TESTING A STRUCTURAL-FUNCTIONAL MODEL OF GROUP DECISION MAKING USING MARKOV ANALYSIS

Authors

  • WILLIAM A. DONOHUE,

    1. William A. Donahue is assistant professor of communciation at Michigan State University. He received his Ph.D. in 1976 from Ohio State University.
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  • LEONARD C. HAWES,

    1. Leonard C. Hawes is associate professor of communication at the University of Utah. He received his Ph.D. in 1970 from the University of Minnesota.
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  • TIMOTHY MABEE

    1. Timothy Mabee is a research associate in the Department of Communication at Michigan State University. He received his M. A. from the Annenberg School in 1974.
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Abstract

This research had two main objectives: to determine how groups hold themselves together and make decisions over time, and to confront three key issues that have traditionally hindered research progress about group processes: First, what is the most useful way of conceptualizing and operationalizing the concept of “group process” to go beyond description to explanation? Second, can Markov analysis be used to go beyond description and move toward explaining group processes, and if so, what conceptual framework would be most useful to accomplish this goal? Third, how can we use explanations of processes to begin building theories of communication that are rooted in interaction structure? To accomplish these objectives, several group discussions were modeled as a structural-functional system, and Markov analysis was used to test the extent to which the discussions fit the system model. Finally, the results of the study were discussed concerning their ability to build theories of communication.

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