Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
1. Describe, compare, and analyze a variety of small-group communication behaviors.
2. Choose and practice methods for communicating with other members of a small group.
3. Describe, compare and analyze some culturally-based differences in cognitive styles and
worldviews of group members.
4. Describe and practice supportive communication behaviors.
5. Discuss and practice listening skills related to small-group communication.
6. Discuss and practice communication skills related to leadership and decision making.
7. Demonstrate an appreciation for the sociological and behavioral differences between people,
especially those of various cultures, personality types and learning styles.
8. Strategize and practice methods for individual and group problem solving.
9. Discuss and practice both task and maintenance roles and behaviors.
10. Discuss and practice methods of group consensus building, rather than less inclusive means
of decision-making, such as majority vote or trading.
11. Define, discuss, identify and avoid groupthink.
12. Create a meeting agenda and lead a group meeting utilizing Parliamentary Procedure.
13. Observe and explain concepts or organizational communication, including organizational
14. Explain and practice methods of effective leadership in a variety of situations.
I. The Nature of Small Group Discussion
A. The importance of groups in society
B. Group roles and norms
C. Supportive versus defensive behaviors
D. Definitions of terms
1. small group
E. Maintenance and task roles
F. Consensus building
G. Group decision making
H. When groups make better decisions than individuals
1. synergy and assembly effect
2. process loss
I. When groups are not the best decision-making vehicle
1. when conditions are changing rapidly (such as on a
battlefield or during an emergency)
2. when group members are unknowledgeable or immature
II. Diversity in Group Communication
A. Cultural diversity
B. Learning styles
C. Personality types
III. Conflict Resolution
A. Conflict management
C. Avoidance of groupthink
F. Avoidance and accommodation
IV. Systematic Approaches to Problem Solving (Procedural Model of Problem Solving or
A. Understanding, researching and analyzing the problem
B. Generating possible solutions
C. Evaluating possible solutions
D. Selecting the best solutions
E. Implementing solutions
V. Systems Theory (or Substitute Theory)
A. Input, throughput, output
C. Open versus closed systems
D. Group as system
A. Understanding and managing diversity
B. Employing lawful and ethical leadership strategies
C. Using interpersonal power ethically and positively
D. Employing effective communication
E. Fostering a positive communication climate
F. Evaluating group and organizational leadership
G. Employing the most appropriate style of leadership for the situation, organization, or
VII. Components of Group Communication
C. Behaviors (norms)
E. Practicing supportive communication
F. Avoiding defensive communication
VIII. Evaluation of Groups and Organizations
IX. Methods of Collecting and Analyzing Group Communication Data
X. Nonverbal Communication
XI. Understanding an Individual's Place in the Group
A. Interdependence as the goal
C. Dependence, co-dependence
XII. Critical Thinking and Research Gathering in Group Contexts
XIII. Participating in and Running a Meeting
A. Parliamentary Procedure
1. soliciting input
2. constructing an agenda
3. promulgating the final draft agenda to all members
C. Taking and distributing minutes
D. Archiving a group's history
XIV. Organizational Communication
A. Organizational culture
B. Group and institutional evaluations
C. Management evaluations
In Mixed Company: Communicating in Small Groups. 9th ed. Rothwell, Dan. Cengage. 2015
Communicating in Groups: Applications and Skills. 9th ed. Adams, Katherine and Galanes, Gloria. McGraw-Hill. 2014
Communicating in Small Groups: Principles and Practices. 11th ed. Beebe, Steven and Masterson, John. Pearson. 2014
Effective Group Discussion: Theory and Practice. 14th ed. Galanes, Gloria and Adams, Katherine. McGraw-Hill. 2012 (classic)
Systems Approach to Small Group Interaction [with CD]. 11th ed. Tubbs, Stewart. McGraw-Hill. 2011 (classic)