Group observation

Observing a group allows for one to identify the behaviors and relationships of participating members. Every movement, response, verbal and nonverbal communication is taken into account for to distinguish how each member feels about certain topics and discussions. When observing a primary group, the observer is dealing with an abundant amount of personal and shared relationships among the members.

These members are involved in this group to merely socialize, there is no common threshold for the members and so the communication is disorganized and informal. Secondary groups extend to a vast majority of small groups, including committees, activity groups, self-help groups etc. The members of secondary groups are involved in the group to complete a task and therefore their communication is organized and the relationships among members are less personal, temporary and roles amongst members are interchangeable. The group observed was a man’s soccer team, which constitutes as a secondary group because it is an activity and hobby that is commonly shared by its teammates and/or members. The men on this team all participate in this sport and participate as a whole group because they believe in teamwork. In order to fulfill the hopeful outcome (score goals and win), the members must work together as a whole.

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Ethical behaviors are a must for a soccer team. Without ethical behavior the teammates would constantly argue, therefore directly affecting the whole team and the team’s victories and its season as a whole. The guiding principles were clearly evident and important aspects of each individual player during the observation. Clearly evident was the guiding principle that all members must contribute their fair share to the group’s effort. If all members of the team were to not contribute equally then the equilibrium of the team would be off. Those playing too much would be exhausted, while those not playing would be hyper and overaggressive to fellow teammates. In order to maintain the poise of the team, there must be an impartial amount of contributions from each teammate. The teammates that were observed all contributed proportionate playing time and proportionate feedback toward one another and toward the coaches, to ensure they were listening to what others had to say. Another guiding principle observed was that which states, group members should always treat one another with respect. A sports team or a club of any sort that has no respect will ultimately fail in the end. Respect for others is the key to success in all that one will do in life. The players observed congratulated fellow players and opposing players on exceptional plays. By having respect for themselves individually, fellow teammates, and opposing teammates, the team had a positive and healthy environment.

Teammates did interact amongst one another throughout the observation via verbal and nonverbal communication, however not all of the communication was intentional. There were some specific times in which what was communicated to other teammates, was not meant to be communicated the way it appeared.

A teammate, number 17, was late coming on to the field. This may have communicated to his team and the opposing team that he was not going to take the game seriously. Also this may have also communicated that he thought he was good enough to be late, that he had all the time in the world and everyone would wait for his arrival. Everything can be interpreted as something, even silence (Galanes 2013). However, most of the communication witnessed clearly defined the goals and purposes of the team. While there were one or two exceptions of unintentional communication, one common and well communicated thread among all members was the reason they were participating as a whole. This reason was to overcome challenges, communicate verbally and nonverbally on the field and to score goals to achieve victory as a team.

The principle of communication involving symbolism can be seen frequently in a soccer game. The names of the positions is just one example of symbolic language in the game. The positions can be misconstrued very easily with names such as; forward, midfield, defense, wing back, center back, sweeper and goalie. A coach yelling out positions without clarifying the number of the player is hectic for the team. But for someone with no knowledge of the game, they are hearing “forward” and thinking one of the players has to move up. The language of the game is unique and it becomes even more unique once a team member.

The teammates were excellent listeners and even better when it came time to respond and act on what they had been told. The coach (an action- oriented speaker and listener) gave suggestions to each player going on the field and changed the plays often to obtain goals. The players listened carefully to directions and suggestions and when it came time, they acted accordingly to what the coach had told them. Like in all groups however, the 4 listening preferences were witnessed among the team members. Action- oriented listeners were those that paid no mind to anything but the coach when he was speaking, and helped keep the main task in mind for the rest of the group by using motivational language.

These listeners were participating in the game in order to complete the task of winning, in spite of this, they often interrupted fellow teammates when they wanted to contribute to discussions about the game. The only other clearly identifiable listener were the people-oriented listeners. There were not many teammates with this type of listening preference, yet those that did show behaviors relating to this preference were attentive to the coach as well but were also chatty on the field and on the sideline. They conversed and joked around, and did not take the game as serious as the action-oriented listeners did. One downfall of these kind of listeners is that they may become too preoccupied by others and their problems to concentrate on the task ahead of them.

