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COMPLEX PROBLEM-SOLVING IN GROUPS

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by CRAIG NEWBURGER
1st edition, September 1996, 173 pages, $22.95
ISBN 978-0-89641-294-6  Review Shopping Cart

 

Complex Problem-Solving in Groups was written for the undergraduate Small Groups courses at colleges and universities. It applies contemporary group theory and research to cases and examples of groups engaged in making decisions about complex problems of consequence to both group members and the communities they serve. The text focuses on practical applications of critical thinking as related to coordinated human endeavor.
Several chapters include sample cases and examples that emerged from group problem-solving graduate and undergraduate research papers written at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. One such paper involves an exclusive interview with previous White House Press Secretary Jody Powell regarding the decision-making process that resulted in the failed rescue mission to free American hostages held in Iran.
From ad hoc committees to self-directed teams meeting either face-to-face or through electronically-mediated communication, this text offers examination of basic group communication concepts with subsequent applications to "real world" scenarios.

Contents

Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION TO SMALL GROUP INTERACTION
What is small group discussion?
Temporary groups
Ongoing groups
Electronically mediated meetings
Summary
Glossary
References

Chapter 2: A SYSTEMS VIEW OF SMALL GROUP INTERACTION
Human input variables
Nonverbal input variables
Throughput variables
Summary
Glossary
References

Chapter 3: CENTRALIZED AND DECENTRALIZED DECISION-MAKING
Simple and complex problem-solving
Considering alternatives: Entropic and redundant decision-making
Summary
Glossary
References

Chapter 4: STATUS AND POWER AND DECISION-MAKING
Status
Power
Summary
Glossary
References

Chapter 5: LEADERSHIP
Traits
Styles
Situational leadership
Functional leadership
Leader and follower needs
Leadership and communication structure
Summary
Glossary
References

Chapter 6: GROUPTHINK
The blind majority and the dominant minority
Case for Devil's Advocacy: Cohesiveness, conflict and stress
Recommended video exercises
Summary
Glossary
References

Chapter 7: RUMORS
External sources of centralization
Interventions
Summary
Glossary
References

Chapter 8: LANGUAGE
Language and centralization
Language and meaning
Summary
Glossary
References

Chapter 9: SYSTEMATIC PROBLEM-SOLVING
Alternative problem-solving and decision-making techniques
Standard agenda
Summary
Glossary
References

About the Author

Craig Newburger teaches in the Communication Department at the University of Cincinnati. He has served as editor for the Basic Communication Course Annual for 1994, 1995, and 1996.

 

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