abstract A type of word that paints a broad generalization.

acceptance level Criterion for evaluating a decision; the decision must be not only technically correct but usable by others.

accommodating A win-lose conflict management strategy exemplified by trying to satisfy the other's concerns.

action-oriented listening style A style of listening in which a receiver concentrates on the task and helps others in the group stay on task.

active listening A style of listening and feedback in which a receiver paraphrases what the speaker has said and asks questions to confirm what was said.

additive task A task that is divisible; it can be broken into subtasks so that each member can contribute meaningfully to the group's outcome.

affection The need to establish psychologically close relationships with others.

affective conflict A type of conflict based on social or relational issues.

affiliative constraints A constraint to decision making based on the relationships among members of the group; fearing that relationships will deteriorate, some group members will exert undue influence on other group members.

agenda A list of activities or topics to be considered at a group meeting; should also include starting and stopping times, the location of the meeting, the attendees, and the overall goal of the meeting, as well as the specific goal of each agenda item and any preparations that group members should make.

animated A dimension of communicator style exemplified by expressive nonverbal behaviors and easy-to-read emotional states.

appropriateness A criterion of communication competence that is achieved when communication does not violate behavioral expectations, weaken relationships among communicators, or threaten any member's self-esteem.

area of freedom The degree of authority or responsibility a group has in completing its tasks or activities.

artifacts Objects used to convey nonverbal messages.

attentive A dimension of communicator style exemplified by letting others know they are being listened to; empathic.

avoiding conflict management strategy A nonconfrontive strategy for managing conflict, based on verbal, physical, or psychological withdrawal.

bona fide groups Groups with stable yet permeable boundaries; membership in the group is clearly identified, yet membership can change or be temporarily altered.

brainstorming A group procedure designed to help groups generate creative ideas.


centralized communication network Communication network that imposes restrictions on who can talk to whom and for which one or two group members control those restrictions.

certainty A dimension of defensive communication climate that emphasizes a group member's belief that he or she has all the answers or knows in advance what another group member is going to say or do.

charge The overall goal of a group.

chronemics The use of time; conveys nonverbal messages.

coalition formation Phenomenon that occurs when one member takes sides with another against yet another member of the group; creates an imbalance of power; can only occur with at least three group members.

code of conduct A group document that describes behaviors appropriate for the group.

coercive power A type of power resulting from the expectation that one group member can be punished by another.

cognitive conflict A type of conflict involving disagreement over interpretations, or analyses of information or data; also known as judgment conflict.

cognitive conflict tasks Group tasks in which differing viewpoints or posi-tions taken by group members createdisagreement.

cognitive constraints Constraints on decision making based on difficulties or inadequacies in group members' abilities to process information; occur when information or time is limited, or when the decision is more than group members can comfortably or normally handle.

cohesiveness The degree to which members desire to remain in the group.

collaborating A conflict management strategy based on parties sharing a superordinate goal of solving the problem even though their initial ideas for how to solve it differ.

collectivistic A type of culture in which group work or teamwork is valued over individual accomplishment.

communication apprehension The fearor anxiety associated with either actual or anticipated communication with other people.

communication climate The atmosphere that results from group members' use of verbal and nonverbal communication and listening skills; can be defensive or supportive.

communication competence The ability and willingness to participate responsibly in a communication transaction exemplified by maximizing shared meaning with other group members and communicating with both appropriateness and effectiveness.

communication competency approach to leadership A model for leadership based on three principles: (1) Leadership is action that helps a group overcome barriers or obstacles, (2) leadership occurs through interaction, and (3) there are a set of skills or competencies that individuals use to exercise leadership in groups.

communication network The interaction pattern or flow of messages between and among group members; creates structure for the group based on patterns of who talks to whom.

communication overload Communication that is too extensive or complex and that comes from too many sources; causes stress and confusion among group members.

communication underload Communication that is infrequent and simple; causes group members to feel disconnected from the group.

