ROLE FUNCTIONS IN GROUP DISCUSSIONS
 
     The members of an efficient and productive discussion group
must provide for meeting two kinds of needs--what it takes to do
the job, and what it takes to strengthen and maintain the group.      
What members do to serve group needs may be called functional roles.
Statements and behaviors which tend to make the
group inefficient or weak may be called nonfunctional roles.
     Here is a list of the kinds of contributions which are
performed by one or several group members:
 
I.   TASK ROLES (functions required in selecting and carrying out
     a group task, given below in sequence).
 
     A.   Initiating: Getting things started, suggesting new
          ideas, suggesting new definitions of the problem,
          trying a new attack on the problem, or introducing new
          material.
     B.   Giving and asking for information: Offering facts or
          generalizations, sharing understanding of a topic,
          giving information freely, soliciting everyone's input,
          gathering information.
     C.   Giving and asking for reactions: Stating opinions and
          reactions, sharing feelings about what has been said,
          getting reactions from all group members, seeking
          clarification of values, suggestions or ideas.
     D.   Restating and giving examples: By restating, the
          presenter of the original idea gets feedback; restating
          clarifies ideas. Examples reinforce meaning and aid
          understanding, they aid in the search for accurate
          statements of and understanding of an idea. 
     E.   Confronting and reality testing: Challenging ideas and
          information. Often groups allow misinformation and
          misstatements to pass by out of politeness. Learning
          takes place when ideas are challenged (politely, of
          course). Try to envision how a proposal might work if
          adopted, how an idea will work in the real world.
     F.   Clarifying, synthesizing and summarizing: Clarifying
          ideas and previous statements, pulling together related
          ideas or suggestions after the group has discussed
          them. Clarifying, synthesizing and summarizing help
          provide closure.
 
II.  GROUP BUILDING AND MAINTENANCE ROLES (functions required in
     strengthening and maintaining group life and activities).
 
     A.   Encouraging and sponsoring: Being friendly warm,
          responsive to others, praising other for their ideas,
          agreeing with an accepting contributions of others,
          encouraging all members to contribute, sponsoring ideas
          of others, especially those who may be less aggressive
          in speaking out.
 
III. Gatekeeping and timekeeping: Trying to make it possible for
     another member to make a contribution to the group by
     saying, "We haven't heard from Jim yet," or suggesting
     limited talking time for everyone so that all will have a
     chance to be heard, limiting discussion on a topic to an
     agreed-upon time limit.
     A.   Standard setting: Expressing standards for the group to
          use in choosing its content or procedures or in
          evaluating its decisions, reminding the group to avoid
          decisions which conflict with group standards.
     B.   Following: Going along with decisions of the group,
          thoughtfully accepting ideas of others, serving as
          audience during group discussion.
 
IV.  BOTH GROUP TASK AND MAINTENANCE ROLES
 
     A.   Evaluating: Submitting group decisions or accomplish-
          ments to comparison with group standards, measuring
          accomplishments against goals.
     B.   Diagnosing: Determining sources of difficulties, ap-
          propriate steps to take next and analyzing the main
          blocks to progress.
     C.   Testing for consensus: Tentatively asking for group
          opinions in order to find out whether the group is
          nearing consensus on a decision, sending up trial
          balloons to test group opinions.
     D.   Mediating: Harmonizing, conciliating differences in
          points of view, making compromise solutions.
     E.   Relieving tension: Draining off negative feeling by
          jesting or pouring oil on troubled waters, putting a
          tense situation in a wider context.
 
V.   TYPES OF NONFUNCTIONAL BEHAVIOR
 
     A.   Being aggressive: Working for status by criticizing or
          blaming others, showing hostility against the group or
          some individual, deflating the ego or status of others.
     B.   Blocking: Interfering with the progress of the group by
          going off on a tangent, citing personal experiences
          unrelated to the problem, arguing too much on a point,
          rejecting ideas without consideration.
     C.   Self-Confessing: Using the group as a sounding board,
          expressing personal, nongroup-oriented feelings or
          points of view.
     D.   Competing: Vying with others to produce the best idea,
          to talk the most, to play the most roles, to gain favor
          with a leader.
     E.   Seeking sympathy: Trying to induce other group members
          to be sympathetic to one's problems or misfortunes,
          deploring one's own situation, or disparaging one's own
          ideas to gain compliments or support.     
     F.   Special pleading: Introducing or supporting suggestions
          related to one's own pet concerns or philosophies,
          lobbying.
     G.   Horsing around: Clowning continually, joking, mimicking
          and otherwise disrupting the work and progress of the
          group. 
     H.   Seeking recognition: Attempting to call attention to
          one's self by loud or excessive talking, extreme ideas,
          unusual behavior.
     I.   Withdrawing: Acting indifferent or passive, not par-
          ticipating, daydreaming, whispering to others.
 
