Roles and Small Group Communication
A role is a pattern of behavior expected of a group member.
Formal or designated roles — positions or titles given to a person by the group or larger organization.
Informal or emergent roles — a person in the group begins to assume behaviors expected of the group without being given a specific title.
Three types of roles:
2. Maintenance roles
3. Disruptive or individual agenda roles
Examples of Task Roles
1. Leader – helps the group define and achieve goals.
2. Initiator – contributor: Offers ideas and suggestions.
3. Opinion seeker — requests info
4. Information giver
5. Secretary – recorder
6. Devil’s advocate – prevents “group think”
Examples of Maintenance roles
1. Supporter – encourager — provides emotional warmth, praise and acceptance
2. Harmonizer – tension reliever — promotes group peace, uses humor, reconciles conflict
3. Gatekeeper — controls channels of communication and flow of information using openness and supportiveness
4. Feeling expresser — monitors feelings and moods of the group and gives feedback.
Examples of Disruptive Roles
1. Stagehog — recognition seeker
2. Isolate –– withdraws from the group
3. Clown (Playboy/playgirl) — horseplay, practical jokes, comic routines that goes beyond tension reliever.
4. Blocker –– opposes everything new.
5. Fighter — starts arguments, bullying.
6. Cynic — displays sour outlook, destroys morale.