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What is Roles in Working Groups
Roles in working groups (Group Roles) is a term designating working roles, which members of the working groups hold. Kenneth Benne and Paul Sheats (1948) defined 25 roles in three groups - task roles, group building roles and self-center roles.

Roles in working groups (Group Roles) is a term designating work roles, which members of the working groups hold. Kenneth Benne and Paul Sheats (1948) defined 27 roles in three groups:

  • Task roles - focused on completing group’s goal (12 roles)

    • Initiator/Contributor - proposes new ideas that relate to the problem or its solution
    • Information Seeker - puts emphasis on facts and information from other people
    • Information Giver - provides factual information to the group
    • Opinion Seeker - calls for expression of attitudes and feelings about ideas discussed
    • Opinion Giver - expresses attitudes, feelings, and conclusion based on group values
    • Coordinator - integrates information coming from the group
    • Energizer - encourages the group to act
    • Orienter - directs the discussion and return it to the topic, when the group departs
    • Elaborator - clarifies and elaborates the views put forward by others
    • Evaluator/Critic - uses standards to evaluate the results of the group
    • Recorder - records the activities of the group and notes of meetings
    • Procedural Technician - takes care of routine tasks, such as providing materials and supplies
  • Group-Building / Maintenance Roles - focused on building interpersonal relationships, maintaining harmony (7 roles)

    • Encourager - encourages others to get involved
    • Harmonizer - attempts to solve conflicts between the members of the group
    • Compromiser - offers members who are in conflict, mutually acceptable solutions
    • Gatekeeper - regulates communication so that everyone could express
    • Standard Setter - controls if the group holds its standards
    • Group Observer and Commentator - objectively comments the atmosphere and interaction within the group
    • Follower - accepts ideas of others and holds the majority
  • Self-center Roles - focused on group prevention from reaching goals (8 roles)

    • Aggressor - seeks to enforce by challenging other
    • Blocker - attempts to hinder the activities of the group and refuses to go with a group
    • Recognition Seeker - attempts to highlight his own achievements to get attention
    • Self-confessor - uses the group to deal with personal problems
    • Playboy or Playgirl - quips and distracts from the task
    • Dominator - seeks to dominate the group
    • Help Seeker - tries to elicit sympathy by expressing his own insecurity or inability
    • Special Interest Advocate - endlessly asserts irrelevant wishes and ideas

The key point in relation to the above model is that the roles don’t represent personality types. They are only possible behavior patterns of team members in different situations and in this way the model should be therefore perceived - for example, someone can temporarily act as the aggressor (e.g. due to fatigue and stress) but in a long term he can successfully and smoothly play the role of mediator.

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Last update: 03.08.2016

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