Group Process Assignment paper

Group Process Assignment
Part 2: Group Process Paper
Prepared by
Amanda Cunningham, MoMac L1
Prepared for
Julie Blaskivich
PBL Mo103
March 18, 2009
Amanda Cunningham
Group Process Assignment
Part 2: Group Process Paper
Introduction and Context
“It is a tragic fact that most of us only know how to be taught; we haven’t learned how to learn”
(Knowles, 1975, p. 14). As a group, the members of Mo103 have come together each Wednesday morning to
room 144 to learn how to not only learn effectively, but to teach each other as well. One particular Wednesday
morning in January, Julie videotaped the class. The taping took place at the same normal time, in the same place,
with most of the same people. We all took are places in the circle of tables and chairs in our small PBL room.
Julie placed the microphone in the middle of the circle, with the camera in the far corner opposite the door.
Normally we all sit in roughly the same place—comfort I guess, or maybe habit. On this day, Dave had to go and
sit in Stefan’s spot, thus throwing off the regularity of the group. Having never sat beside Stefan before, I was
pleasantly surprised as to how much less I was distracted then as if I were sitting by Dave, who normally finds his
way in my direction. The circle continued with Jessica, Krizza, Dave, Marissa—who was barely picked up by the
camera, Jennifer C., Sara, Erin, eventually Jen M., Tanya, and finally in front of the white board, Julie. There was
a gap, a hole in our group, with Waheeda being absent. We are typically an easy-going, relaxed group, but during
the filming we appeared posed, or presenting for the camera. My favourite part of the entire video happened right
at the beginning, with Krizza and all her wit breaking the ice with a not so funny joke. Just because the man said
something in Filipino does not make it comedy, but nonetheless Krizza can always make me laugh. The
organization of the class was fairly representative of other classes; we all came prepared with our homework to
present. One thing that was somewhat different was that Julie wrote on the board, which does not normally take
place during regular classes, unless we are discussing a case study. The video recording was an attempt to
measure how we work together on a regular basis; however, I do not feel that this was the case. The roles in
which we bring to class each week have become predictable and standard. The footage presented on the video
was not a completely accurate reading of that which happens regularly in class.
Group Theory/ Frameworks
Viewpoint I
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Viewpoint I: Development Areas, from Hedley Dimock’s book, How to Observe Your Group, can be
further broken down into: group climate, group involvement, group interaction, group cohesion, group
productivity, and relates the relationship among said dimensions (Dimock, 2007, p. 5).
Group climate, discussed on pages 5 and 6, “includes both the physical climate or setup and the emotional
climate, which can be equally important to the well-being and growth of the group” (Dimock, 2007). The
physical ambience should be welcoming. Welcoming and promoting of not only group members, but the effort
made to complete tasks and include everyone. It incorporates the seating of each member, the comfort of the
room as per lighting and ventilation, the closeness of how far each member is from one another, and generally
how motivating the room is. Perhaps more essential to the flow and stability of the group is the emotional
environment. This determines the overall feeling cast by the group. It should provide a welcoming, accepting,
safe, caring, mature, informal forum in order to promote trust and growth within the group. It lays out the
requirements and regulations set forth by the group (Dimock, 2007). Without a good, stable, and safe group
climate, members may fall in more then one aspect.
How well the group is involved is represented by the attraction of the members to the group (Dimock,
2007, p. 6). The stages of involvement are measured by why the group is getting together, the member’s
magnetism to the group, levels of commitment as well as personal needs of belonging being met by the group.
Determinants of group involvement also include but are not limited to: member tardiness, member absence,
turnover, lack of concentration, and lack of devotion. Group Involvement can be secured and even increased
through the use of positive feedback and encouragement of members. By using recognition, growth opportunities,
competition and even awards, the group members may become more involved (Dimock, 2007, pp. 5-6).
Group interaction refers to the interaction of the group members. If they interact well and often, it is more
likely that the group will succeed and flourish in its tasks. If one was to interact more with someone else in the
same group, there is more of a chance that they will be attracted to the same purpose, thus expanding not only
group interaction, but also group involvement. Interaction and the emotional ambience of the group are
interconnected. Those who feel safe and supported are more likely to interact with others, as opposed to those
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who feel neglected (Dimock, 2007, p. 6). It is important to feed the interaction of the group to promote other
areas of viewpoint I.
