Communication in a group setting differs from an individual conversation due to the various types of participants in the group conversation. Baack (2012) describes categories of group members “Four types of group members make up formal and informal groups: the leader, opinion leaders, members in good standing, and the gatekeeper” (Section 9.1, para. 13). In a workplace setting, the employees can be designated formally or informally in different roles. When speaking with an individual, one can be focused on communicating with only one role, not multiples compared to a group conversation.
There are unique communication challenges in a group setting. An example of this could be participating in a discussion with a supervisor, senior managers, and coworkers at the same time. This would not be a good forum to discuss problems with coworkers or management. In these types of settings, others may join in the conversation and provide opposing opinions. Since the communication could have real repercussions to staff and the individual raising their concerns, it would be more cognizant to keep complaints to a minimum. However, this can also be a chance to speak about accomplishments and group achievements to be recognized in a positive way by senior management. The employee can gain further acknowledgment by participating in a larger audience.
In an individual conversation with a supervisor or senior manager, an employee may discuss controversial topics or complaints about coworkers. The supervisor or senior manager would have the undivided attention of the employee without any external views being presented. Subjects of a personal or sensitive nature may be deemed as inappropriate in communicating in a group setting in the workplace.
Baack, D. (2012). Management communication. Retrieved from https://ashford.content.edu
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