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Social and professional groups have various roles that need individuals to perform certain roles in order for the group to be functional and effective in the execution of their core goal. The roles taken up can be assigned based on a person’s ability or based on an individual’s natural characteristics. Group roles can be categorized into two major parts task roles and maintenance roles. Task roles refer to the roles related to the leadership of the group. Maintenance roles relate to the roles played by the group members in the effect of ensuring the survival or maintenance of the group. The group task roles consist of initiator, coordinator, evaluator, energizer, elaborator, recorder, information seeker and the information giver, the opinion seekers and givers. The different roles players perform different tasks that all contribute to the overall success of the group.

Types of roles

The initiator’s core role is the initiator of ideas that the group could use to solve given problems or ideas that would lead to the successful completion of the group task. A person playing this role proposes suggestions that often lead to new discussions within the group. The informants comprise of two types of persons, the information seeker play the roles of information clarification to determine the factual and expert relevance of information. The information giver plays the role of information finding through research and provides relevant examples acquired through personal experiences. The coordinator offers coherence of the ideas proposed and the information sought. This role is important to the group in ensuring that group ideas are cohesive. The elaborator determines the consequences of the proposed ideas and seeks out to propose the best of all the ideas. The evaluator criticizes the ideas provided by other group members in an effort to ensure that all the ideas are reasonable and correct. The energizer ensures members participate in all discussions and encourages the group to move forward, this person is also known as the simulator. The recorder plays the role of a secretary, records and put to paper the ideas that are proposed as well as the conclusion arrived at by the group.

Number of persons for a role

The number of group members is independent of these group roles thus some groups are often seen to be smaller or larger than the number of roles available. This is so as different roles can be played by a single individual though. Roles that could be executed by a single individual may include the role on information seeking and the role of information giving. The roles of opinion seeker and opinion giver could also be played by a single individual. Such would include the role of the initiator or the recorder. Single execution of such roles ensures coherence and the elimination of contradiction that would be brought about by the differences in view points.

Ranking group roles

The different roles played by group members are equally important for the successful completion of the group tasks and purpose. Some roles played within the group are active while others are passive. Active role players may be seen as more important such as that played by the initiator than the passive members such as the recorder. All roles are equally important and there is no prescribed order in which the different roles may be taken up.

Personal experience

In instances where I have been in a group setting, I tend to play the role of the coordinator. This role naturally fits my personality as I often seek coherence of all the information and circumstances presented to me. The most frequent role played is that of ensuring that all ideas presented to the group do not contradict. This is best accomplished through seeking expert advice and research. Roles such as those played by the recorder are the ones that I find most difficult to accomplish as it is passive and involves the mere recording of the information provided by the group members without synthesis and explanation. My experience as a recorder a role assigned to me in a social grouping resulted to the group having partially recorded minutes as I found myself lost in the discussions in an attempt to find clarity and coherence of ideas put forward by the other group members.

Summary

The existence of many roles that could be performed by the group members creates confusion in the person. The confusion arises from the fact that members may not have an understanding of the importance of the different roles. This creates tension within the group when some members undermine roles played by some of the members. Knowledge on the importance of the different group roles would help a group communicate and work together. Such knowledge ensures that an individual understands their individual roles as well as those of their colleagues. Members are given equal chances of executing their duties an element achieved if one does not feel irrelevant. Such knowledge is essential in ensuring that members complete their roles and understand the different roles they may be assigned. It ensures flexibility.

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