achievement-oriented leadership

a leaderships style in which leaders set challenging goals, seek improvement in performance, emphasize excellence, and demonstrate confidence in organizational members’ ability to attain high standards

affinity technique

a brainstorming technique that uses Post-it notes for individuals to first write down ideas and then asks the group to categorize them


a list of topics to be discussed at a meeting

bases of power

five primary ways in which power can be exerted in social situations


web pages with periodic posts that may or may not feature feedback responses from readers


a commonly used group creativity technique designed to generate a large number of ideas for the solution of a problem

cloud computing

secure access of files from anywhere, as information is stored remotely

coercive power

person A has power over person B because A can administer some form of punishment to B

collective self-esteem

feelings of self-worth that are based on evaluation of relationships with others and membership in social groups

collectivist cultures

cultures that place more value on the needs and goals of the group, family, community or nation


a physical or virtual space where people seeking interaction and shared interest come together to pursue their mutual goals, objectives, and shared values


an expressed struggle between interdependent parties over goals which they perceive as incompatible or resources which they perceive to be insufficient

conformity pressure

internal and external pressures to accept rather than resist group norms


a method of group decision-making where group members engage in discussion and reach a decision that all members can support


harmonious combination or interaction, as of functions or parts


the extent to which person B has other sources of power to buffer the effects of person A’s power

creative problem solving

the process of creating a solution to a problem wherein the solution has value or is appreciated by those directly affected and demonstrates newness or novelty

creative thought

a mental process involving creative problem solving and the discovery of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the existing ideas or concepts, fueled by the process of either conscious or unconscious insight

creativity techniques

methods that promote original thoughts by facilitating divergent and/or convergent thinking

cultural intelligence

a competency and a skill that enables individuals to function effectively in cross-cultural environments

cultural racism

deeming another group’s culture as inferior, including its language


a structured argument in which participants speak for or against a pre-announced proposition

decision by expert

a method of group decision-making where the group defers to the member who has the most expertise or experience or to someone outside the group with the authority to make decisions

defensive communication

communication behavior which occurs when an individual perceives threat or anticipates threat in the group

delivery outline

an abbreviated version of the preparation outline

descriptive models

models of group development help us make sense of our group experiences by describing what might be 'normal' or 'typical' group processes. They reflect common patterns researchers have observed in groups

designated leaders

leaders who are officially recognized in their leadership role and may be appointed or elected by people inside or outside the group

directed brainstorming

a brainstorming technique that uses criteria to intentionally constrain the ideation process and involves writing and then exchanging ideas through multiple rounds to improve upon ideas

directive leadership

a leadership style in which the leader sets goals and performance expectations, lets organizational members know what is expected, provides guidance, establishes rules and procedures to guide work, and schedules and coordinates the activities of members


exploited and victimized in a variety of ways by agents of oppression and/or systems and institutions

electronic brainstorming

a brainstorming technique that relies on digital tools to collect ideas

emergent approach

an approach to studying leadership considers how leaders emerge in groups that are initially leaderless and how situational contexts affect this process

emergent leaders

leaders who gain status and respect through engagement with the group and its task and are turned to by others as a resource when leadership is needed. These leaders may not be officially appointed or elected as leaders but come to be seen as leaders by the group


Having control over resources in such a way that they can be used to reward and punish various people and having the ability to control barriers to participation through defining what we talk about and how we talk about it. It is a force that shapes shared consciousness through myths, ideology, and control of information

expert power

person A gains power because A has knowledge or expertise relevant to B

feminine cultures

cultures that tend to value nurturing, care and emotion, and are concerned with the quality of life

formative assessment

evaluating the meeting or activity prior to or as it takes place, allowing people to modify their behavior in response to its results

forming stage

a stage of group development in which group members experience uncertainty and seek to get to know each other


a presentation in which one or more experts may be questioned by a panel of other experts, journalists, and/or the audience

functional approach

an approach to studying leadership that focuses on how particular communication behaviors function to create the conditions of leadership

general norms

the generally accepted rules of behavior for all group members

group climate

the relatively enduring tone and quality of group interaction that is experienced similarly by group members

group cohesion

the degree to which group members identify with and like the group’s task and other group members

group passing technique

a brainstorming technique in which a person in a circular group writes down one idea, then passes the piece of paper to the next person in a clockwise direction who adds some thoughts and continues to to pass the paper to the next member. Ideas are built upon and make it all the way around the group before they are discussed out loud

group roles

expected behaviors or functions of group members

group socialization

the process of teaching and learning the norms, rules, and expectations associated with group interaction and group member behaviors


feelings of dread and discomfort experienced when confronted with the possibility of working in groups or teams


