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The relationship between cohesiveness and productivity in small, leaderless, discussion groups Stokes, Rosemary

Abstract

The present study was designed to investigate the relationship between cohesiveness and productivity in small groups. A review of the pertinent literature revealed various approaches to the problem and conflicting findings concerning it. This study was confined to investigating such a relationship in a leaderless, discussion-type setting. Groups representative of three degrees of cohesiveness were investigated. The three types of groups were as follows: "Highly structured", -a group in which each member is chosen by every other member, and all choices are confined within the group. (All choices were made on a sociometric basis.) "Semi-structured", -a group in which the majority of members choose other members, but the majority of choices are not mutual, and all choices are not confined within the group. "Unstructured", -a group in which no choices occur within the group. On the basis of findings from other studies conducted in similar settings two hypotheses were advanced: 1. That a group which is either partially or highly structured will be more productive in carrying out a working project than a group which is relatively unstructured. 2. That a semi-structured group will be more productive in carrying out a working project than a highly structured group. The study was carried out at a summer camp consisting of seventy-one girls aged twelve to fourteen. From the camp groups of four girls each were chosen to represent the three degrees of cohesive-ness listed above. These groups were equated as far as possible for age, motivation, and social acceptance. Each group was asked to prepare and present an original skit. Group interaction was observed in order to gain fuller and more comprehensive data concerning the relationship under investigation. Group productivity was assessed by means of judges’ ratings of the performances. These ratings indicated a direct relationship between cohesiveness and productivity in this experiment, such that the more cohesive a group the greater its productivity. Analysis of the interaction data suggested that productivity was also affected by time and by the type of interaction present, both of which may or may not be related to cohesiveness. Further investigation is indicated.

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