Individual refection on group work experience Essay Example

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7INDIVIDUAL REFLECTION ON GROUP WORK EXPERIENCE

Individual Reflection on Group Work Experience

Introduction

Working in groups is a useful approach of coming up with different views in order to solve problems. The degree of success or failure of a group depends on many factors. The functional theory of group communication highlights that communication is a useful factor that group members can use in order to make decisions and solve problems. Consequently, the manner in which the group members communicate determines whether they will attain their objective or not (Anyanwu, 2009, p103). I was involved in a group where my role was to research on rituals of death in different religions. I must confess that communication played a key role in influencing the outcome of our discussion. This paper will provide a reflection of my experience in the group.

Our first group meeting involved the allocation of roles for each group member. As argued by Cragan et al (2008, p42), in order for a group to be successful in attaining its objectives, the roles of each member have to be clearly known and communicated. We voted for a group leader, who was then accorded the task of allocating roles to the rest of the members. I was assigned the role of the facilitator.

As the facilitator, one of my responsibilities was to keep the group on track. I did this by ensuring that each group member did not deviate from our topic of discussion. As proposed by the functional theory, group members must commit themselves in making the best decision. Consequently, ascertaining that the group members follow the set objectives is important, in order to make good decisions (Anyanwu, 2009, p104). I therefore ensured that when any member was giving out their points, it had to be in line with the topic.

As the facilitator of the group, I was also in charge of guiding the discussion. In order to effectively guide the process of the discussion, I allocated each member adequate time in order for them to give out their points. In case of interruptions by another member, I recommended that each member should be patient until the person speaking finish giving out their points.

Leadership is a crucial element in groups. One of the leadership styles demonstrated in our group was the democratic leadership style. Democratic leadership is where the leader involves each member of the group in decision making, planning and also carrying out every activity of the group (Rivera, 2014, p1). Foremost, the process of assigning each member duties to undertake implied that democracy existed in our group and that each member was fully involved in the activities of the group. Also, democratic leadership was demonstrated by the fact that before any decision was reached or before any point was noted down, the group leader would inquire if all the members were in agreement with that particular decision. As the facilitator of the group, I also ensured that democracy existed in the group. I gave every group member an opportunity to give their points and thus enabling the equal participation of all members.

Although the democratic approach of leadership seemed beneficial for the group, essentially when each member is given an equal opportunity to give out their views and also to be involved in the decision making process, there were times when the leadership could take the Laissez-Faire approach. This occurred when some members would keep quiet and give their views only when they have been asked to do so. This basically implied that the members had begun to communicate when they felt like.

The points of consensus in the discussion included the fact that many religions have strong perspectives about the issues of life and death. The group took note of the fact that almost all the religions believed in the concept of an afterlife, reincarnation, heaven and hell and the soul. Christians believe that there is an afterlife. This belief differs among different denominations and individual Christians. Majority of the Christians, however, believe in the concept of heaven, whereby believers will enjoy the presence of God and they will be free from suffering and sin. Muslims on the other hand believe that the present life is only a preparation for the next realm of existence. For them death is just a movement from one world to another. Buddhists look at death as taking a break from this materialistic world. They believe in reincarnation, whereby once a person dies on the earth, he will be reborn to a new life on earth and the status of that life depends on the work he did before his previous death. In the context of the Chinese Culture, having a son is important. This is because a son brings to his parents continued life and eternity. According to Hinduism, death is regarded as a natural process. The Hindu religion is also grounded on the belief that the existence of soul is a separate entity. After death, Hindus are not buried, but cremated.

Conflict is an indispensible aspect in group communication. This is essentially because people usually hold different views. Although the systems theory of group communication emphasizes harmony and sees conflict as a destructive and abnormal occurrence, it is bound to occur in the context of a group (Anyanwu, 2009, p103). In our group, conflict did arise, for instance; before we agreed on the points that we were to present, a lot of conflicts did emerge. There was a section of members who did not approve certain points, however, at the end of the discussion we were able to agree and come up with comprehensive points that were good enough for the presentation. Conflict also arose from the fact that group members were from different religions, there were those who perceived certain views as offensive to their religion, however, after intense research we all came to a consensus.

I can clearly state that group think did not occur in the context of our group. Group think basically occurs when members of the group come up with decisions that are faulty. In addition, the members of the group tend to ignore good choices and disregarded good decisions (Rothwell, 2012). In the context of our group, all the decisions made were basically valid, though not all of them were suitable.

Conclusion

In conclusion, my experience of working in the context of a group was very beneficial. We were able to come up with valid points that assisted us in meeting our objective. Although conflict did arise during the discussion process, it can be stated that effective group communication played a vital role.

References

Anyanwu, N. (2009). Creative Strategies for Conflict Management & Community Building. Social Science. London: Author House. <http://books.google.co.ke/books?id=6utHsO- fSDEC&printsec=frontcover&dq=%29.++Creative+Strategies+for+Conflict+Manageme nt+%26+Community+Building&hl=en&sa=X&ei=XIqAU669O4qs7Qaj7wE&redir_esc= y#v=onepage&q=%29.%20%20Creative%20Strategies%20for%20Conflict%20Manage ment%20%26%20Community%20Building&f=false>.

Cragan et al. (2008). Communication in Small Groups: Theory, Process, and Skills. New York: Cengage Learning.<http://books.google.co.ke/books?id=agumW6xMC- wC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Communication+in+Small+Groups:+Theory,+Process,+% 09and+Skills&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nU-AU4iJF- ry7Aa8jICABA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Communication%20in%20Small%20Grou ps%3A%20Theory%2C%20Process%2C%20%09and%20Skills&f=false>

Rivera, A. (2014). Small group’s leadership training sessions. Christian Education Resources. Retrieved from <
http://www.receduc.com/index.php/christian-education/67-small- groups-leadership-training-sessions>

Rothwell, J. (2012). In Mixed Company: Communicating in Small Groups. Cengage Learning. <
http://books.google.co.ke/books?id=HCmxM2dWhcwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=In+M ixed+Company:+Communicating+in+Small+Groups&hl=en&sa=X&ei=cVCAU7Zv6Ob sBvfagcgL&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=In%20Mixed%20Company%3A%20Communic ating%20in%20Small%20Groups&f=false>