Enlist the aid of a group of coworkers, friends, or members of your family to participate in a 20- to 30-minute discussion in which they have to solve a problem or make a decision; for example, deciding where to go for vacation (as in the case of a family), how to deal with a problem of morale at work or what to do with a troublesome colleague (as in the case of a work group), or determining how often and at what time a group, such as a bridge club, should meet (as in the case of friends). It may be helpful to you if you can secure permission to record the discussion, but recording it is not necessary. Your role in this assignment will be that of observer, not participant. During the discussion, you should keep track of what is going on, who seems to be having the most and least influence, as well as why, how well the group moves through its task, any breakdowns in communication, and the like. Using either your notes or the recording of the discussion, and drawing on pertinent material in Chapter 12 of your textbook, write an analysis (750 to 1000 words) in which you:
1 describe what the group was trying to accomplish,
2 indicate how well the members performed the task,
3 identify aspects of communication that both contributed to and detracted from successful completion of the task,
4 discuss what appeared to be the most significant sources of influence on how the group performed, and, finally,
5 indicate what you learned from the discussion and your observation of it that you would try to avoid and what you might also try to do in decision-making or problem-solving discussions in which you are a participant.