The Socialsense blog has been created to support the SACE Society and Culture classes at Thebarton Senior College (TSC )in South Australia. It contains resources, thoughts and learning materials for the courses. SACE Society and Culture courses have been designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore, analyse, consider and discuss the complexities and interconnections of our societies and cultures in the Australian and Global context.
As mentioned this week in class, one of the reasons for the interest and dominance of Reality TV on our screens at the moment is the fascination people have with how groups operate and how people act in groups. As an individual we play many roles in our life depending on what group/s we participate in at any one time. Many of us play quite different roles, depending on whether it is a family, social, work or recreational type of group. In groups we acquire informal roles of being a leader, others we may be the organiser, joker, information givers, disgruntled etc
The purpose of this posting on group theory is to give some guidance to help you observe the informal roles individuals play in groups, in particular, the group you have joined to undertake the Groups Task assessment item for the course. These informal roles are in addition to the formal roles of leader, recorder, time-keeper and reporter we discussed in the 'Setting up the Group" posting.
The following are group roles which relate to the completion of the group's task. They are:
Information-seeker: Asks for information about the task.
Opinion-seeker: Asks for the input from the group about its values.
Information-giver: Offers facts or generalization to the group.
Opinion-giver: States his or her beliefs about a group issue.
Elaborator: Explains ideas within the group, offers examples to clarify ideas.
Coordinator: Shows the relationships between ideas.
Orienter: Shifts the direction of the group's discussion.
Evaluator-critic: Measures group's actions against some objective standard.
Energizer: Stimulates the group to a higher level of activity.
Initiator-contributor: Generates new ideas.
Social Roles (Helping behaviour)
Groups also have members who play certain social roles. They are:
Harmonizer: Mediates differences between group members.
Compromiser: Moves group to another position that is favored by all group members.
Gatekeeper/expediter: Keeps communication channels open.
Standard Setter: Suggests standards or criteria for the group to achieve.
Group observer: Keeps records of group activities and uses this information to offer
feedback to the group.
Follower: Goes along with the group and accepts the group's ideas.
Encourager: Praises the ideas of others.
Individualistic Roles (Dysfunctional behaviour)
These roles place the group member above the group and are destructive to the group. They are:
Blocker: Resists movement by the group.
Recognition seeker: Calls attention to himself or herself.
Self-confessor: Seeks to disclose nongroup related feelings or opinions.
Dominator: Asserts control over the group by manipulating the other group members.
Help seeker: Tries to gain the sympathy of the group.
Special interest pleader: Uses stereotypes to assert his or her own prejudices.
Aggressor: Attacks other group members, deflates the status of others, and other
During the Group Task every member will be asked at least once to step outside of the group for a short time and become an observer and usethe 'Group observation' worksheetto 'map' the nature of the participation and decision making in the group.