Working in groups


Course overview, introduction to groups & introduction to Wikipedia assignment


Basis for team success and failure

We’ll introduce fundamental ideas about groups and how they operate.  We’ll consider criteria for group success and some of the factors that influence whether groups will be successful. 

    1. Why does the Varsity team lose to the JV team:
    2. What should Coach P. have done differently earlier in the season to resolve this problem.  Exactly when should he have intervened differently?
    3. At the end of the case, what action should Coach P. take on Tuesday?  What is your rationale for this recommendation? How should he implement this action? Be specific.

We'll also review in class Paul Goodman's video Crew: Rowing in an 8 to better understand the relationship between coordination, espirit d'corp and performance.


Team composition & process

We'll consider the way that characteristics of team members and the ways they work together contribute to their success.

Start WP assignment--create login and complete WP tutorials

Process losses: Coordination vs Motivation


Leadership & Managerial communication

  • Mintzberg, Henry (1990, March/April). The manager's job: Folklore and fact. Harvard Business Review, 68(2),163-176. If the Harvard link doesn't allow you to purchase the article, use this link.
  • Perlow, L. A. (1999). The time famine: Toward a sociology of work time. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(1), 57-81

Leadership as behavior


Communication & group performance

Discuss :n the class forum attributes of a good Wikipedia article about a social science topic .
Add an interesting finding or fact  and its citation to a relevant Wikipedia article. 

Introduction to distributed groups

Distributed groups are increasingly common. Yet, there is a lot of evidence that distributed groups are less efficient than collocated groups, experience more conflict and member dissatisfaction.  We’ll review some of this evidence and then over the next several weeks consider factors that help groups be successful and the way that geographic dispersion makes these processes harder.


Successful distributed groups

Choose partner and Wikipedia article to write/improve.  You can use this discussion board to find a partner.

Once you have settled on an article and partner, list your decisions on  this spreadsheet shown in class .


No class: Rosh Hashanah


The role of communication media (I)

A cooperative model of human communication proposes that speakers take into account what they expect their listeners to understand and update that information as they are speaking. Listeners have an obligation to indicate their state of knowledge and to cooperate with the speaker to produce an utterance.

  • Clark, Herbert H. & Brennan, Susan E. (1991). Grounding in communication. In L. B. Resnick, R. M. Levine, & S. D. Teasley (Eds.). Perspectives on socially shared cognition. (pp. 127-149). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Chapanis, A. (1975). Interactive human communication. Scientific American, 232, 36-42
  • Krauss, R. M. & Fussell, S. R. (1990). Mutual knowledge and communicative effectiveness. In J. Galegher & R. E. Kraut, et al. (Eds.), Intellectual teamwork: Social and technological foundations of cooperative work (pp. 111-145). Hillsdale, NJ, England: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

The role of communication media (II)

  • Kiesler, S., & Cummings, J. (2002). What do we know about proximity and distance in work groups? A legacy of research. In P. Hinds, & Kiesler, S. (Ed.), Distributed Work (pp. 57-82). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Post 15-20 good references relevant your WP article

Short essay (part 1) analyzing two examples from Gergle et al, showing that grounding and awareness are indeed different (group assignment). Due midnight, Fri Oct 3.


Communication, familiarity and coordination

Having common beliefs and views of a situation should allow groups to communicate more efficiently. How does this work?

  • Argote, L. (1999). Oganizational learning. Boston: Kluwer. Chapter 1. Learning Curves. 
  • Argote, L. (1999). Organizational learning. Boston: Kluwer. Chapter 3. Organizational Memory. pp. 67-98.
Short essay (part 2) anayzing how the communication technology you used in part 1 alleviated some of the problems of working with a partner at a distance or failed to alleviate them. (individual assignment). Due Thur Oct 9.

Wikipedia as a social system

  • Bryant, S.L., Forte, A., & Bruckman, A. (2005). Becoming Wikipedian: Transformation of Participation in a Collaborative Online Encyclopedia. In Proceedings, GROUP05, November 6-9, 2005, Sanibel Island, Florida, USA.
  • Halfaker, A., Geiger, S., Jonathan, M., & Riedl, J. (2012). The rise and decline of an open collaboration system: How Wikipedia’s reaction to sudden popularity is causing its decline. American Behavioral Scientist.
  • (optional): Kittur, A., & Kraut, R. E. (2008). Harnessing the Wisdom of Crowds in Wikipedia: Quality Through Coordination CSCW'08: Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (pp. 37-46). New York: ACM Press

    Note: read one of the last two articles, with "The rise and fall" paper preferred.

Critique your selected WP article and post suggestions for improvement on its talk page

Identity, Diversity & Conflict


Group identity and goal conflict


Diversity in groups

This class examines some of the problems associated with diversity in groups.

  • Williams, K. & O'Reilly, C.A. (1998). Demography and diversity in organizations: A review of 40 years of research. Research in Organizational Behavior, 20, 77-140.
  • Polzer, J, Varga, I, & Elfenbein (2003). Henry Tam and the MGI Team. Harvard Business School Case 9-404-068.
  • New York Times (2011, Jan 29). Google finds it hard to reinvent philanthropy.

