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Theories of the Communication Cycle and Group Formation



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    Theories of the communication cycle and group formation

    Michael Argyle – The communication Cycle
    Argyle thought that interpersonal communication was similar to driving a car, a skill that can be learned. The process of learning to drive involves the building up of understanding, the ability to listen, observation skills and being able to reflect on what the instructor may be trying to communicate. The communication cycle consists of; Ideas occurring – You have an Idea to communicate.

    The instructor thinks about what he is going to teach you first.

    Message coded –You consider the different ways of communicating your idea and put your idea into words, sign language etc. The instructor uses words to formulate his idea ‘’we shall learn what each part of the car does first’’ Message sent – You formulate your message in a way that you find appropriate. The instructor says it in a happy encouraging way. Message received – The other person receives your message and in this case hears what is communicated. The student hears what the instructor has said to them. Message Decoded – The person you’re communicating with tries to decode the message, they work out what manor it is being portrayed in, is it sarcasm, serious, a question… The student notices the happy and encouraging tone to the instructor’s voice. Message Understood – The receiver can now respond to what they understood. The student simply replies with ‘’ok’’ to show that they understand what they are going to do.


    Forming – stage 1
    The rest of the group depend on the leader for guidance and direction. . Individual’s roles and responsibilities are not clear at this point. The leader needs to be ready to answer a lot of questions about the team’s purpose and objectives. Members test tolerance of system and leader. Leader directs.

    Storming – stage 2
    Decisions are not made easily with in a group. Team members compete for positions as they try to establish themselves in relation to other team members and the leader. It becomes clearer to what purpose they are there for but there are still plenty of uncertainties Cliques form and there could be power struggles between members. The team has to be focused on its goals else it will not survive. Norming – stage 3

    Agreement and consensus forms among the majority of the team, who respond well to the leader. Roles and responsibilities are clear and accepted. Big and important decisions are made collectively by group agreement. Smaller decisions could be delegated to certain members or small groups within the team. Commitment to the team and a sense of unity is strong at this point. The team can now work together and get on with their purpose. Performing – stage 4

    The team now knows clearly why it is doing what it is doing. There is a focus on achieving its goals to the highest possible standard. Arguments and disagreements occur but are resolved positively. It is now possible to work towards the goal, and attend to relationships as well. Team members look after each other. The team needs to be delegated tasks and projects from the leader, but does not necessarily need to be assisted. Although members may ask for assistance from the leader by using Argyles communication theory. Adjourning – stage 5

    Tuckman’s fifth stage is the breaking-up of the group, hopefully when the task is completed successfully; everyone can now move on to new things. Recognition of sensitivity to member’s vulnerability is needed, especially if members have closely bonded and feel a sense of insecurity from the change.

    Theories of the Communication Cycle and Group Formation. (2016, Aug 24). Retrieved from

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