Feelings towards other members of the group are classified under group cohesion. Relationships and the
degree of said relationships are determined by how well the group members get along, know, acknowledge, listen
to, and comprehend each other. Cohesion of the group is closely linked to group climate, involvement, as well as
interaction. A cohesive group strives for the accomplishment of the group’s tasks and purpose. If however the
group gets along too well, they may be reluctant to let any new members into the group. This leads to a cessation
of growth and development for the group. Cohesiveness, nonetheless, pulls a group together and makes acquired
objectives possible (Dimock, 2007, pp. 7-8).
Finally, group productivity is the ultimate goal of any group. It exposes the work done by the group as a
cohesive, involved, interacting, group in a stable physical and emotional climate. Pride in the group is established
by the production of good work, cooperation, and incorporation of the ideas and concerns of each member. Group
productivity is also affected by member roles, such as leadership, and the division of all other roles within the
group (Dimock, 2007, p. 8).
All five of the aspects of Viewpoint I are interconnected and strive to produce a well networked,
cooperative, industrious, safe and supportive class. Once each facet has been analysed and assessed the specific
group dynamics can be outlined, presented, and compared to that of other groups.
Viewpoint II
Viewpoint II: Member Roles, from Hedley Dimock’s book, How to Observe Your Group, is broken down
into task roles, group-building roles, and individual, non-functional roles. Task roles include: defines problems,
seeks information, gives information, seeks opinions, gives opinions, and tests feasibility. Group-building roles
look at coordinating, mediating-harmonizing, orienting-facilitating, supporting-encouraging, and following. The
individual roles, which are considered by Dimock to be non-functional as group roles, are comprised of blocking,
out of field, and digressing (Dimock, 2007, pp. 9-10).
Task roles including, as mentioned above, defines problem, seeks information, gives information, seeks
opinions, gives opinions, and tests feasibility. Defines problems is when the issue within the group is outlined
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(Dimock, 2007, p. 80). Seeking information regards those asking questions for more information or clarification
(Dimock, 2007, p. 80). Gives information refers to those who give more factual information or attempts to clarify
the situation (Dimock, 2007, p. 80). Seeking and giving opinions are done by those who want to know what
others think and those who want others to know what they are thinking (Dimock, 2007, p. 80). Those who tests
feasibility are questioning the accuracy and realism of the suggestions of others (Dimock, 2007, p. 80).
Coordinating, mediating-harmonizing, orienting-facilitating, supporting-encouraging, and following are
all roles under the group-building and maintenance section. Coordinating is the clarification of statements in
order to cohesively glue statements together (Dimock, 2007, p. 80). Mediation-harmonizing can be portrayed by
the member who intercepts conflicts or incongruity; attempting to merge the two sides in similarities (Dimock,
2007, p. 80). The member who keeps the other members focused and driven towards the purpose of the session,
as well as suggests new or different ways to make the group even more prolific is the orienting-facilitating
member (Dimock, 2007, p. 80). The “mama-bear” of the group, or the supporting-encouraging member to be
more politically correct, is the member who is warm, kind, friendly, welcoming and supporting of others and
their ideas. They give praise often, and see that there is potential in all people and suggestions (Dimock, 2007, p.
80). “Patient and persistent, they gentle advise and guide, while they do what they can to make life run more
smoothly for all of us” (Rohm, 2000, p. 50). Lastly, following the rest of these group building and maintenance
roles ironically is the following role. One who goes along with what the rest of the group decides, simply
accepting what the other members suggest to be accurate and acceptable (Dimock, 2007, p. 80).
The non-functional, individual roles are all found on page 80 of Dimock. First of all there is blocking
which refers to someone who is constantly interfering with the group process and progression by arguing or
disagreeing. If the member is not involved in the process of the group, dreaming, fidgeting, not paying attention,
this is considered by Dimock to be out of field. Finally, digressing, straying off topic, or continually trying to
move the group towards your own “personally oriented direction” is considered to not be beneficial to the group
as a whole. (Dimock, 2007, p. 80).
