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Activities

Discussion Forum

Activity: Norms and Rules in Action

Describe the desirable norms and explicit rules you would like to see established in the following new groups, and describe the steps you could take to see that they are established.

  1. A group of classmates formed to develop and present a class research project
  2. A group of neighbors that is meeting for the first time to persuade the city to install a stop sign at a dangerous intersection
  3. A group of eight-year&345;olds you will be coaching in a team sport
  4. A group of fellow employees who will be sharing new office space

Activity: Choosing the Best Decision-Making Approach

Describe which of the decision-making approaches listed on pages 282 through 284 of the text would be most appropriate in each of the following situations. Explain why your recommended approach is the best one for this situation.

  1. Four apartment mates must decide how to handle household chores.
  2. A group of hikers and their experienced guide become lost in a snowstorm and debate whether to try to find their way to safety or to pitch camp and wait for the weather to clear.
  3. A twenty-five-member ski club is looking for the cheapest airfare and lodging for its winter trip.
  4. A passenger falls overboard during an afternoon sail on your friend's twenty-foot sailboat. The wind is carrying the boat away from the passenger.

Activity: Choosing the Most Effective Leadership Style

Think of two effective leaders you have known. How would you describe the style of each one: autocratic, democratic, or laissez-faire? Task or relationship oriented? Imagine that the two leaders were transferred, so that each one was directing the other's group. Would the same style work equally well in each situation? Why or why not?

Activity: What Makes Leaders Effective?

Look at Table 9–6. There are twenty–six traits associated with leaders. Choose three of these traits that you would describe as a strength you possess and give a real-life example of each. Choose three of these traits that you would describe as a weakness you are working on and how you are working on it.

Example: One of my strengths is willingness to assume responsibility (#13.) At my job I volunteered to train new employees on the cash register and our system for handling transactions. If I train the new employee incorrectly our whole system will become chaos, so this is a big responsibility and I took it on voluntarily.

 

Journal

Activity: Your Membership in Groups

To find out what roles groups play in your life, complete the following steps:

  1. Use the criteria of size, interaction, interdependence, time, and goals to identify the small groups to which you belong.
  2. Describe the importance of each group to you, and evaluate how satisfying the communication is in each one.

Develop a list of insights that help you understand how communication operates in your groups and how you can improve your satisfaction in them.

Activity: Group and Individual Goals

Think about two groups to which you belong.

  1. What are your task-related goals in each?
  2. What are your social goals?
  3. Are your personal goals compatible or incompatible with those of other members?
  4. Are they compatible or incompatible with the group goals?
  5. What effect does the compatibility or incompatibility of goals have on the effectiveness of the group?

Activity: Power in Groups

  1. Think of examples from groups you have belonged to or observed in which members had and used each type of power:
    • Legitimate
    • Coercive
    • Reward
    • Expert
    • Information
    • Referent
  2. Describe the types of power you have possessed in groups. Evaluate whether your use of that power has helped or hindered the group’s effectiveness.

Activity: Group Characteristics and Goals

  1. Choose a group that you belong to. It could be any group: at work, at school, sports team, at home, club, church, and so on.
  2. Analyze the group by responding to these questions.
    • What do you call this group?
    • How much time do you spend together as a group?
    • What is your individual goal(s) in this group?
    • What are the group's goals?
    • How do you know these are the group goals?
    • Are there any hidden agendas operating in this group?
    • Do your individual goals and the group goals harmonize or is there conflict between the two sets of goals?

Activity: Group Norms and Rules

Choose a group you belong to. Focus on the rules and norms of the group. Try to describe behaviors. How are the members interdependent?

Example: Work group at a fast–food restaurant

List several explicit (written) rules of the group.

  1. Show up on time or be docked pay.
  2. Wear the uniform given to you.
  3. Don't leave until clean–up is done, even if shift is over. Your turn: Describe the norms of the group and differentiate them from the rules of the group. How do you know one is a norm and one is a rule? Be specific. What behaviors in the group reinforce following the norm or punish violations of the norm?

Activity: Improving Your Performance in Teams

Bowen, Jr., John J. 2008. Go team!: Build a template for the ideal high-performance team in your practice. Financial Planning: 25.

This article instructs the reader on how to build an HPT, a high-performance team. Although the specific topic addressed by the author is financial management, the four criteria given are useful to anyone working in a group environment. The four criteria focused on are team beginnings, work effectiveness, effective communication, and change management.

After reading the article, respond to the following questions:

  • The first criterion is team beginnings. How important are team beginnings?
  • The author breaks down team beginnings into four areas. Choose the one area that you think is most important and give an example of how you could use this advice in one of the groups in which you are involved.
  • The author breaks down work effectiveness into three areas. Choose the one area that you think is most important and give an example of how you could use this advice in one of the groups in which you are involved.
  • In developing out the criteria of effective communication the author gives the 5:1 ratio. What is this ratio? Do you agree? What are some advantages and disadvantages to this ratio?
  • The article ends with change management. What is change management? How does the author suggest you handle change management?



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