    Note: Class will focus on discussing the Henry Tam case. Here are some points to think about when reading the case. We will cover these issues in class:

    1. What is your evaluation of the MGI team's process? What were the root causes of the team's problems?
    2. What are the strengths of the MGI team? That is, how would you have evaluated it "on paper," before its first meeting?
    3. Were the differences among team members a liability or an asset?
    4. What could Henry or Igor done earlier to avoid the team's problems?
    5. At the end of the case, after process problems had developed, what could the team have done to increase its effectiveness? 

Diversity as a source of innovation

  • Ideo ( is arguably the best product design firm in the United States. We'll be examining the innovation process that Ideo uses, through the Hargadon & Sutton article below and through an ABC News video, The Deep Dive. Come to class familiar with Ideo and its products, and be prepared to describe how it institutionalizes creativity.
  • Hargadon, A. & Sutton, R. Technology brokering and innovation in a product development firm. (1997). Administrative Science Quarterly, 42, 716-749.
  • Schweiger, D. M., Sandberg, W. R., & Ragan, J. W. (1986). Group approaches for improving strategic decision making: A comparative analysis of dialectical inquiry, devil's advocacy, and consensus. Academy of management Journal, 29(1), 51-71.

Many analysts stress the value of having demographically and intellectually diverse work groups, for reasons of fairness and performance. What are the benefits and costs of diversity of work groups? Can we identify techniques for getting value from diversity, while minimizing some of its known costs? This class focuses on organizing to gain benefits from diversity.


Marshmallow Challenge

Post draft of your article in your Wikipedia sandbox and request reviews from  instructor and class.

Introduction to Negotiation


Managing conflict in groups

  • Forsyth, D. (2009). Group dynamics: Wadsworth Pub Co. (Chapter 13: Conflict). Pp. 379-409
  • Barker, J. R. (1997). Disciplining a teammate. In B. D. Syher (Ed.), Case studies in organizational communication (Vol. 2, pp. 97-109). New York: Guildford Press.
  • Optional:  Cialdini, R. (2008). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (5th edition). Allyn & Bacon: New York. Chapter 2: Reciprocation Pp. 18-50. [NOTE: Cialdini's Influence is a requried text and can be ordered from Amazon.   You can read a portion of it online using the "Look Inside" feature, or download a Kindle version.

We'll be spending the class discuss the Barker case, Disciplining a Teammate. In reading the case consider the following questions:

  1. What did the self-managed team do to prevent conflicts from arising?  
  2. What did they do correctly in handling Sharon's unpredictablility and pattern of lateness and abscence?
  3. What did they do poorly?
  4. What else could they have done?
  5. Could principles of negotiation be used to handle the conflict in this case?

Managing conflict in groups (II)


Common causes of conflict: Cultural differences in values and cognition

Cross cultural communication poses special problems of diversity. This session examines difference in cultures' in central values, ways of thinking, and management practices.  Since the set of students comprising the class is likely to be culturally diverse, we’ll spend time during the class session discussing your experiences.


Attitudes & persuasion


 Introduction to attitudes

Self-reflection on a group conflict due. (Due mid-night, Monday Nov 17th)

Publish your draft Wikipedia article and make it available for instructor and peer review, if you haven't already done so.


Persuasion and liking

  • Zajonc, R. B. (2001). Mere exposure: A gateway to the subliminal. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10(6), 224-226.
Respond to Wikipedia article feedback and publish your Wikipedia article, if you haven't yet done so. 

Persuasion and social pressure

  • Cialdini, Robert B. (2008) Influence: Science and practice (5rd Edition). Talman Co. Chapter 6: Authority. pp.174-197.
  • Walton, G. M. (2014). The New Science of Wise Psychological Interventions. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(1), 73-82.
Submit feedback on one other students' draft

Social Networks


Social networks/Communication boundaries

 11/20 People are important sources for information and other resources. Interpersonal networking is important to gain these resources, but getting to new pockets of information is what is crucial.
  • Cross, R & Cummings, J. (2004) Tie and network correlates of individual performance in knowledge intensive work Academy of Management Journal, 47(6), 928.
  • Allen, T. (1977). Managing the flow of technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. pp. 141-181. The technological gatekeepers.
  • Raider, H., & Krackhardt, D. (2001). Intraorganizational Networks. In J. A. C. Baum (Ed.), Companion to Organizations (pp. 58-74.). Oxford, UK.: Blackwell.

Social networks systems and outcomes

  • Gilbert, E., & Karahalios, K. (2009). Predicting tie strength with social media CHI'09: Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computer Systems (pp. 211-220). New York, NY: ACM Press.
  • Dunbar, R. (2010).  Do we need (150) friends
  • Burke, M., & Kraut, R. E. (2012). Using Facebook after losing a job: Differential benefits of strong and weak ties CSCW'13: ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. NY: ACM Press.

Thanksgiving break


Person perception



  • Van Maanen, J. (1991). The smile factory: Work at Disneyland. In P. Frost, L. Moore, M. Luis, C. Lundberg, & J. Martin (Eds.), Reframing organizational culture (pp. 58-76). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. (also available here.)
  • Ibarra, H. (1999). Provisional selves: Experimenting with image and identity in professional adaptation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(Dec), 764-791.
  • Sutton, R. I. (1991). Maintaining norms about expressed emotions: A case of bill collectors. Administrative Science Quarterly, 36, 245-268 
  Canceled: Social networks assignment

Self-presentation online


Final exam  Monday, 12/8, 5:30-8:30PM HH B103

 Turn in WP self-reflection essay and final article you want graded. You only need to write a single essay for your team. (Due Wed, Dec 10th, midnight)