communicator style The impression one leaves with others after communicating; includes the following dimensions: dominant, dramatic, animated, impression leaving, relaxed, attentive, open, friendly, contentious, and precise.

competing A distributive conflict management strategy exemplified by forcing; emphasizes one party winning at the other party's expense.

competitive conflict Polarizations; one side winning with the other side losing.

compromising A conflict management style; an intermediate strategy between cooperativeness and assertiveness; compromising may settle the problem but will also offer incomplete satisfaction for both parties.

concrete A word that is specific and clear.

conflict Situation in which at least two interdependent parties capable of invoking sanctions on each other oppose each other; based on real or perceived power; occurs because parties have mutually desired but mutually unobtainable objectives.

conflict aftermath The feelings that group members have developed as a result of a conflict episode; the legacy of the conflict interaction.

connectivity The degree to which several groups share overlapping tasks or goals.

consensus A decision procedure in which each group member agrees with the decision or in which group members' individual positions are close enough that they can support the group's decision.

contentious A dimension of communicator style exemplified by argumentativeness; and the desire to debate points.

content-oriented listening style A style of listening in which a receiver carefully examines everything he or she hears.

contests/battles/competitive tasks Group tasks that pit two or more teams against one another; only one team can win.

control The need to establish and share power and control with others.

controlling behavior A dimension of defensive communication climate in which the sender assumes to know what is best for others.

cooperative conflict A type of disagreement that actually helps move the group along with its task or activities.

creativity tasks Group tasks in which the group is responsible for generating ideas or alternatives.

critical advisor A role in a group exemplified by suggesting disadvantages to alternatives posed, revealing hidden assumptions, and questioning the validity or reliability of information used as evidence; helps the group see errors in its logic and thinking; devil's advocate; constructively criticizes ideas brought before the group.

cultural distance The degree to which group members differ on dimensions of language, social status, religion, politics, economic conditions, and basic assumptions about reality.


decentralized communication network Communication network that allows each group member to talk to every other group member.

decision-making tasks The most common of group activities; the objective of the group's interaction is to reach conclusions through the sharing of information and the use of group members' collectivereasoning.

decision quality The criterion for judging group output; based on issues of quality, quantity, and/or timeliness.

defensive climate A communication climate based on negative or threatening group interaction.

delegating leadership style The best style for groups whose members are both willing and able to assume responsibility for group tasks.

dependence A relationship created withor accepted from other group members that puts the individual in a subordinate position.

description A dimension of a supportive communication climate that occurs when a group member responds to the idea instead of evaluating the group member who offered the idea.

descriptive feedback Feedback that identifies or describes how a group member communicates.

distributive conflict management strategy A win-lose conflict management strategy exemplified by competitiveness and antagonism; yields an outcome that satisfies one party at the expense of the other.

dominant A dimension of communicator style exemplified by taking charge and controlling interaction; confident, forceful, active, and self-assured.

dramatic A dimension of communicator style exemplified by some individuals talking more often and more loudly than other group members; uses exaggeration, emphasis, joking, story telling.

dyadic interaction Interaction between two people (a dyad); interpersonal interaction.

effectiveness A criterion of communication competence that is achieved when the goal of the interaction is satisfied.

egocentric constraints Constraints to decision making based on a group member's high need for control over the group or its activities, or on a group member's personal or hidden agenda.

embedded groups Groups with a very long time focus; groups that perform a broad base of activities.

embeddedness The degree to which the group is central to its larger organizational structure.

emergent leadership A type of leadership in which a group member is not appointed or elected to the leadership role; rather, leadership develops over time as a result of the group's interaction.

empathy A dimension of supportive communication climate that expresses genuine concern for other group members; conveys respect for and reassurance of the receiver.

equality A dimension of supportive communication climate in which trust and respect for all group members are expressed.

ethnocentric A culturally based bias allowing a person to judge events and peopleas good or correct when they are similar to events and people in his or her own culture.

evaluation A dimension of a defensive communication climate in which a group member uses language to criticize other group members.

