Different communication scenarios come with different benefits and challenges. This is certainly true of the differences between group communication versus individual communication. Individual communication comes with the benefit of having the one-on-one interaction with another, in which case, there is a greater opportunity for both parties to take part in active listening. There are, of course, distractions that can occur in these interactions which take away from the benefits; however, it can be much easier to single out the distractions and remove them.
In groups there is a greater chance for more distractions. Anything from side conversations, to more people using phones, instant messenger, or email adds the potential for additional distractions. More importantly as shown by Baack (2012) (as cited in Von Bergen & Kirk, 1978) “groupthink” becomes a major detractor in groups as “the group self-censors information, and it fails to perform effectively within organizational confines” (sect. 9.2). This creates a stalemate of new ideas which renders the group effectively useless. An example of this is any situation of a group of like-minded people, in which case, any outside view, if not agreed with, may not be considered.
This is a phenomenon that is unique to groups. There is a removal of conflict that also removes the benefit of different opinions and fresh ideas. The point of group communication is to do what one or two people cannot and if the communication does not rise above the challenges of distractions and groupthink, then there is no longer a need for that group.
Baack, D. (2012). Management communication [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://ashford.content.edu
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