What factors and processes facilitate and inhibit communication within face-to-face groups compared with “virtual” or “online” groups? Support your opinions with reference to the literature.Introduction Communication is important to every organization therefore it is essential that the organization select the most appropriate methods for group communication. With the introduction of electronic communication, one of the important advantages is that it loosens time and space constraints. However with electronic mail, there is the issue of time delay due to response time.
Group communication methods is a crucial factor for an organization to maximize its decisions making as it is dependant on the group members contributions. The available communication methods include face-to-face groups and online groups. There are several factors that facilitate and inhibit communication with these popular methods utilized by organizations. Therefore it is significant that these contributing issues are taken into account towards the organizational communication.
“Computer Mediated Communication describes the ways we humans use computer systems and associated networks to transfer, store, and retrieve information pertinent to a communication process. Communication processes are subject to potential losses or dysfunction in the group process that may inhibit the group from reaching their potential task performance.” (Anonymous. n.d, Computer-Mediated Communication, (Online))
The communication process losses are production blocking, attenuation blocking, concentration blocking and attention blocking, unequal air time, evaluation apprehension, free-riding, cognitive inertia, socializing, domination, failure to remember, and incomplete analysis respectively. (Anonymous. n.d, Computer-Mediated Communication, (Online)) These are the part of the contributing factors that inhibits virtual group communication.
Face-to-Face Communication Face-to-face communication is the gathering of a group of individuals to contribute their opinions in order for the organization to make an appropriate decision. Though there are several factors that allow face-to-face communication to assist organizational communication, it is important that the restrictions are taken into consideration so as to allow the organization to utilize the most appropriate method for group communication to maximize quality decision making.
Facilitating Factors Several factors facilitate a face-to-face communication in an organizational group communication. As components of physical presence plays an important role in communication, hence it is essential that group members are present, which would enable effective communication through facial expressions and body language. Face-to-face communication provides simultaneous interaction, which is fast and effective and concurrently allows immediate feedback. Effective groups provide a thorough evaluation of decision alternatives. Groups have better performance when evaluated by other group members of their validity of opinions.
Inhibiting Factors Face-to-face communications would inhibit effective group communication due to time difference, which means that organization group meetings would have to be scheduled and planned beforehand due to difference in time. To travel to other destinations to allow the participation of group communications would be time consuming. One of the problems with face-to-face communications is that it prevents other group members from generating new ideas while remembering the present idea. Other factors that inhibit ineffective face-to-face communication would be due to personality differences and language barriers.
With face-to-face group communication, contribution of ideas would have to be in sequence as the group might demonstrate multiple ideas to be presented, otherwise it would result in a tendency for conflicts to arise due to tones, body language and facial expressions. In addition the restrictions of one-way communication in a group, in which one member talks and the group listens could cause a member of the group to forget the idea that is to be presented and concurrently results in incomplete analysis in which members neglect to use information available to challenge presented ideas by other members. Another factor that restricts effective face-to-face group communication is the fear experienced about possible negative evaluation of ideas shared with the group, which may result in the withholding of ideas and comments and group members not contributing their views due to the presence of authority.