Identifying Diversity and Cohesion in Small Group Interaction

By Brandi Haughton.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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

Diversity, based in difference, can contribute to group creativity and inclusiveness. On the other hand cohesion, based in similarity, is seen as crucial for effective group functioning. This study explores the interplay of these two seemingly oppositional features of groups. While researchers examined diversity and cohesion in small groups primarily through quantitative, output measures, this study uses conversation analysis to investigate the actual processes through which group members communicate diversity and cohesion. Analysis from three dissimilar small groups shows these concepts in interaction: what they are, how people manifest diversity and cohesion, and how diversity and cohesion affect group outcomes. The analysis suggests rethinking these concepts as the dynamic interplay of diversity and cohesion in interaction provides optimal group functioning.

Keywords: Diversity, Cohesion, Small Group Interaction, Conversation Analysis, Group Process, Work Groups

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp.57-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 834.589KB).

Brandi Haughton

Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Brandi Haughton completed her Master of Arts in Organizational and Corporate Communication from Emerson College, Boston, MA. This paper is based on her recently- completed master’s thesis directed by Phillip Glenn. Her research interests include group cohesion and small group interaction.


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