Emotions and Group Work in Higher Education: Does Difference Make a Difference?

By Jo Monson and Jean Redpath.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This article links student emotions during group work to a measure of demographic difference and makes suggestions for student group process and outcomes. Analysing the results from an open-ended questionnaire which probed student feelings, associations were found, for instance, between higher levels of demographic difference and anxiety and by contrast with demographic conformity and enjoyment. Greater difference was associated with lower self-scoring relative to the group. The article further goes on to investigate group process and suggests guidelines for setting these more clearly in order genuinely to prepare students for working in diverse environments. It is argued that this will also advance the transformation agenda in higher education by avoiding reproducing the structural relationships and experiences of the South African past.

Keywords: Emotions, Difference, Group Work, Group Process, Diversity, Transformation

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp.57-74. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 829.232KB).

Jo Monson

Lecturer, Professional Communication Unit, School of Management Studies, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Jo Monson is a communication lecturer, coach, workshop facilitator and materials developer based at the Professional Communication Unit, School of Management Studies, University of Cape Town. In the last year, she has been focused on researching aspects of transformation at UCT from a phenomenological and interpersonal perspective. As a communications specialist, most of Jo’s experience is working for organisations involved with social change. This includes, for example, developing advocacy and educational materials around HIV/AIDS and an action research project with school communities to create safety nets for vulnerable children. Jo holds a Diploma in Practitioner Coaching from the Coaching Centre, a Master of Arts Degree and a BA Dramatic Art (Honours), both from the University of the Witwatersrand. Jo has a special interest in gender and diversity issues.

Jean Redpath

Independent Researcher, South Africa


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