Online group communication is conducted with group members are present at a group meeting online. This communication method is utilized in organizations as it eliminates distance between group members and the organization, which allows communication to happen online without making the journey to attend the organizations meeting. Facilitating Factors Virtual group communication is easier for individuals to feel like a participating member as electronically communicating with higher authorities towards solving problems allows people to contribute more than to voice out their opinions during a group meeting. Hence allowing decision maker of the organization to make decisions with better information than if they were only restricted to face-to-face communication, as there is a presence of informality.
The factors that assist online group communication are the riddance of distance as a barrier and concurrently saving traveling costs. Online communication like electronic mails enables communication process even with time differences. Group members are able to attend group meetings at their location without traveling. Virtual group communication facilitates more effective communication through more inputs of information constantly and therefore resulting in lesser conflicts between group members. There is a lesser chance of one member dominating against other members. In addition, the contributions of group members are logged for future references.
Inhibiting Factors The factors that restrain online group communication are the absence of group members therefore causing the issue of unknown identity of group member due to non-confirmation, which means that the speaker may not be the group member but at the group member’s workstation. Communication breakdown between group communications is present as with online group communication, there is an absence of body language and facial expressions. Online group communication creates the tendency of some members of the group to rely on the other members to accomplish the task without contributing.
Multiple ideas contribution could lead to more confusion between group members therefore reduce member’s participation. Although with the effective communication without time difference, electronic mails prove to be unreliable and possess time delays in replies. Additional explanations could be required for contribution of ideas due to the lack of physical presence. There is a tendency of discussions moving along one thought without diverting from the current topic thus blocking group potential due to the lack of new sentiments, which could enrich the discussion.
Contributions need to be immediate so as to keep in topic if not it would seem less relevant. Ineffective communication could be resulted from time differences therefore restricting communication to take place. One major barrier is getting the message clear during group communication. These factors inhibit the group achievement of potential task performance.
Comparisons With comparisons between face-to-face and virtual group communication, the advantages brought on by virtual communications are that there are more equal participation and task-orientation at least as good as that of face-to-face groups. (Anonymous. n.d, Computer-Mediated Communication, (Online))
With virtual group communication, the pressure is definitely absent when the audience is not visually present. Thus individuals are able to expressed their opinions more confidently and eloquent if they are more comfortable without a crowd. Anonymous. n.d, The Virtual Community vs. Face to face “real life”, (Online) The only factor is beneficial to an organization with this communication method is that distance is not a barrier with online communication hence it is cost saving. Information is vast as there are more inputs of information constantly and that there is lesser group conflicts between members. And a reduction in chance of one member dominating against other members and those contributions of group members are recorded for references.
However the disadvantages includes the stimulation of unregulated and impulsive behavior. (Anonymous. n.d, Computer-Mediated Communication, (Online)) Confusion may be formed if many members of the group contribute their ideas all simultaneously and it can limit every member’s participation. Identity of member is not confirmed due to there is no physical presence. And it could prove to be a problem trying to get member’s contributions clear through texts hence could result in communication breakdown due to the absence of body language and facial expressions.
The disadvantages of virtual group communications includes contributions would have to be immediate to stay relevant with the group’s discussions and creates the tendency of members relying on the other members to accomplish the task without contribution. Multiple ideas contribution could lead to more confusion between group members therefore causing the barrier of interpretation of the message clear, inhibiting the group achievement of potential task performance.
Compared to face-to-face communications, there is presence of group members and that it would result in effective communication through the use of body language and facial expressions. It is instant verbal interaction between group members thus obtaining immediate feedback and concurrently forming new ideas. This would prove to be significant in an organization, as it would provide quality decision made through group member’s contributions.
Face-to-face communications is inhibited by time consumption due to traveling. Common in face-to-face group communications are conflicts arise through the tones and facial expression of individuals. It would promote ineffective communication due to language barriers and that ideas are easily forgotten due to one-way communication. Most crucial to organizations are members that are not contributing ideas due to the presence of a higher authority figure.
Face-to-face communications would inhibit effective group communication due to time difference, which means that organization group meetings would have to be scheduled and planned beforehand due to difference in time. To travel to other destinations to allow the participation of group communications would be time consuming. One of the problems with face-to-face communications is that it prevents other group members from generating new ideas while remembering the present idea. Other factors that inhibit ineffective face-to-face communication would be due to personality differences and language barriers and could result in the fear about possible negative evaluation.
With the comparisons of face-to-face and virtual group communications, my views are that although virtual group communication offers a better method for organization group communication. However, the traditional method of face-to-face group communication would still be the most appropriate method for group members to communicate effectively due to the vast amount of information being contributed simultaneously in virtual group communications, which does not contribute towards quality decision-making.
With face-to-face group communication, although there are issues relating to conflicts and no contributions by individuals due to domination, it is still the most effective communication method as contributed ideas are easily expressed through body language and facial expressions. As effective communication is the correct interpretation of the intended message, hence face-to-face group communication would prove to be the appropriate communication method for an organization.
Like it was mentioned that virtual group communication provides several factors that would assist organizations to operate group communications with cost saving, eliminating distance barrier and concurrently allow individuals to openly expressed their contributions unlike in a face-to-face meeting. Virtual group discussions can prove to be an alternative however face-to-face group discussion would still be the best discussions method for organization to adopt.
Fisher, B. A., Donald G.E. 1980, Effective Small Group Communication, (Online) Available on the World Wide Web: http://www.brocku.ca