A Longitudinal Social Relations Analysis of Participation in Small Groups


  • A previous version of this paper was presented at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, Miami, 2003.

Joseph A. Bonito; e-mail: jbonito@u.arizona.edu.


Contrary to previous work in which task-related judgments are hypothesized to predict participation in small groups, the current study assumes that participation is both an outcome of and an influence on judgments of task-related ability. In this study, the association between task-relevant judgments and participation was examined at two points in discussion. Results from a path analysis indicated that substantive participation during the first minute of discussion was positively related to task-relevant judgments measured at the first-minute time. In turn, those judgments were positively associated with subsequent substantive participation. Finally, substantive participation predicted judgments taken at discussion’s end. Nonsubstantive participation and judgments were not directly associated with each other. Discussion addresses theoretical and methodological issues raised by the findings.