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Some of the above roles are a little less evident in our recording but they are usually evident in most
groups, including ours on the off days we are not being filmed. The following paragraphs will look more in-depth
at the dynamics of our group both on and off DVD, pertaining to Dimock’s viewpoints and roles.
Application of the Frameworks: Data Presentation and Analysis
Viewpoint I: Developmental Areas
To observe the other members of our group I watched and re-watched the video. I will be applying the
data from page 79 in Hedley Dimock’s How to Observe Your Group to the information obtained from the video
(Dimock, 2007). All of the information and notes that I have taken from the video can be found in Appendix I of
this paper.
The climate on the day of the recording was not unlike that of any other PBL Wednesday morning. A
little added stress in the air, but the same room, good lighting, circularly arranged tables and chairs which
allowed for everyone to see each other. This however did not allow the camera to pick up everyone on film so it
appeared that Jenn M. and Marissa were not even there. The circle allows the out of field members to be evident,
as well as the absenteeism of Waheeda. Krizza made the setting informal with her “not as funny as she thought it
was” joke. Emotional climate was not supportive of a safe and warm environment, a place for which we can be
ourselves as there was a video camera and large microphone soaking up our every move and moan. It was clear
to me, subconsciously perhaps, that I needed to perform for the camera. Usually, however, the emotional climate
of our group is open, warm, safe, and accepting of everyone. There have been on occasion; incidents were I have
felt un-inclined to speak after other’s comments were not taken seriously. This has decreased the level of trust
and safety in the group all because one member’s, Jenn M., insensitive nature. This would lead to less of a chance
of the quieter members including: Krizza, Jennifer C., Tanya, Waheeda, and Marissa would want to speak up in
general, let alone in defence of their personal opinion or cares.
The video was not an accurate reading of how our group is involved on a regular basis. We had an absent
member, Waheeda, as well as a late member, Jenn M. I am quite sure that we have all at one point or another
been late; in fact I myself have missed a class last term. I felt thought that it was professionally and respectfully
handled. Involvement of group members in the activities requires more than just participation. I feel that most of
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our group is normally committed to the objectives, present, on time, and pay attention to the rest of the group.
However Jenn M. and more recently Tanya have been lacking in their attention and commitment to the group’s
The group interaction on the day of filming was a little less than normal, understandably if people were
shy to speak up in front of the camera. I was however elated and surprised to hear Jennifer C.’s opinion question
posed to the class. The video did not represent really represent how we normally present our topics and speak
among one another. For instance, Julie usually does not write on the board, I typically present first, Jennifer C. is
quiet, Sara normally has a story to share, and Jenn M. and Tanya are not involved—which ok, is the case. Stefan
says more then just “yah big” and “penicillin” and I have to tell Dave more than once that something is not
appropriate for class time.
The cohesive nature of our group in the video is quite accurate. This is not to say that there were not
disrespectful aspects. Such as Jenn M. being unapologetically late and talking and “fooling around” with Tanya
and Waheeda not being in the video all together. This is just unacceptable. I understand the issue with the
inclement weather, and I just don’t know how to address that, but the tardiness on video day and the distracting
whispers is just childish and not mature, nursing student status.
We did not produce the final product of supplying Beth Reid with all of the information that we could
have, had we video tapped the entire class. I was disappointed that my presentation of my work was not included,
as I worked, as I normally do, very hard on it. This also upset me because it now shows an unrealistic view of
how I am in the group on video. Overall though, I think we typically obtain our objectives during each class.
Some provide a little more than others through being more diligent with punctual homework posting, more indepth analysis and more input during group discussions.
