Groups, Teams, and Social Interaction: Theories and Applications

By A. Paul Hare | Go to book overview

4
Problem Solving and Consensus

The scientific method is the most effective method of problem solving when the problem involves objects, for example, in developing a new product or deciding upon a new method of production. Problem-solving methods outlined in the team-building literature tend to reflect this. When the discussion concerns interpersonal relations or if the decision requires the commitment of a team to perform, then the process of "consensus" is best. Although it usually is recommended, either directly or implicitly, there is some confusion about the process and about the outcome. For both the use of the scientific method and consensus, few of the discussions of the process include a recognition that different levels of creativity may be involved or how to achieve them. This chapter begins with a summary of social-psychological research on group problem solving. This is followed by a discussion of the scientific method and the process of consensus as they appear in the team-building literature.


GROUP PROBLEM SOLVING

From the early 1900s social psychologists have been interested in the effect of the presence of other persons on an individual's behavior in problem solving and in other forms of activity. By the 1920s experiments were performed to observe problem solving in groups ( Hare, 1976:384-395). The comparison of the individual problem solver with a group has continued

The first part of this chapter, Group Problem Solving, including the comparison of an individual with a group and a group with a group, is based on the survey of the literature on group problem solving in Small Group Research: A Handbook ( Hare, Blumberg, Davies & Kent, 1992). It appears in the same form in an article on group problem solving in the Encyclopedia of Sociology edited by Edgar F. Borgatta and Marie L. Borgatta ( New York: Macmillan, 1991).

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Groups, Teams, and Social Interaction: Theories and Applications
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments iv
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Part I - Groups and Teams 1
  • 1 - Basic Concepts 3
  • 2 - Characteristics of Groups and Teams 15
  • Note 21
  • 3 - Group and Team Development 23
  • 4 - Problem Solving and Consensus 31
  • Note 43
  • 5 - Managing Conflict 45
  • 6 - Consultation: Diagnosis and Planning 53
  • Notes 64
  • 7 - Team Building with Symlog 65
  • Part II - Theories of Social Interaction and Applications 89
  • 8 - Functional Analysis 91
  • 9 - Dramaturgical Analysis: Intergrop Relations in Israel 97
  • 10 - Exchange Analysis 113
  • 11 - Symlog Analysis 125
  • 12 - Combined Analysis: Conformity and Creativity in Negotiations 143
  • Notes 155
  • References 157
  • Name Index 171
  • Subject Index 177
  • About the Author 178
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