exigencies
Groups as Systems

 
Purgatory Puddle Pitfalls

 
Supragroup Pitfalls

 
Wrong Task for a Group

 
How to Expect, Detect, and Correct These Pitfalls

 
 
4. Personnel Pitfalls
"Wrong Group for the Task" Pitfalls

 
Traits

 
Orientation

 
Style

 
Circumstances

 
How to Expect, Detect, and Correct These Pitfalls

 
 
5. Pitfalls in Grouping Techniques, Tendencies, and Process Prizes
Grouping Techniques

 
Technique Pitfalls

 
Grouping Tendencies: Norms and Roles

 
Norm Pitfalls

 
Role Pitfalls

 
Process Prizes

 
Process Prize Pitfalls

 
Deliberation Outcome Pitfalls

 
 
6. Pitfalls in Confusion, Conformity, Conflict, and Group Consciousness: Grouping Concomitants
Confusion Pitfalls

 
Conformity Pitfalls

 
Conflict Pitfalls

 
Consciousness Pitfalls

 
How to Expect, Detect, and Correct These Pitfalls

 
 
7. Pitfalls in Vision and Direction Giving
Vision/Outcome Pitfalls

 
Savior Complex Pitfalls

 
Ascension Pitfalls

 
Transitions Pitfalls

 
How to Expect, Detect, and Correct These Pitfalls

 
 
Unit III: We Co-construct Our Exigencies for Grouping Into Our Group Outcomes
 
8. (Un)Intended Group Outcomes
Dynamics Involved in Potential Group Outcomes

 
A Set of Potential Group Outcomes

 
 
9. To Group or Not to Group, That Is the Question
General Exigencies Against Grouping

 
Distrust of Grouping

 
Distrust of Self as a Grouping Member

 
Distrust of Any Aspect of This Particular Grouping Effort

 
Inertia and Specific Exigencies Against Grouping

 
How Exigencies Against Grouping May Manifest

 
Expecting, Detecting, and Correcting These Pitfalls: General Orientational Advice

 
 
10. Observing Groups Well
Observing Groups

 
Improving Observational Focus and Quality

 
Observing the Purgatory Puddle

 
Observing The Way/Process

 
Observing the Vision/Outcome and the Savior Complex

 

"They have done this with a rich, provocative, and creative conceptual vocabulary that will resonate for readers who practice, supervise others' practice, teach about or do research in group life and group work."
Paul H. Ephross, MSW, PhD, Professor, University of Maryland School of Social Work

Paul H. Ephross
University of Mayland School of Social Work
Social Work With Groups
Key features
  • Provides students with a unifying theoretical frame and pedagogical orientation (i.e., group breakdown), which organizes a very broad range of research findings into tight and useful classifications
  • The text distinguishes itself from other texts (which provide cursory material on group pitfalls) by taking a comprehensive approach that frames current small group communication literature through a theoretical lens provided by Breakdown-Conducive Group Theory
  • Provides a review of research findings from a variety of methodological perspectives and directly describes applications of the concepts discussed across each chapter.
  • While the text is theoretically based, it is applied in orientation (with extensive skills enhancing material), and not heavily burdened with research cites beyond the basics on each topic.

For instructors

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