COM 520 Small Group Communication

Fall, 2014


Instructor: Dr. Marcia D. Dixson
Office hours: T 11:00 - 1:00; R 4:15 - 5:45 pm and by appointment
Office: NF 230B
Phone: 481-6558 Email:


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Chapter 7 Time and Transition in Work Teams: Toward a New Model of Group Development

1. What two processes of group development does this model stress that previous models have not stressed?

2. Explain how the idea of "punctuated equlibrium" is applied to groups using this model.

3. There are five time periods listed in the chart on page 64. Explain, according to this model, what occurs in groups during each of these time periods.

4. Do you "buy into" this model? Why or why not?

5. The article "Puncutated Equilibrium and linear progression: Toward a new understanding of group development" tests two models against each other. What did they do? What do they find? Which model is "better"?

If you are interested:

Definniton of bounded rationality

Chapter 8 A Multiple Sequence Model of Group Decision Making and the original reading "Decision development in small groups II: A study of multiple sequences in decision making" in Blackboard

1. What are the criticisms Poole offers of phasic models?

2. Explain what he means by "multiple sequence".

3. On pages 216-218 of the article, Poole explains his focus units. Choose one: positive modification, simple modification, enthusiastic elaboration, simple elaboration, integration or disagreement, and explain what types of cluster sets (defined on pages 212-213) you would find in a group engaged in that focus unit.

4. Explain the three activity tracks he proposes. What might each "look like" in a group?

5. What are the three types of breakpoints? What might each "look like" in a group?

6. Poole lists three advantages of the multiple sequence model, what are they? Do you agree with him? Why or why not?

7. Consider two ideas/concepts/assertions from this chapter that you feel are important to understanding and improving group communication. How might you investigate/apply/test these ideas?


Applying the models

To test the validity and utility of these two models, you will try to apply the models to the sequence of conversation in the recent discussion forum or chat group discussions. Be prepared to discuss the "fit" of the model to your discussion. Apply the model to either your group's discussion forum or your chat discussion. Your thesis should be "This model fits or does not fit [choose one] our discussion because . . ." Apply the information from either Chapter 7 or 8 (with in-text citation and a reference page please). And, of course, 2 pages maximum, 12 point font, double-spaced, cover page, and 1 inch margins. Due October 30.

Punctuated Equilibrium Model
Multiple Sequence Model
Christie Bowen Isaiah McCray
Peter Gachunga Esther Myahla
Rajfa Hasankovic Bryan Saunders
Margaret Logan Sonya Snellenberger
Erica Widmer Tyler Sorg
Ashley Motia Roula Althubaiti
Dillon Zulkowski Mark Tomlinson
Amanda Seilheimer Crystal Curry
Makinsey Williams Lindsay Winslow-Brown
  Jeanna Hathaway