Small Group and Mass Communication

Small group communication is “a system of three to fifteen individuals who think of themselves as a group, are interdependent and communicate by managing messages for the purpose of creating meaning” (Socha 1997: 11).

Equal opportunity to communicate: small group communication, the group is small enough so that each member is able to interact with the other member. Furthermore, there should be some form of cohesion (closeness) among the group members.

Immediate feedback capability: small group communication is another form of interpersonal communication because members are able to interact with each other by providing feedback. Usually the sheer number of people in a group affects the amount of
communication (and feedback) happening in a group.

Concentration on a single task: people in small group communication usually share a common purpose or goal that brings them together for instance the need to solve a problem. The purpose or goal can be implicit or explicit to all group members and the purpose gives the group a common identity.

Ability to function without dividing into smaller group: in small group
communication, the group usually can function without a designated leader and the group tend to be informal and less structured. However, in some instances the group might have formalised structure with an identifiable leader.

Number of group members: different authors give differing numbers in terms of how many members can constitute a group in small group communication. However, most of them agree on a number between three and fifteen individuals.
Mass communication is defined as “messages that are transmitted by a source through a mass medium to large group of people who may not be in direct contact with the source
of messages” (Wood 2006: 308). Mass communication takes place when messages are communicated through mass media to the public. Mass media are channels of communication which include books, film, television, radio, newspapers, magazines and the web. In mass communication, there is less or no opportunity for interaction with the
producers conveying the messages. Benefits of using mass communication include the following:

 Mass communication allows for much wider and deeper access to information for the public.
 Communication through mass communication is much easier and instantaneous largely due to new technology.
 Mass communication is considered a major source of information to many people.
 There is a greater coverage due to mass media’s ability to reach the majority of people.
 Mass communication through mass media has great influence on individuals and society in general.

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