Solution for: Working effectively in groups

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Working effectively in groups

You will hear two business studies students discussing a presentation they’ll do on an article on working effectively in groups.

So, Brad, what did you think of the article on group work?

Oh hi, Helen ... yeah it was pretty good ... with helpful pieces of advice on how to make group work effective.

I think we were lucky to be given such a straightforward text to present at the management skills seminar.

Yeah ... actually shall we discuss it now ... have you got time?

Sure ... it’s only a ten-minute presentation, so we just need to explain and then give our views on the main points raised in the article.

I’ll jot down some notes ... Right.

So, there are three main sections. I suggest we start with listening.

Yeah ... effective listening in groups ... because it’s not something that’s frequently covered on courses in our field ...

No ... and we should say that in the presentation.

Yeah ... And also effective listening’s pretty simple, you know, I don’t think it’s hard to learn. Well ... people think it’s easy, but in my experience most of us tend to be very lazy listeners. OK - I wouldn’t argue with that.

Something I do think we should emphasise is the power of the listener’s posture, gestures, etc. in making speakers feel respected.

... not that you’re just waiting for them to finish.before jumping in with your own ideas ...

Ah ha. 

Right ... the next section is on goal setting - let’s make sure we’re clear what the article says on this.

Yeah - well, firstly it says that all group members must be given time to explain their own goals.

... that’s it, yeah.

... and then did it say that the whole group should agree on common goals?

That’s a bit too strong. It’s more that everyone’s agendas should be equally acceptable ... but it does say that goals have to be realistic, you know ...... achievable within a particular time?

You’ve got it. That’s really what the article’s saying. There isn’t really any point in having ‘ideals’ if group members know they won’t come to anything within a reasonable period ...

So ... I think a summary covering those points will be enough for that part of the presentation, don’t you?

Yep ... Now the last section is about conflict resolution.

Actually, I thought it was the worst part of the article.

Me too .

I don’t think it went into sufficient detail on the issue.

Actually I thought it devoted too much space to it but that it was all rather boring, you know.

It didn’t mention some of the more radical theories ... absolutely .I found that really irritating.

Right ... and also I think it could have said more about conflict sometimes being healthy in groups ...

Absolutely ... it just mentioned rather glibly about how we should avoid thinking of winners and losers and that quick resolution of conflict is always desirable.

Brad:           Without explaining what these terms mean ... ?

Helen:          Well, it gives quite detailed definitions but doesn’t develop a proper argument.

Brad:           Right ... So for the presentation, I think we just give some definitions and ...

Helen:          ... and then explain what we felt were the weaknesses in the article’s treatment of conflict


Brad:           Yeah ... good. 

Brad:           So, let’s think about what we have to prepare for the actual presentation.

Helen:          Well, I suppose we’ll use PowerPoint ... but I’m hopeless at using it, especially if it has any visuals. I really have to look into doing a course on it because I know I’ll need it in the future.

Brad:           Don’t worry, I’m quite happy using PowerPoint and I’ll put it together when everything else is ready.

Helen:          That’s a relief ... but, yes, do that later.

Brad:           OK. Now, I heard the tutor saying we have to include some well chosen quotations from the article?

Helen:          I’m not sure if we do ... I’ll email him to find out.

Brad:           No need, I can just have a look at the specs he gave us when he set the task ...

Helen:          That’ll be quicker.

Brad:           But the tutor definitely said we have to prepare a handout to go with the talk ... I’m not really sure how we do that.

Helen:          Sarah did one last year ...

Brad:           Who’s she?

Helen:          She’s doing the same option as me on marketing. I’ll ask her advice on what to include.

Brad:           Great. So that just leaves the bibliography at the end.   I suppose it’ll mainly be articles.

Helen:          Yeah. So we’ll just look on the web ... and we can leave that till later.

Brad:           But we’ve been advised against that ...

Helen:          Well, we could have a look through some journals in the library.

Brad:           I think we should start by looking through module handbooks. I think that’ll give us some good leads.

Helen:          Yeah ... you’re probably right. So, that’s all the ...

Questions 1-2

Choose TWO letters, A-E.

What TWO things do Brad and Helen agree to say about listening in groups?

A Listening skills are often overlooked in business training.

B Learning to listen well is a skill that’s easy for most people to learn.

C It’s sometimes acceptable to argue against speakers.

D Body language is very important when listening.

E Listeners should avoid interrupting speakers.
1. Answer: A OR D IN EITHER ORDER    Locate  Listen from here
2. Answer: A OR D IN EITHER ORDER    Locate  Listen from here

Questions 3-4

Choose TWO letters, A-E.

What TWO things does the article say about goal-setting?

A Meetings should start with a clear statement of goals.

B It’s important for each individual’s goals to be explained.

C Everybody in the group should have the same goals.

D Goals should be a mix of the realistic and the ideal.

E Goals must always to be achievable within a set time.
3. Answer: B OR E IN EITHER ORDER    Locate  Listen from here
4. Answer: B OR E IN EITHER ORDER    Locate  Listen from here

Questions 5-6

Choose TWO letters, A-E.

What TWO things do Brad and Helen agree are weak points in the article’s section on conflict resolution?

A It doesn’t explore the topic in enough detail.

B It only discusses conservative views.

C It says nothing about the potential value of conflict.

D It talks too much about ‘winners and losers’.

E It doesn’t provide definitions of key terms.
5. Answer: B OR C IN EITHER ORDER    Locate  Listen from here
6. Answer: B OR C IN EITHER ORDER    Locate  Listen from here

Questions 7-10

What actions do Brad and Helen agree to do regarding the following preparation tasks?

Choose FOUR answers from the box and write the correct letter, A-F, next to the number.


Preparation tasks

7      Preparing the powerpoint
Answer: C    Locate  Listen from here

8      Using direct quotations
Answer: B    Locate  Listen from here

9      Creating a handout
Answer: D    Locate  Listen from here

10      Drawing up a bibliography
Answer: F    Locate  Listen from here


A Contact the tutor for clarification.

B Check the assignment specifications.

C Leave it until the last task.

D Ask a course-mate to help.

E Find information on the Internet.

F Look through course handbooks.

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