evaluative feedback Feedback that goes beyond mere description to provide an evaluation or assessment of how a person communicates.

expert power A type of influence based on what a group member knows or can do.


false consensus A belief among group members that they all agree when they do not; agreeing to a decision only in order to be done with the task.

feedback (1) The process of asking questions, restating the message, or agreeing or disagreeing with a message sent by another group member; (2) one element of the communication model: system output that generates new inputs for the group's system; (3) information about individual group members' actual performance orthe actions of a group.

formal roles Roles expected in most groups; easily labeled (leader or chair, vice-chair, secretary or recorder, program planner).

forming The first phase of group development exemplified by group members directing comments toward the formal leader, members relying on identity and status outside the group, and little trust.

friendly A dimension of communicator style; positive recognition of others through behavior that encourages and validates; affectionate, sociable, and tactful.

group Three or more members who identify themselves as a group and who can identify the interdependent activity or goal of the group.

group charge A group's goal, often given or assigned to the group by agents outside the group.

group charter A group document that describes the goals or mission of the group.

group continuity A belief that group members will be together over time.

group efficacy The collective belief of group members that the group canand will be effective; created throughinteraction.

group goal An agreed-upon task or activ-ity that the group is to complete or accomplish.

group identity The result when members identify themselves with other group members and the group goal.

grouping People identified as a group when they have little or no expectation that interaction will occur with one another.

group maintenance roles Informal group roles that help define a group's relationships and develop a group's climate.

group roles Interactive positions within a group; the micro components of a group's structure.

group size The number of members in the group; the minimum number of members is three; the maximum number depends primarily on the complexity of the task or activity.

group socialization The reciprocal processes of norms, roles, and networks by which group members adjust and adapt to one another.

group structure The patterns of behavior that group members come to rely on; develops with or emerges from group rules and norms.

groupthink A type of faulty decision making based on the tendency of highly cohesive groups to adopt faulty solutions because members failed to critically examine and analyze options while under pressure from the external environment.

haptics The use of touch; conveys nonverbal messages.

heterogeneous group A group whose members represent distinct and different demographic characteristics.

homogeneous group A group whose members are similar with regard to their demographic characteristics.


impression leaving A dimension of communicator style such that group mem-bers are remembered by their manner of communicating.

inclusion The need to establish and maintain satisfactory relations with others.

individual feedback Information that focuses on specific group members and their knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

individualistic A type of culture that values individual recognition more than group or team recognition.

individual roles Informal roles that are typically counterproductive for the group by focusing attention away from the group and its goal.

informal interaction Nontask-related communication with other group members that helps them get to know one another and establish relationships.

informal roles Roles that emerge naturally through group member interaction.

in-group A type of influence based on group members' identification with other group members.

integrative conflict management strategy A win-win conflict management strategy based on problem solving or collaboration; produces an outcome with which all parties can agree.

intellective tasks A group task, normally a decision-making task, that has a correct answer.

interaction diagram A diagram identifying which group members talk to other group members and how frequently.

interdependence Phenomenon whereby both group and individual outcomes are influenced by what other individuals in the group do; group members must rely upon and cooperate with one another to complete the group activity.

intrinsic interest A task characteristic; the motivating potential of the task; based on group members' motivation to perform well and their attraction to the group, task, and other members.

kinesics The use of facial expressions, eye contact, hand gestures, or body posture; conveys nonverbal messages.

law of inherent conflict The premise that no matter the issue or group, there will be significant conflict stemming from different perceptions of relative factors.

leader A formal role; a group member who plans for and facilitates meetings, encourages and motivates group members,and acts as a group's link to its external environment.

leadership (1) As a process, how a person uses positive influence to direct and coordinate the activities of group members toward goal accomplishment; (2) as a property, the set of qualities or characteristics attributed to the person who holds the primary influential role.

legitimate power A type of power based on the inherent influence associated with a position or role in the group.


message Information sent by a sender through verbal, nonverbal, written, or electronic channels to a receiver.

