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Classification and Characteristics of Group in Communication

There have been many classifications of groups that have been born by sociological scientists, but on this occasion, we present only three classifications of groups.

1. Primary and Secondary Groups

Charles Horton Cooley in 1909 (in Jalaluddin Rakhmat, 1994) said that a primary group is a group whose members relate closely, personally, and touch the heart in association and cooperation. While the second group is a group whose members are not intimately related, are impersonal, and do not touch our hearts.

Membership groups and reference groups.

Differences between primary and secondary groups:

a. Primary group

  1. The quality of communication in the primary group is deep and widespread
  2. Communication is the primary group is personal
  3. Emphasizes the relationship aspect more than the content aspect
  4. Primary group communication tends to be expressive
  5. Primary group communication tends to be informal

b. Secondary group

  1. The quality of communication in the second group is shallow and limited
  2. Non-personal secondary group
  3. The secondary group on the other hand
  4. Instrumental secondary group
  5. Formal secondary group
Classification and Characteristics of Group in Communication
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2. Membership Groups and Reference Groups

Theodore Newcomb (1930) gave birth to the terms membership group and reference group. A membership group is a group whose members are administratively and physically a member of that group. While the reference group is a group that is used as a measuring tool (standard) for self-assessment or to form attitudes.

According to the theory, the reference group has three functions: a comparative function, a normative function, and a perspective function. I make Islam my reference group, to measure and assess my current situation and status (comparative function. Islam also gives me the norms and several attitudes that I must have-a frame of reference to guide my behavior, as well as show me what I should do). achieve (normative function).

Apart from that, Islam has also given me a way of looking at the world—a way of defining situations, organizing experiences, and giving meaning to the various objects, events, and people I encounter (perspective function). But Islam is not my only reference group. In the field of science, the Indonesian Communication Graduate Association (ISKI) is my reference group, in addition to being my membership group. Whatever the reference group, my behavior is greatly influenced, including my behavior in communicating.

3. Descriptive Group and Prescriptive Group

The descriptive category shows group classification by looking at the natural formation process. Based on the purpose, size, and pattern of communication, descriptive groups are divided into three:
  • Task group
  • Group meeting
  • Awareness group

Task groups aim to solve a problem, such as a heart transplant, or design a political campaign. A gathering group is a group of people who make themselves the main event. Through discussion, each member tries to learn more about himself. The therapy group in a mental hospital is an example of a meeting group. The awareness group has the main task of creating a new socio-political identity. Radical revolutionary groups; (in the US) in the 1960s used this process quite a lot.

The prescriptive group refers to the steps that must be taken by group members in achieving group goals. Cragan and Wright categorize six formats of prescriptive groups, namely: round table discussions, symposiums, panel discussions, forums, colloquiums, and parliamentary procedures (Jalaluddin Rakhmat, 2008).

Influence of Groups on Communication Behavior

1. Conformity

Conformity is a change in behavior or beliefs toward a group (norm) as a result of group pressure – real or imagined. When several people in a group say or do something, there is a tendency for members to say and do the same thing. So, if you are planning to be a group leader, arrange for your colleagues to spread out in groups. When you seek member approval, seek your colleagues' approval. Grow it as if the whole group agrees. The next members will likely agree too.

2. Social facilitation

Facilitation (from the French word facile, meaning easy) shows the smoothness or improvement in the quality of work because it is watched by a group. Groups influence work so that it becomes easier. Robert Zajonz (1965) explains that the presence of other people has an energy-generating effect on individual behavior. This effect occurs in a variety of social situations, not just in front of people who excite us. The increased energy will increase the likelihood of the dominant response being released. The dominant response is the behavior that we control. If the dominant response is the correct one, there will be an increase in performance. If the dominant response is the wrong one, there will be a decline in performance. For easy work, the dominant response is the correct response; Therefore, researchers look to see groups enhance the quality of individual work.

3. Polarization

Polarization is a tendency towards extreme positions. If before the group discussion the members had a somewhat supportive attitude towards a certain action, after the discussion they would be even more strongly in favor of that action. On the other hand, if before the discussion the group members were somewhat against a certain action, after the discussion they would oppose it more strongly (Jalaluddin Rakhmat, 2008).

Arifin, Anwar, 1984, Communication Strategy: A Brief Introduction, Bandung: Amico.
Mulyana, Deddy, 2005, Communication Studies: An Introduction, Bandung: PT Pemuda Rosdakarya.
Rakhmat, Jalaluddin, 1994, Communication Psychology, Bandung: Rosdakarya Youth.