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COM 520, Spring 2013 – Reading Guide Questions for February 20

For Griffin on Structuration:

1. Did you encounter the phase model in COM 320 or some other small group class?  What do you think of it?  In particular, what do you think of his argument that (in Griffin’s words) “the model claims that communication has no significant impact on the process or the outcome; group members are just along for a five-stage ride?” (p. 246)

2.  What's the significance of referring to what groups do as “interaction” and not “behavior.” (Hint: What's the difference between COM and psychology?)

3. What does Poole (adapting Giddens) mean by rules, resources, and structures?  What were examples of  rules and resources in a group you’ve been part of, at school, work, church or elsewhere?  How do they operate in this class?

4. What does Poole mean by “production” and “reproduction” of social systems?  Again, offer examples from your experience in groups.

5. What issues of morality, communication and power have arisen in the group you’ve used for your examples thus far?

6. What does Poole mean by “appropriation” of rules and resources?  To what extent has the group you've used for examples engaged in appropriation?

7. What does Poole mean by “Duality of Structure?”  What examples of it have you seen?

8. How might structuration theory be useful for critiquing and improving group practice? 

For Sunwolf & Seibold:

1. Upon reviewing the ways jury research has traditionally been done (p. 283), what are their principal complaints about most jury research?  (p. 284)

2. What’s the central question they’re looking to answer? (bottom p. 285)

3. What are the specific research questions? (p. 291)

4. How’d they pick “jurors?” (also p. 291)

5. How’d they do the study?  Do you their methods cure for the complaints they make about other jury research?

6. What answers did they find to each of their research questions?

7. How do you account for the results for each question?

8. What implications for structuration theory do the authors come up with?  For jury research?

For Putnam on Bona Fide Groups:

1. pp. 8-9: What's her complaint about how groups have been conceptualized in the past?  How does the bona fide group perspective attempt to resolve it?

2. pp. 9-10: What dies connectivity refer to?  What marks a group's relationship to another group as loosely or tightly coupled?  What are examples of each from groups you've been associated with?  What's the significance of this distinction?

3. p. 10: What are the two characteristics that mark a bona fide group?

4. pp. 10-12: Identify and explain each of the four elements of group process that lead to stable yet permeable boundaries?  For each, provide examples from groups you've been part of.

5. pp. 12-13:  What is meant by "interdependence with relative context?"  Identify and explain each of the four elements of  this feature of bona fide groups.  For each, provide examples from groups you've been part of.

For Lammers & Krikorian:

Pages 17-26 are where Lammers & Krikorian review bona fide group theory and operationalize some of the terms in (probably) more detail than we need for our purposes.  Please just skim this part of the article to make sure that you have a very basic understanding of the concepts/terms.

The actual study begins on p. 27:

1. So how’d they do this study?

2. What’s notable about the discussion of boundaries on p. 29?  How does this differ (or how is this similar to) groups you’ve been part of?

3. What are the implications for leadership of the discussion of connectivity on p. 29?  Again, how does this differ (or how is this similar to) groups you’ve been part of?

4.  How would you characterize the role of membership in other groups (discussed on p. 30)?  How does this differ (or how is this similar to) groups you’ve been part of?

5. How would you characterize the discussion of relations among members in other contexts on p. 30?  Would you get the sort of information you get here using any of the other three theories we’ve discussed?

6. How would you characterize the role of resource dependency (discussed on p. 30)?  How does this differ (or how is this similar to) groups you’ve been part of?

7. So what’s bona fide theory good for, anyway?  What does it offer that the other theories we've studied don't?

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