Viewpoint II: Member Roles
From the video I did not feel as though anyone really defined the problem. Typically in class I feel that
we only define problems during evaluations. Seeking Information was done by Sara in the video. Those who
gave information in the video included: Marissa, Erin, Jessica, Jennifer C., and Stefan with his helpful
“penicillin” comment. Jennifer C. was the only one other than Julie to seek the opinions of the rest of us, and as
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always there was an abundance of opinions given by Erin, Dave, Sara, Jessica, and myself. None of us in the
DVD tested the feasibility of information except for Julie. The video did not represent me as the person that I
think that I bring to the group on a regular basis. I did not speak up as much as normally, I did not present my
homework first, and while I realize that I am not faultless and always having to speak first to be heard, I am just
stating that generally I do speak and present homework first. This was one of the issues I had with myself as a
group member. I did not want to make the DVD inaccurate. In the recording we all failed to represent the
coordinating, mediating-harmonizing, orienting-facilitating, and supporting-encouraging member roles. However,
Krizza, Marissa, Jennifer C., Jenn M., Tanya, and Stefan all took part in the following role, as they neglected to
give opinions and ideas to the group. At one time or another we all fit into this following role. As far as
individual roles only out of field was represented by Jenn M. and Tanya’s gossiping, distracted, daydreaming
demeanour. For a more in-depth look at how I compare the DVD group and the regular group, please refer to
Appendix I and Appendix II at the end of this paper.
Personal Application of Learning
Identify one personal learning need that is specific and can be clearly related to group performance.
I would like to expand my coordinating role. I feel that if I could somehow speak up when insensitive
comments are made, remembering that the comment made is someone’s opinion, no matter how insensitive and
clarify for the rest of the group what the person meant by what they said I think it could be beneficial. Maybe the
person is just being misunderstood, or simply just rude. We should not jump to conclusions though. If I could
give alternatives to insensitivity and show the rest of the group that they too can stand up for their opinions, then I
would feel as though I am incorporating more roles in my personality.
Describe one personal learning approach to be used to meet your learning need.
I think that by focusing on mutuality, which is defined as a “collaboration in problem solving” and “is
characterized by mutual respect for the autonomy and value system of the other” (Boggs, 2007, p. 124), and
always remembering that the other person is entitled to any opinion which they wish to have, I also am entitled to
my opinion and defending it. By keeping in mind the mutuality of group members, I can be respectful of the
insensitive, as well as defending not only myself but the rest of the group.
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Describe how you will measure a change in your behaviour to address your learning need.
Simply, I could only possibly measure a change in increasing my activeness as a group coordinator, by
how well or unwell situations of insensitive or rude comments are handled. If I feel confident that I helped expose
the underlying issues at play with members who are going against the grain of the group in order to help not only
them with any issues they are having, but coordinated and pull the group closer together I would be greatly
satisfied. The next time the opportunity presents itself, which it seems to often, I will try my best to ask the
person what they meant by what they said and see if I could help to clarify the situation at all.
After endlessly analyzing Dimock’s viewpoints I and II, I have concluded that during the video we were
not ourselves, as we play much bigger roles normally. We each bring that special and all important personal
member role to class each and every week. Some of us lead, at some point we will all follow, and a couple could
care less about the group dynamics all together. We are all in this together, while the DVD did not display this,
we all know how we are generally. Through my outline and my paper I have tried to voice my opinions about the
similarities and differences played out on film and in reality. We are a group, we all matter, whatever role we
play, however we are heard through blabbing on, speaking up first, telling personal stories, or just coming in late
and rustling papers as you whisper to your neighbour, nothing escapes the focus of the other members, nothing
and no one has gone unnoticed.
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Arnold, E.C., Boggs, K. U. (2007). Bridges and Barriers in the Therapeutic Relationship. In E. C. Boggs,
Interpersonal Relationships: Professional communication skills for nurse (5th ed. ,p. 124). St. Louis:
Saunders Elsevier.
Dimock, H. (2007). How to Observe Your Group (4th ed., pp. 5-12, 79-81). Concord, ON: Captus Press Inc.
Knowles, M. (1975). Self-Directed Learning. Parsippany: Globe Fearon. p 14.
Mo103. (2009, 01, 28). Group Process DVD. Hamilton, ON, Canada: Mohawk College.
Rohm, R. (2000). You've Got Style: Your personal guide for relating to others. Atlanta: Personality Insights Inc.