minutes A record of what the group did or accomplished at a meeting; should reflect who attended the meeting, what content was discussed, what was decided, who agreed to take on what responsibilities, and what the group plans to do next; usually taken by the group's secretary.

mixed-motive tasks A group task in which not all group members share a common interest or goal; group members believe that the benefits of the group's decision affect them directly as individuals.

multichannel The communication process whereby group members use verbal messages, nonverbal messages, or both; some groups also use written or electronic channels; channels may be used singly orsimultaneously.

negative feedback Information about the group or its members exemplified by what it is or what they are doing that is not working.

neutrality A dimension of defensive communication climate expressed when a group member reacts in a detached or unemotional way; a lack of warmth or caring for other members, making them feel as if they are not important.

nominal group technique (NGT) A decision-making procedure in which the group temporarily suspends interaction to take advantage of independent thinking and reflection before coming together as a group to discuss the ideas generated.

nonverbal communication Meaning derived from the way words are said or the use of behaviors to replace or substitute for verbal messages; occurs in many forms -- vocalics, kinesics, proxemics, haptics, chronemics, and artifacts.

norm An expectation about behavior; an informal rule adopted by a group to regulate group members' behaviors.

normative conflict A type of conflict that occurs when one party has expectations about and evaluates another party'sbehavior.

norming The third phase of group development exemplified by trust, role development and acceptance, and open negotiation of differences.

open A dimension of communicator style; frank, approachable, and willing to disclose information about oneself.

out-group A group against which the in-group distinguishes itself.

output One element of a communication system; the outcome of the interaction.


participating leadership style The best style for groups whose members are able but unwilling to take responsibility for group tasks.

people-oriented listening style A style of listening in which receivers are attuned to the emotional aspects of the conversation and to relationships with other group members; demonstrates care and concern about others; is nonjudgmental.

performance/psycho-motor tasks Physical tasks in which a group is being judged against predetermined standards of performance or excellence.

performing The fourth phase of group development exemplified by task or goal accomplishment.

PERT Program evaluation and review technique; a decision technique that helps group members order the activitiesthat must be completed to implementa decision.

physical noise Noise from a group's environment that can affect the degree to which messages are heard within a group.

planning tasks Group tasks in which members are responsible for generating plans to carry out previously made decisions or decisions made by others.

population familiarity A task characteristic; the degree of member familiarity with the task and other group members.

power The influence of one person over another; the ability to get things done or to find needed resources; power can be based on rewards, coercion, legitimacy, expertise, and referents (charisma).

precise A dimension of communicator style exemplified by a concern for accurate and clear communication of ideas.

prescriptive feedback Information that provides group members with advice about how they should act or communicate.

problem orientation A dimension of a supportive communication climate that strives for answers and solutions to bene-fit all group members and to satisfy the group's objective.

procedural conflict A type of conflict that occurs when procedures or group process are not discussed beforehand or when the group encounters a situation for which there is no precedent; conflicts about how the group should proceed.

procedural feedback Information about how effective specific procedures are fora group.

process The continuous sequence of communication events; difficult to identify where communication starts and stops.

provisionalism A dimension of a supportive communication climate that is committed to solving the group's problems by hearing all of the ideas; encourages the experimentation and exploration of ideas in the group.

proxemics The use of space; conveys nonverbal messages.

pseudo-listening A style of listening in which group members respond with clichés such as "right," "yeah," and "I know what you mean" without listening to the actual content of the message.

psychological noise Attitudes or other mental disruptions of group members that can affect the degree to which a group member hears messages within a group.


ranking A decision procedure in which members assign a numerical value to each available position; rankings are then ordered.

readiness The ability and willingness to perform group activities.

receiver The person to whom a message is sent.

referent power A type of influence given by a group member to another member based on a desire to build a relationship with him or her.

relational competencies Skills individuals use to help manage relationships among group members and the overall communication climate.

relational dimension Group interaction that provides social and emotional support, as well as a mechanism for developing and maintaining role identities within a group.

relational feedback Information about the group climate or the environmental or interaction dynamics within group member relationships.

relaxed A dimension of communicator style exemplified by little anxiety; calm, collected, and confident.

reward power A type of positive influence; relationally oriented and based on such things as attention, friendship, or favors, or materially oriented and based on tangible influence such as gifts or money.


satisfaction The degree to which a group member feels fulfilled or gratified based upon experiences in the group.

secretary/recorder A formal role; a group member who takes notes to capture what happened in the group's interaction.

sender The person who is the source of a message or information.