Nonverbal behavior is seen very frequently throughout the two halves of the game. It is seen among players, coaches, fans, and opposing teammates. Whether its appearance, backchanneling, dialect, facial expressions or movements, each are a contribution to the nonverbal message that is to be perceived. Movement can be one of the most frequent nonverbal communication, referees use movements and hand motions to distinguish goals, foul play and starts of new plays. These movements and hand signals are notorious among all soccer players. Facial expressions can also express signs of excitement, anger or disappointment. These facial expressions made by coaches, teammates, the fans and the visiting team can express without words how he/she is feeling about the games progress.

The soccer team can be identified as an open system. Frequently associating with other teams, the soccer team observed also utilizes resources and information to better their playing skills. Both of which are examples of interacting freely with the environment (Galanes 2013). The specific number of members on the team, the diversity among the team, the motives for playing, practicing as a whole and the skills utilized to execute triumph are the components better known as the input variables. Input variables for the soccer team also include resources such as knowledge and expertise on the game being played. Input variables connect members and transform the motives into final outcomes and solutions over time.

The roles and behaviors of members, as well as communication and socialization of members define the throughputs of the soccer team. Throughputs are what develop the inputs into outputs. The roles and behaviors are key to a group in evolving and achieving their final outcome. By communicating and socializing among one another (whether verbal or nonverbal), the soccer team acts as a whole unit on the field and perform certain tasks to score goals. Output variables are better known as the final outcome or the resulting product.

On a soccer field, the output variables are the achievements made by certain players because the team acted as a collaborating unit. Over time, members that develop self-confidence or strengthen their commitment to the team are also examples of output variables. While diversity among members provides “a wide pool of talent and viewpoints…this diversity may also create difficulties as members try to define problems, share information, and handle interpersonal conflicts” (Organizational Behavior, 95). However, the cultural diversity amid the soccer team was not as prominent in certain aspects. The gender of all players is male (men’s soccer team), the races are predominantly Caucasian, Hispanic and a few African American players. The socio-economic class was not clarified, because there were no distinct features that elaborated on this specific diverse trait; due to uniforms and constant courteous manners performed by all team members. With certain diverse aspects added to the team, there were equal amounts of positive and negative factors observed due to the slight diversity. Positive factors include the team’s ability to understand and respect other cultures and the cultures traditions and mannerisms. Negative factors were vividly observed by the other team, with the slight use of name slurs describing the diverse races of the home team.

Members of the team each took on specific roles as the game progressed. The members who held a somewhat higher role (e.g., captains) seemed to have a certain trait of being pompous at times and not doing what was told of them immediately. This attitude could easily be observed by fans as well, because the captain, standing along the sidelines, seemed to be mimicking or acting as a coach at times. While it is one thing to give suggestions to teammates, it is quite another when the captain is yelling at a teammate for a wrong pass. There were a few other behaviors observed along the sidelines, but the instance with the captain was the most memorable. The group culture as a whole was very social with one another, especially after the game. They congratulated one another on good plays and hugged once they scored the winning goal. The rules and norms of this team were to act as a unit and perform as one as well. Without the principles of communication, a team like this would often be devastated due to the amount of loses in the season. This male soccer team provided an extreme degree of support and teambuilding toward one another, before and after the game. Observing this soccer team provided a deep sense of knowledge in noting the amount of communication it takes to achieve goals with a group of 15 and more team members.

Works Cited
1) Galanes, G (2013) effective group discussion. New York, NY McGraw –Hill Companies Inc. 2) Thompson, Leigh, Eileen Aranda, and Stephen P. Robbins. Tools for Teams. Boston: Pearson, 2000. 3) Boiney, Lindsley G. Ph.D. “Gender Impacts Virtual Work Teams: Men Want Clear Objectives While Women Value Communication” The George L. Graziadio School of Business Management, Pepperdine University. 2001.

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