Reflecting on the Links of our Chain

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This blog was created with the purpose to write about my thoughts in relation to the chapters of A Systems Approach to Small Group Interactions, which was the textbook used for my Small Group Communication class. From one chapter to the next I feel as though I was able to connect the dots more and more to my own life experiences with groups and interactions that I’ve encountered with individuals both present and past.

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Biting the Bullet: Accepting the Solutions to our Problems

In A Systems Approach to Small Group Communication, Chapter 8 is about consequences and finding solutions to our problems. I’d like to start my apologizing to my audience of followers in that this blog post is a day or two late. It’s been a rough week where I have been getting slammed with one problem after a next. My hands are shaking as I type this because I’m on the verge of a breakdown. I am at a point in my college career where I am finally taking classes in my major and doing what I thought I love just to realize that I’ve spend time here and I’m not sure if I even want to continue forward. I’m a semester behind and I don’t even care about graduating anymore. I never wanted to go to college anyway. So reading Chapter 8 last week on Thursday night made me realize that I might need to take some time off. Here is why.

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“Hello, Small Group. What’s happening?”

“Yeah, hi small group. It’s Brittany Rosario again. Uhhh, I just wanted to make sure that you knew about conflict management. So if you could just read this blog below, that would be greeeat.”

This week’s blog relates to Chapter 7 of A Systems Approach to Small Group Communication, which focuses on conflict management. Conflict is an unintentional part of communication. However, we all know what can happen when conflict isn’t managed well and things get out of hand. In this chapter, we study the causes of conflict, the wants and needs of conflict, types of conflict and methods for managing conflict to get a resolution.

I decided to relate the key points in this chapter about conflict management to the 1999 movie, Office Space. If you’ve never seen or heard of this film, please take a moment to watch the trailer below to get a better idea of what it is about.

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Social Conformity & Why it doesn’t work

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Some people are leaders (influencers), while others are followers (influencees). Of course, in either situation we can identify cliques, a small group of people with shared interests, who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them because they have a special sense of belonging. An even greater way to create a sense of belonging is by having group norms that the people of that particular group must follow.

According to Wood, Phillips, and Pedersen (P. 252), norms are “standardized patterns of belief, attitude, communication, and behavior within groups.” When actually the term norms is used a reference to the written and unwritten codes that identify acceptable behavior (P.253).

In the popular 2004 movie, Mean Girls,  “The Plastics” have a list of group norms:

Rule 1. What you can and can’t wear or how you style your hair during the week.

Rule 2. Be considerate of the group

Rule 3. Dressing in a sexy costume on Halloween instead of something scary, drinking at a party together, and looking for guys to hang out with

Rule 4. Being overly self conscious about the way you look physically but yet comforting each other with positive words (“Oh my god, what are you talking about?” “You’re so skinny”)

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Territoriality! Don’t Take It Personally.

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According to Chapter 4 of, A Systems Approach to Small Group Interaction, (p. 174) there is a term called territoriality. It was originally coined by Edward Hall to describe ‘the tendency for humans and other animals to lay claim to lay claim and defend a particular area or territory.’ It has been estimated that college students begin to identify a particular seat in the class as “their chair” by as early as the second class period. This becomes their personal space, a portable space bubble of about 18 inches in each direction.

If you have never seen, Big Bang Theory, here is a introductory clip related to personal space. Basically the blonde woman sitting in the chair explaining ‘Sheldon’s Space’ is Penny, a hopeful actress and Sheldon is the anal physicist that’s standing at the fridge door. Continue reading “Territoriality! Don’t Take It Personally.”

“…Like A Girl”

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There’s always been a particular complication between the genders. Men are said to be more athletic and stronger emotionally than women. Women are said to be THE irrationally emotion creatures of our species. But there are many cases when things like this aren’t always the case. I’ve met overly emotional men before, just as I’ve met women who are strong minded and think practically. I’d like to compromise and say that no one is perfect. We are all humans who have good and bad days, which can affect our behavior. I’d also like to make the case that many women are misrepresented in our society which can cause complications when working together in society.

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Namaste: The Positive Energy of Communication

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I’m not very religious in the sense that I haven’t chosen a specific belief system. However, I do practice spiritually through meditation. Over the years I’ve realized how valid the phrase, there is life and death in the tongue is. A phrase that actually comes from the bible scripture, Proverbs 18:21 quoted in the New King James Version as, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Communicating in groups with people we may or may not know everything about can really show how we give people life through our positive ideas and energy to motivate them, as well as, how we can put their thoughts to shame and cause death to what could have been a great idea which leads to discouraging energy and regret.

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Teamwork makes the dream work… Yeah Right!

“Teamwork makes the dream work…” So they say. I am not a big fan of working in groups. I’m one of those people who believes that, yes, we do need teamwork to get certain things accomplished and create a dream work. To invent something innovative and original. To be greater than everyday life. To do something that really impacts society and the world. There are those instances. However, most people don’t actually know the rest of this quote by John C. Maxwell, a man who was named the number one leadership and management expert in the world by Inc. Magazine; ends with “…but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.”

When professors used to assign group projects I wanted to run for the hills because I am the type of person who normally doesn’t wait until the last minute to get things done. I get the assignment on day one and work on it over the weekend or any break that I get in between that date and the due date. If you asked me what I was doing for spring break or labor day I would’ve said, “Studying”. I am very disciplined, especially when it came to my academics. However, everyone has their own way of getting work done and I may not always vibe with individuals who aren’t like me. With that in mind, how is it that I always seem to get stuck in groups with procrastinators? It’s basically academic homicide.

Referring to the text, A Systems Approach to Small Group Interaction, what is small group interaction? Well first, let’s note that there are five considerations that go into identifying a group, listed below:

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