Situational leadership® model A modelthat describes leadership based on (1) the amount of task direction a leader gives,(2) the amount of relational support a leader provides, and (3) the readiness level of group members in performing their tasks.

social complexity A task characteristic;the degree to which group members are ego-involved; group members agree on how to proceed and on what should be accomplished.

social exchange theory A theoretical explanation for how group members interact based on perceived costs and rewards.

social identity theory A theoretical explanation for how groups make decisions; based on group members' identification with the in-group; and ways in which they distinguish between this group and out-groups, and adopt the characteristics of other members of the in-group.

social loafers Group members who do not perform to their maximum level of potential contribution; the group context allows them to contribute minimally but still reap the same benefits as other group members.

social loafing The idea that individualefforts decrease as the size of the groupincreases; a detachment from the groupthat occurs when group members feelas if they are not needed to produce the group's outcome or as if their individual efforts are not recognized by othermembers.

solution multiplicity A task characteristic; the number of alternatives available for solving the problem.

spontaneity A dimension of a supportive communication climate exemplified by a group member who is open and honest with other group members; creates immediacy with other group members.

standard agenda A decision-making procedure with a strict linear process for groups to follow in considering decision alternatives.

storming The second phase of group development exemplified by members asserting preferences and by conflict and competition among group members over status and power.

strategy A dimension of a defensive communication climate in which the sender manipulates others by placing him- or herself above the group or its task.

substantive conflict A type of conflict rooted in issues or ideas, or in some aspect of the group's task.

superiority A dimension of a defensive communication climate exemplified when a group member continually reinforces his or her strength or position over others.

superordinate goal A task or goal so difficult, time-consuming, and burdensome that it is beyond the capacity of one person.

supportive climate A communication climate based on positive group interaction.

synergy The result when the performance of a group goes beyond the capabilities of group members as individuals; communication among group members allows synergy to occur.


task competencies Skills individuals use to help manage groups' tasks.

task difficulty A task characteristic; the degree to which a task requires significant effort, knowledge, or skill.

task dimension A group's interaction that focuses on its task, activity, or goal.

task feedback Information about the technical competencies or the functional task activities of a team.

task force A group appointed for a specific project for a specific period of time.

task roles Informal roles that help the group move forward with its task or goal.

team A group that performs a specified and limited number of activities.

teamwork feedback Information about the group's interactions and members' relationships, cooperation, communication, and coordination.

technical competencies Skills related to the technical demands of a group's activity.

telling leadership style The best style for groups whose members are both unable and unwilling to take responsibility for group tasks.

termination The ending point or point of adjournment for groups.

time-oriented listening style A listening style in which the receiver values time and encourages other group members to do the same.

transactional Group members commu-nicate to create mutual meaning andunderstanding.

transformational leadership A type ofleadership based on the premise that the leader sets an example for group members to follow; uses rhetorical skills to builda vision that members can identify with and use as a guiding force toward goal completion.

vocal activity The amount of time a member talks in a group.

vocalics A form of nonverbal communication; meaning is derived from how the voice is used; includes inflection, tone, accent, rate, pitch, volume, number of vocal interrupters, and quality of voice.

voting A decision procedure in which group members cast a written or verbal ballot in support of or against a specific proposal; generally, a majority or two-thirds vote is needed to support a proposition.

work group A group, often an organizational group, that has specific tasks to perform over an extended period; also known as teams or standing committees.

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