Intragroup Communication: What Is It And What Are Its Characteristics

A summary that will help you understand the characteristics of this common type of communication.

Intragroup communication

Do you know what intragroup communication consists of? In this article we will talk about this concept: its definition, functions and the three principles that govern it. But first we will analyze the concept of group, essential to understand intra-group communication processes.

Finally, we will talk about the Johari window technique, developed by Luft and Ingram (1970) and which is used in companies to analyze intra-group (internal) communication that occurs within a work team.

Group elements

To fully understand the concept of intra-group communication, we believe it is necessary to first know what is understood as a group, since intra-group communication, as we will see, is that which occurs within (or within) a group.

In the context of group and social psychology, we find multiple definitions of group. We have selected, for being quite complete, one of Mc David and Harari. These authors maintain that a group is “an organized system of two or more individuals who carry out some function, role relationships between members and a set of norms that regulate the function.”

Furthermore, the group encompasses different individual behaviors, which, although they are not homogenized in intra-group interaction (through intra-group communication), may come to be perceived as part of an entity (the group).

Essential factors

But what factors determine the constitution of a group? According to one author, Shaw, for a group of subjects to form a group, these three characteristics must exist (not all authors have the same opinion):

1. Common destiny

This means that all its members go through similar experiences, and that they have the same common goal.

2. Similarity

The members of the group are similar in terms of observable appearance.

3. Proximity

This characteristic has to do with the specific spaces shared by the members of the group, which facilitate the fact of considering this group as a unit.

Intragroup communication: what is it?

Before continuing, we are going to define the concept of intra-group communication. Intragroup communication is that communication that occurs between a group of people belonging to the same group. It encompasses all those interactions that take place within a group that is united by one or more common objectives or interests.

In other words, intra-group communication includes all the communicative exchanges that take place between the different members that make up the same group. It encompasses behaviors and behaviors, conversations, attitudes, beliefs, etc. (everything that is shared in the group for any purpose).

Features

What role does intragroup communication play in a group? Mainly, it offers him a certain hierarchical and organizational structure. In addition, I also provide the group with the required compatibility so that it can articulate with other groups.

This second function is developed thanks to the communication or development network, a formal network that allows groups to communicate with each other, that is, to exchange information and knowledge.

The intra-group communication that occurs within the groups can be formal or informal, and the two types of communication allow the group to mature, grow, nurture and, ultimately, consolidate as such. Of course, formal and informal exchanges vary in terms of their characteristics, of course.

Principles of intragroup communication

We can talk about up to three principles that govern intra-group communication (which can also be applied to inter-group communication, that which occurs between groups):

1. Principle of congruence

This principle of intra-group communication refers to an open attitude towards the other when expressing our thoughts and feelings.

2. Principle of recognition

The principle of recognition implies an attitude of listening (and even “looking”) towards the other, stripping ourselves of all prejudice and stereotype and always avoiding prejudging or disqualifying the behaviors, thoughts or feelings of the other by the mere fact of not agreeing with them .

3. Principle of empathy

The third principle of intragroup (and intergroup) communication has to do with a benevolent attitude that allows us to enter into the thoughts and feelings of the other, yes, without denying our own identity.

In addition, it also involves recognizing that the thoughts and feelings of the other are unique, and are the only way for us to establish a relationship of sympathy or compassion with them.

Internal communication technique in companies

This technique, developed by Luft and Ingram (1970) is called “The Johari window”, and its mission is to analyze intra-group communication in work teams. To apply it, we must imagine that each person has an imaginary window, called the Johari window.

This window allows each one to communicate with the rest of the team, and each window indicates the degree of communication between that person and the rest of the members of the group or team.

Areas in intragroup communication

The authors of this technique propose up to four areas that are configured within intragroup communication, and that constitute the basis of the Johari window technique to analyze this type of communication in work teams.

1. Free area

It is the area where all the aspects that we know about ourselves are found, aspects that others also know. These are usually things that we can talk about normally, which do not cause a major problem.

This area is usually very limited in new work teams, so there is no free and honest communication.

2. Blind area

In this area are located the aspects that others see and know about us, but that we do not see or do not perceive with the naked eye (for example, excessive sincerity, lack of tact, small behaviors that can hurt or annoy others, etc.).

3. Hidden area

It is the area where everything that we know about ourselves is found, but that we refuse to reveal, because they are personal issues for us, intimate or that we simply do not want to explain (out of fear, shame, suspicion of our privacy, etc.) .

4. Unknown area

Finally, in the fourth area of ​​intragroup communication proposed by Luft and Ingram, we find all those aspects that neither we nor the rest of the people (in this case, the rest of the work team) know about (or are not aware of it).

They are aspects (behaviors, motivations …) that can be known by people outside the team, and that could even become part of any of the previous areas.

Evolution of the four areas and intragroup communication

Continuing with the Johari window technique, as the group (in this case, the work team) evolves and matures, so does its intra-group communication. This results in an increase in the first area (free area), because trust between members gradually increases and more conversations, more confessions, etc. take place. For this reason, people gradually tend to hide less and reveal more information about themselves.

Thus, when information is crossed between the hidden area and the free area, this is called self-opening (that is, when we reveal “hidden” information about us, leaving it “free”).

For its part, the second area, the blind area, is the one that takes the longest to reduce in size, since this implies calling someone’s attention for a certain attitude or behavior that they have had and that we did not like.

These are usually behaviors that interfere with the proper functioning of a work team. Bringing these behaviors out into the open is called effective feedback.

Objective of the work team

Regarding intragroup communication of work teams, and referring to the aforementioned areas, the objective of these teams is that little by little the free area increases, and possible taboos, secrets or lack of knowledge are reduced (and even eliminated). trust in the group.

Bibliographic references:

  • Andrade, H. (2005). Internal organizational communication: process, discipline and technique. Netbiblo: Spain.
  • Fritzen, SJ (1987). Johari’s window. (7th Ed.). Editorial SAL Terrae Santander: Spain.
  • Viggiano Guard, N. (2009). Language and communication. Central American Educational and Cultural Coordination (CECC): Costa Rica.
  • Hogg, MA and Vaughan, M. (2010). Social psychology. Editorial Panamericana.

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