VI.  IMPROVING GROUP PERFORMANCE
 
     A.   Limit the group to between five and nine members--five
          is ideal.
     B.   Seek members with diverse personality traits and back-
          grounds to gain the benefits of diverse opinions and
          perspectives.
     C.   Don't be afraid of conflict--"from heat comes light."
          Spirited exchange of opinions is desirable; infighting
          and personal attacks are counterproductive.
 
     PRACTICE THE FOLLOWING:
 
     * Sponsoring other members.
     * Giving encouragement and approval.
     * Formulating and citing examples.
     * Asking questions.
 
VII. LIST OF CRITERIA FOR EFFECTIVE GROUPS
 
     A.   Action orientation--they get things done.
     B.   Prevalence of a nonthreatening group climate.
     C.   Learning is accepted as the raison d'etre of the group.
     D.   Everyone participates and interacts.
     E.   The material is adequately and efficiently covered.
     F.   Evaluation is accepted as an integral part of the group
          operation (i.e., no one gets defensive).
     G.   Members attend regularly and come prepared.
 
VIII.     BIGGEST PROBLEMS HINDERING GROUP EFFECTIVENESS
 
     A.   Groupthink: Everyone suppresses their real views to
          maintain group harmony and indicates that the group and
          all of its ideas are wonderful, and that competitors
          are stupid.
     B.   Lack of clear goals: No one knows what they're there
          for.
     C.   Star complexes: Vying for the spotlight.
               D.   Wallflowers: Noncontributors               
 
RULES FOR MAKING MEETINGS EFFECTIVE
 
I.   AGENDA INTEGRITY: All items on a meeting agenda should be
     discussed, and items not on the agenda should not be
     discussed. If agenda integrity is maintained, people will
     read and respect a meeting's agenda.
 
II.  TIME INTEGRITY: Begin on time and end on time--absolutely no
     exceptions. By waiting to start a meeting until everyone is
     present, you reward people for being late--forget being
     polite. Start on time even if it means starting alone. End
     precisely on time, and always state in the agenda what time
     frames are so everyone knows. Also, time integrity means
     sticking to the time allotted to discuss items. If you can't
     get closure, table the item and go to the next item on the
     agenda.
 
III. THE FRACTION RULES:
 
     A.   The Rule of Halves: No item can be entered on the
          agenda unless is has been given to the person who
          schedules the agenda items one-half of the time between
          meetings. This gives everyone enough time to plan and
          arrange agenda items and get them distributed in time
          for review, which is one of the most important ways to
          get intelligent participation in a meeting--making sure
          everyone has time to and is prepared for the meeting. 
     B.   The Rule of Three Quarters: Agenda items should be
          distributed at the three-quarters point between
          meetings. The agenda should be distributed with any
          material required for effective preparation (including
          minutes of previous meetings, if minutes are involved).
     C.   The Rule of Thirds: Break meetings up into three parts.
          In the first one-third, handle minutes, make announce-
          ments and get one or two moderately easy items out of
          the way to get the group in a pattern of successful
          accomplishment. Schedule a moderately difficult item
          and the single most difficult and lengthy item in the
          middle third of the meeting (in this third of the
          meeting psychological focus, alertness, attention and
          attendance are all at their peaks). If the meeting is
          to run longer than one-and-a-half hours, give partici-
          pants a brief break at the two-thirds point. In the
          final third of the meeting schedule For-Discussion-Only
          (FDO) items and schedule the easiest item as the very
          last item on the agenda in order to end on a positive,
          successful note.
               FDO items help release tensions and provide the
          opportunity for the ventilation of feelings and
          discussion of political orientations and ramifications.
          Two techniques to use during these discussions are the
          straw vote (an unofficial testing of the waters) and
          the in-principle notion (an agreement on a general
          orientation).
 
IV.  RULES FOR A MEETING HEAD
 
     A.   Plan the meeting properly (remember the Rule of Frac-
          tions).
     B.   Insure agenda and temporal integrity.
     C.   Facilitate and clarify discussion.
     D.   Remain objective and impartial.
     E.   Move the discussion along.
     F.   Get closure on items whenever possible.
     G.   Bring the discussion to a close.
 
V.   RULES ABOUT FOOD
 
     A.   Allow coffee.
     B.   Provide refreshments at break time.
     C.   The less food, the more work that gets done.
     D.   Use food as a reward, available only after, never
          during a meeting.
 
VI.  RULES FOR BETTER PARTICIPATION
 
     A.   Emphasize the agenda.
     B.   Focus on decisions to be reached or items to be
          clarified.
     C.   Target discussion.
     D.   Orchestrate comments.
     E.   Keep an open mind.
     F.   Draw out silent members.
     G.   Temper overbearing members' output.
 
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