group pressure where members may remain silent and seek to avoid conflict and decisions are made based on the faulty assumption that the group is in agreement


the imaginary bag we all carry, into which we place unresolved conflicts or grievances over time leading to frustration and influencing how we interpret actions

high-context communication

a culture that emphasize nonverbal communication and indirect communication styles

high-power distance culture

culture tends to accept power differences, encourage hierarchy, and show respect for rank and authority

idea mapping method

a brainstorming technique that encourages associating or connecting words or ideas by creating network visualization

individualistic cultures

cultures that place greater importance on individual freedom and personal independence


is the process of both generating and applying creative ideas in some specific context

interactive writing platforms

platforms that have common documents stored on the Internet, which can be accessed from multiple sites at once


the degree to which group members share a common purpose and common outcomes


a group role that is associated with a high-status position and may be formally or informally recognized by group members


a complex of beliefs, communication patterns, and behaviors that influence the functioning of a group and move a group toward the completion of its task

legitimate power

person B submits to person A because B feels that A has a right to exert power in a certain domain

long-term orientation

cultures that focus on the future and delaying short-term success or gratification in order to achieve long-term success

low-context communication

a culture that emphasizes verbal expression and direct communication styles

low-power distance culture

cultures in which people relate to one another more as equals and less as a reflection of dominant or subordinate roles, regardless of their actual formal roles

maintenance roles

roles that function to create and maintain social cohesion and fulfill the interpersonal needs of group members

majority vote

a decision-making method where the decision is made by more than half of the group members agreeing

masculine cultures

cultures that tend to value assertiveness, and concentrate on material achievements and wealth-building


a written document that serves as a record of what happened in the meeting and can provide an opportunity for clarification

monochromatic time

an orientation to time where interruptions are to be avoided, and everything has its own specific time

negative roles

roles that can harm the group by either diverting attention away from the task at hand or making it difficult for the group to make progress

nominal group technique

a brainstorming technique where participants first write down their ideas before sharing them with the group

norming stage

a phase of group development when groups start to reach agreements, become more cohesive and establish ground rules (norms)


expectations of group members, established by the group and can be conscious and formal, or unconscious and informal

organizational communication

the study of the communication context, environment, and interaction within an organization


the deliberate exclusion from groups


a presentation format that consists of a group of experts publicly discussing a topic among themselves

participative leadership

a leadership style in which the leader consults with group members about job-related activities and considers their opinions and suggestions when making decisions

path-goal theory of leadership

a leadership theory and approach that suggests that an effective leader provides organizational members with a path to a valued goal

perception check

checking in with meeting participants to see if you’re interpreting nonverbal cues accurately

performing stage

a phase in group development when groups are operating at their peak with increased task effectiveness and problem solving


the frequency (high or low) of your voice

polychromatic time

an orientation to time where multiple things can be done at once and time is viewed more fluidly


power that is derived from a personal sense of strength or agency


A form of power associated with control or dominance over others


power derived from the collective power of the group. This is a power "not to command, but to suggest and be listened to, to begin something and see it happen" (Starhawk, 1987, p. 10)

presentation outline

a full-sentence outline of virtually everything the speaker intends to say. The outline allows the speakers to test the structure, the logic, and persuasive appeals in the speech

primary groups

long-lasting groups that are formed based on relationships and include significant others. These are the small groups in which we interact most frequently


the benefits, advantages and power that are gained based on status or membership in a dominant group

problem-solving process

involves thoughts, discussions, actions, and decisions that occur from the first consideration of a problematic situation to the goal

procedural-related functions

leadership behaviors that help guide the group as it proceeds from idea generation to implementation

punctuated equilibrium

a model of group development that suggests that in groups remain relatively static for long periods of time and then change occurs in brief, punctuated bursts, generally catalyzed by a crisis or problem that breaks through the systemic inertia

purpose statement

a clear, agreed outcome for the presentation


the emotional tone of your voice

question brainstorming

a brainstorming technique that involves generating questions rather than trying to come up with answers and short-term solutions


the way in which one member is or isn’t connected to other group members

referent power

person B looks up to or admires person A, and, as a result, B follows A largely because of A’s personal qualities, characteristics, or reputation

reflective thinking process

a five step process to aid in group problem solving involving (1) defining the problem, (2) analyzing the problem, (3) generating possible solutions, (4) evaluating solutions, and (5) implementing and assessing the solution

relational functions

leadership behaviors that contribute to creating a participative and inclusive climate, establishing norms of reflection and self-analysis, and managing conflict.

