Small Group Communication: Forming & Sustaining Teams
Jasmine R. Linabary, Emporia State University
Moon Castro, Emporia State University
Copyright Year: 2021
Publisher: Jasmine R. Linabary
Conditions of Use
I am impressed with the coverage of topics that illustrate how students can become more effective communicators in various small group settings. This text lends credence to the historical study of small group work while also providing students... read more
I am impressed with the coverage of topics that illustrate how students can become more effective communicators in various small group settings. This text lends credence to the historical study of small group work while also providing students with a framework for working through emerging trends like improving the function of virtual small groups. I would love to see more attention given to the systems approach toward group communication because it is such a popular theory.
The text provides an accurate description of the historical and current trends in approaching small group communication. Each chapter/module draws from scholarly research and lists bibliographic information at the end of each module. I did not uncover bias in the text's approach.
I found this text to be updated to reflect modern trends in small group communication, including strategies for working in virtual groups. I found the information provided regarding virtual groups to be up-to-date; however, some students might need more robust descriptions of software and other technology. It might also be helpful to include information about how students might become more proficient with technology (E.g., working with campus instructional technology offices, using online tutorials, etc.).
I found the book to be very readable - the language is clear and precise, and any terms needing additional explanation are hyperlinked to give students more context.
I found that the textbook is consistent with the accepted terminology and framework discussed in the field of small group communication. In fact, this book recognizes that there are inconsistencies among small group scholars (i.e., how many people make a small group, etc.) and discusses why those inconsistencies might exist.
I have used other OER books in the past and what I like about this text is that one complete chapter is available when one clicks on the link to the chapter instead of only one subsection of that chapter. So, students can read the entire chapter from one link without having to scroll through other pages using navigational tools. I have found that the latter is very confusing to students, who might read only the first subsection and not the entire chapter. These links can easily be incorporated into an LMS module for easy access. In addition, each chapter is very readable - the information is not long-winded and sticks to the basics with relevant examples and sidebars included where necessary. And, with 16 chapters, instructors can choose to cover one chapter per 16-week course, if desired.
The organization is one of my favorite aspects of this text! This book recognizes the need for students to understand basic aspects of group formation before thinking about maintaining the group's atmosphere and/or tackling tasks as a team. In small group instruction, students tend to jump right into the assigned tasks because that's what is typically expected of a college classroom. The order of this book slows students down and helps everyone to understand the importance of creating an effective group before moving forward.
The interface of this textbook is certainly one of its chief strengths. Students can access chapter content from a link provided by their instructor or can navigate through the text using a descriptive and simple table of contents. Each chapter is organized in a similar format - subsections with chapter content, sidebar information where additional instruction might be useful, review questions, and a bibliography. Difficult terms or concepts requiring a bit more context are hyperlinked so students who need more information can easily access it.
I did not encounter grammatical errors as I read.
Not only do the authors use inclusive language throughout the book, but they also devote Chapter 5 to Working in Diverse Teams. Chapter 5 goes beyond a hasty sensitivity lesson to include a mini-course in intercultural communication that helps students improve their cultural intelligence and competency in interacting with people from different cultures.
For an introductory-level small group communication course, this book is hard to beat. It is comprehensive, readable, and helps students become acquainted with the discipline without breaking the bank.
Content is easy to understand for students new to the study of small group communication. While I would have liked to see a few more theories and models explored in depth rather than just a quick reference, the content included seemed to cover all... read more
Content is easy to understand for students new to the study of small group communication. While I would have liked to see a few more theories and models explored in depth rather than just a quick reference, the content included seemed to cover all required aspects. I also appreciated that it included current trends in the field.
No glaring errors visible. Most content was supported with research and scholarly evidence.
Content is up to date with current research and current trends including the adjustment and study of virtual groupwork over the past year.
Language is simplistic and easy to navigate. Definitions of terms are clear and concise. Examples are current and connected to today's learner.
Terminology is defined using realistic examples and a framework which learners will be able to understand.
There is some room to separate content a bit more especially subsections within each section, but overall the structure and formatting used is clear and the book is easy to navigate.
Book follows the life cycle of a small group from beginning to end making it easy to navigate and understand.
Links are easy to find including glossary terms. Entire book is searchable and charts/graphics are clear and helpful for the learner.
I did not come across any glaring grammatical errors
Book addresses topics of diversity in a clear way using current research to justify content. Graphics and conversation examples are inclusive but there is room for expansion on this topic overall when it comes to addressing how groups function in a variety of settings. There is some, but I would like to have seen a bit more.
If you are looking for a simple and basic book to introduce learners to small group communication, this is the book for you. This is a great starter conversation to this field of study. I would have liked to see a few areas expanded upon as well as some more activities and perhaps some surveys included, but overall it is a clear and concise book.
This book provides a thorough overview of small group and team-based communication theory, formation, and essential skills. read more
This book provides a thorough overview of small group and team-based communication theory, formation, and essential skills.
This text accurately identifies how groups form, ways to cultivate a supportive group climate, and how to put group communication skills into practice.
This book is just the right length for a communication course that is project and skills-oriented. It provides the right blend of content and discussion questions.
The author's style is clear because of the use of reader-friendly hyperlinked explanations for terms and important concepts.
This text consistently uses terminology in relatable ways to build a logical framework for readers.
The author makes strategic use of smaller paragraphs and logical groupings of information. Portions of this text could be easily reorganized or combined with another work to create something new for students.
The book has a clear organizational hierarchy. The use of hyperlinked information and the online medium create dynamic pathways for readers to explore its content.
The interface of this text is user-friendly and easy to navigate.
I did not encounter any glaring grammatical errors.
This text is inclusive and devotes space to topics of working in diverse teams and negotiating power within groups.
This text is well-written, highly readable, and a really great resource for introducing students to the theory and application of small group and team communication skills.
Table of Contents
- I. Group & Team Communication Overview
- 1. Introducing Small Group Communication
- II. Forming Groups
- 2. Understanding Group Formation
- 3. Identifying Group Roles
- 4. Establishing and Maintaining Group Norms
- 5. Working in Diverse Teams
- 6. Negotiating Power in Groups
- III. Sustaining Groups
- 7. Cultivating a Supportive Group Climate
- 8. Navigating Group Conflict
- 9. Confronting and Preventing Social Loafing
- 10. Making Decisions in Groups
- 11. Engaging in Group Problem-Solving
- 12. Identifying Leaders
- 13. Leading in Groups
- IV. Putting Group Communication Skills into Practice
- 14. Facilitating Group Meetings
- 15. Enhancing Creativity in Groups
- 16. Presenting as a Group
About the Book
Small Group Communication: Forming & Sustaining Teams is an interdisciplinary textbook focused on communication in groups and teams. This textbook aims to provide students with theories, concepts, and skills they can put into practice to form and sustain successful groups across a variety of contexts.
About the Contributors
Moon Castro is a McNair Scholar and a senior communication major at Emporia State University. His research interests include peacebuilding, social change, and emerging technology. Castro is a past winner of the Community Impact Challenge, a grant competition in which teams of students identify creative and meaningful solutions to challenges facing the campus or local community.
Jasmine R. Linabary, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of communication at Emporia State University. Her research focuses on organizing, new media, and social change. She teaches classes on topics like small group communication, group leadership, communication and emerging technology, ethics, and public speaking, among others. She is also the co-founder and director of the EAT Initiative, an interdisciplinary and collaborative effort to combat food insecurity.