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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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