relational-oriented groups

groups formed to promote interpersonal connections and are more focused on quality interactions that contribute to the well-being of group members

reward power

person A has power over person B because A controls rewards that B wants

Ringlemann effect

identified by Ringlemann in 1913 the term refers to the tendency of individual productive to decrease as the size of a group increases. In other words, individuals tend to exert less effort when they are in a group than they would as individuals. This was one of the earlier observations of social loafing

role-specific norms

expectations that are specific to particular roles within a group

secondary groups

groups characterized by less frequent face-to-face interactions, less emotional and relational communication, and more task-related communication

self-centered roles

roles that divert attention from the task to the group member exhibiting the behavior. Examples include the central negative, monopolizer, self-confessor, insecure compliment seeker, and joker

shared mental model

knowledge, expectations, conceptualizations, and other cognitive representations that members of a group have in common pertaining to the group and its members, tasks, procedures, and resources

short-term orientation

focus on the near future, involves delivering short-term success or gratification and places a stronger emphasis on the present than the future

situational leadership

a theory and approach to leadership in which the leadership style or strategy varies based on the context as well as the motivation and competencies of group members

six thinking hats

a method of problem-solving developed by Edward de Bono that aims to help people get out of habitual ways of thinking and to allow group members to play different roles and see a problem or decision from multiple points of view

small group communication

interactions among three or more people who are connected through a common purpose, mutual influence, and a shared identity

social cohesion

the attraction and liking among group members

social comparison

the theory that people join with others to evaluate the accuracy of their personal beliefs and attitudes

social facilitation

the enhancement of an individual’s performance when that person works in the presence of other people

social knowledge

information about behavioral norms that guide interaction

social loafing

members who contribute less to the group than other members or than they would if working alone. Social loafers expect that no one will notice their behaviors or that others will pick up their slack

sociometer model

a conceptual analysis of self-evaluation processes that theorizes self-esteem functions to psychologically monitor of one’s degree of inclusion and exclusion in social groups


a person’s perceived level of importance or significance within a particular context

storming phase

a phase of group development marked by conflict as group members struggle to explore their power and influence within the group

summative assessment

evaluating the meeting or activity after it is completed

supportive leadership

a leadership style in which the leader demonstrates concern for the well-being and personal needs of organizational members

symbolic convergence

a theory developed by Bormann that our sense of group identity or group consciousness is developed over time through what he called 'fantasies,' or non-task related communication like inside jokes or stories


a presentation format that involves a series of short speeches, usually informative, on various aspects of the same general topic


the potential for gains in performance or heightened quality of interactions when complementary members or member characteristics are added to existing ones

systems of privilege and oppression

discriminate and advantage based on perceived or real differences among people

task cohesion

the commitment of group members to the purpose and activities of the group

task roles

group roles that contribute directly to the group’s completion of a task or achievement of its goal or purpose. Task-related roles typically serve leadership, informational, or procedural functions

task-oriented groups

groups formed to solve a problem, promote a cause, or generate ideas or information

task-related functions

leadership behaviors that contribute to providing, seeking, and evaluating information


task-oriented groups in which members are especially loyal and dedicated to the task and other group members


the process by which members of the team combine their knowledge, skills, abilities, and other resources through a coordinated series of actions to produce an outcome

technical knowledge

skills and information needed to complete a task

trait approach

an approach to studying leadership that distinguishes leaders from followers based on traits, or personal characteristics

transactional leadership

an approach to leadership that focuses on the leader and follower relationship in which the leader exchanges rewards and punishment for the follower's performance

transformational leadership

an approach to leadership that emphasizes the relationship between the leader and follower, with a focus on inspiring change in both the leader and the followers

Tuckman's model of group development

a descriptive model of group development developed by Tuckman that proposes groups move through five stages —forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning


a situation in which no one explicitly stated objections to a proposal or decision by the group. This is distinct from consensus where everyone explicitly supports the decision

uncertainty accepting cultures

cultures with a high tolerance for uncertainty, ambiguity, and risk-taking. The unknown is more openly accepted, and rules and regulations tend to be more lax

uncertainty-rejecting cultures

cultures with a low tolerance for uncertainty, ambiguity, and risk-taking. The unknown is minimized through strict rules and regulations

unproductive roles

group roles that prevent or make it more difficult for the group to make progress. Examples of these roles include the blocker, withdrawer, aggressor, and doormat

virtual teams

groups that take advantage of new technologies and meet exclusively or primarily online to achieve their purpose or goal

voice quality

the emotional tone of your voice, from happy and enthusiastic to serious or even sad


the loudness of your voice


collaborations on Web content that are created and edited by users

work group norm

a standard that is shared by group members and regulates member behavior within a group or organization


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Small Group Communication by Jasmine R. Linabary, Ph.D. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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