The book defines a small group as a collection of individuals who are connected to one another by common purpose, are interdependent, have some degree of organization among them, and see themselves as a group. There are a variety of groups one can be a member of, some of these small groups being task-oriented, and others being relationship-oriented. For example, my coworkers and I working during a night shift make up a small task-centered group that’s focused on serving all the customers, keeping the restaurant clean, and ensuring there aren’t any problems, so everyone can go home in a timely manner. One thing that is distinguishable in many small groups and teams is that the members of the group generally work together toward a common purpose. In my example at the workplace, my coworkers and I are working for the purpose of wanting to leave on time while making sure everything at work is taken care of. Task-related small groups don’t have to be confined to work spaces; one can be in a task-related small group when they’re at school in a team, or when they’re part of a sports group.
Groups can be separated into two further categories, idea generating and sharing groups, and problem-solving groups. Examples of idea generating and sharing groups are brainstorming groups and focus groups, whereas examples of problem-solving groups are nominal group technique and the Delphi method. For example, twice a week I attend a research lab where we conduct experiments. However, prior to beginning any experiment we must come up with a hypothesis and a method to apply that hypothesis which involves a lot of brainstorming. Being usually a group of 7, it can easily be said that we make up a small idea generating group that analyzes a problem by presenting as many ideas as possible. Brainstorming really comes in handy within the lab because it allows everyone to first select the problem at hand and closely analyze it altogether prior to anyone evaluating or critiquing others’ ideas. Problem-solving groups usually meet to solve a particular problem or to reach a decision on some issue. Whenever my classmates from my Organic Chemistry II class and I meet up for a study session in the library, we define and analyze what sections we’ll be studying over today, and we will be collectively working towards the same goal. If a team member in the group understands something prior to someone else, they assist others, and there’s an overall aim to solve problems together within the study group.
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