Group Discussion: A Practical Guide to Participation and Leadership by Kathryn Sue Young, Julia T. Wood, Gerald M. Phillips, Douglas J. Pedersen
182 pages, $25.95 list
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Group Discussion
A Practical Guide to Participation and Leadership
Fourth Edition
This affordable, concise guide to group discussion offers comprehensive coverage of the standard agenda, an approach that works for any problem-solving discussion. Readers learn a proven, relevant, practical approach to solving problems. The authors emphasize the creative potential of individuals and urge them to apply that creativity to their discussions, including imaginative ways to foster equal participation, inventive gathering of background information, rhetorically-sensitive handling of conflict, and critical assessment of potential solutions to a problem. Dynamic group discussion is a rewarding experience, and this book maps the route to effective communication in groups for participants and for leaders. As a collective effort, group discussion provides firsthand experience of the enhancement of individual abilities when working as part of a team, encouraging mutual respect and the synergies of collaborative efforts.
“It is particularly helpful that the book offers clear detail but is written in a concise and accessible style.” — Michael Sollitto, Texas A&M University

“I appreciate an inexpensive, concise text that applies the concepts in a practical manner. The Instructor’s Manual cemented my opinion regarding the text. The well-established philosophy of helping students understand the importance of becoming a well- informed, responsible group member resonates with my own thinking.” — Deborah Silva, Walla Walla College

“I liked the fact that the text was very generic, without a lot of extraneous material that students receive in other courses. It appears to allow instructors the freedom to teach the course as they see fit without being overly hamstrung by an author’s preferences.” — Michael Putnam, University of Texas at Arlington

“I used this text to supplement other readings in a group facilitation class. It was especially helpful for the students coming to class without a group communication background.” — Tess Marino, Portland State University

“This book is organized in an easy-to-follow format. A good overview of group interaction is followed by agenda setting and reporting.” — Jill W. Hall, Jefferson Community College
Table of Contents
1. Introduction to Group Discussion and the Standard Agenda
Perspectives on Group Discussion / Why Do You Need to be an Effective Group Member? / How to Learn about Group Discussion / What Will This Book Do for You? / Where Will You Use Group Discussion? / Functions of Groups / The Value of Procedure / An Intercultural Note / Overview of the Standard Agenda / Why the Standard Agenda? / The Choices Are Yours

2. Understanding the Group as a System
The Systems Perspective / Why the System Might Not Work / Making the System Work

3. Exploring the Group System
Initial Elements / Process Elements / Outcome Features

4. Individual Choices That Affect the System
Rhetorical Sensitivity / Perception / Verbal Communication / Active Listening / Nonverbal Communication / Individual Preparation / Troubleshooting

5. Making Effective Choices When Leading
Selecting and Shaping a Leader / Remaining Effective as a Leader / Preparing for Leadership / Strategies for Leading

6. Creating a Constructive Climate and Managing Conflict
Role of Conflict in Discussion / Types of Conflict / Components of Constructive Climate / Conflict Resolution Styles / Groupthink / Additional Troubleshooting

7. Standard Agenda Step One: Understanding the Charge
GOALS OF STEP ONE / Understanding the Charge / Ascertaining Your Authority / Assess Your Resources / Knowing When You Are Done / Legitimacy of Topics / OUTCOMES OF STEP ONE / Written Record of the Group's Understanding / Questions about the Charge / MEMBER TASKS IN STEP ONE / Becoming Familiar with Colleagues / Exercising Your Options / LEADER OBLIGATIONS IN STEP ONE / Choosing a Leadership Style / Preparing for the Leadership Role / Setting a Leadership Tone / Taking Leadership Responsibility / Wrapping It Up / An Unspoken Contract for Serious Group Problem Solving

8. Standard Agenda Step Two: Understanding and Phrasing the Question
GOALS OF STEP TWO / Exploring the Background of the Problem / Phrase the Question / Types of Questions / OUTCOMES OF STEP TWO / MEMBERS TASKS IN STEP TWO / LEADER OBLIGATIONS IN STEP TWO

9. Standard Agenda Step Three: Fact-Finding
GOALS OF STEP THREE / Getting Started / Basic Questions / Criteria for Evaluating Information / Additional Considerations / Using Language / OUTCOMES OF STEP THREE / Answering Basic Questions / MEMBER TASKS IN STEP THREE / LEADER OBLIGATIONS IN STEP THREE

10. Standard Agenda Step Four: Setting Criteria and Limitations
GOALS OF STEP FOUR / How to Develop Criteria / Defining the Terms / Prioritizing Criteria / How to Determine Limitations / OUTCOMES FOR STEP FOUR / MEMBER TASKS FOR STEP FOUR / LEADER OBLIGATIONS IN STEP FOUR

11. Standard Agenda Step Five: Discovering and Selecting Solutions
GOALS OF STEP FIVE / Brainstorming / Evaluating Solutions against Criteria / Selecting the Best Solution / Implementation Plan / OUTCOMES OF STEP FIVE / MEMBER TASKS IN STEP FIVE / LEADER OBLIGATIONS IN STEP FIVE

12. Standard Agenda Step Six: Preparing and Presenting the Final Report
GOALS OF STEP SIX / Preparing the Final Report / Presenting the Final Report / OUTCOMES OF STEP SIX / MEMBER TASKS IN STEP SIX / LEADER OBLIGATIONS IN STEP SIX / Final Thoughts