Intragroup communication characteristics levels importance examples
Intragroup communication is a process of information exchange that takes place between two or more individuals belonging to the same group. It is the counterpart of intergroup communication, in which the communication process takes place between individual members of different communities. This difference generates very different characteristics in the two phenomena.
Intragroup communication is normally considered a subtype of interpersonal. However, the special nature of the relationship between sender and recipient provides a number of features that make it necessary to study it separately.
There are many different theories about intragroup communication, because there are several phenomena that intervene in it. Understanding aspects such as the hierarchy of interlocutors, the common context they share, the nature of the relationships between them or their past history as a community is essential to understand what is happening.
In this article, we will see what are the most important characteristics of intragroup communication and how it differs from other types of information exchange with which it shares some similarities.
Characteristics of intragroup communication
– Occurs in specific communities
In social psychology, not all groups of people can be considered groups. On the contrary, they are entities with a series of their own characteristics that distinguish them from similar ones, such as organizations or common interpersonal relationships.
According to social theory, groups are usually composed of three to twenty people, with the most common number being five members. All the people who make them share a number of interests and have a common goal, which means they stay together over time, even if there is no specific event that catches their attention.
On the other hand, groups are regulated by a series of implicit and explicit norms, as well as common expectations that help their members to achieve their common goals. However, these rules and regulations are not imposed by one of the group members, but develop naturally over time.
– Has a complex nature
One of the most important characteristics of intragroup communication is that it does not normally occur simply between two people who belong to the same group.
On the contrary, to correctly understand what is happening, it is necessary to understand all the information exchanges that occur dynamically between the different members.
In this sense, one of the elements that most differs between this type of communication and other simpler ones is the context. As we’ve seen, each member’s expectations, hierarchies, past history, and their implicit and explicit norms come into play in a group.
So an outside observer who doesn’t know at least the most basic of all these elements will have a hard time understanding what’s really going on in a particular information exchange.
– Your role is related to the group itself
Not all information exchanges within a group fall into this category. For a message to be considered intragroup communication, it must be important to the functioning of the community. Therefore, there are only a few functions considered valid in this sense.
The most common types of intragroup communication are those that help members set new goals, improve relationships with each other, strengthen the group’s identity, increase motivation, or help keep the group stable.
Intragroup communication levels
There are many different theories of communication, but most of them divide information exchange processes into certain levels, from those that involve fewer individuals to those that take place in broader contexts.
Generally, the upper levels cover the lower ones. In this sense, communication at the level of an entire society (one of the highest levels) includes lower-level processes, such as those that refer to intrapersonal or intergroup communication.
From this point of view, intragroup communication is at one of the lowest levels that exist. Thus, the most accepted hierarchy would be the following:
– Intrapersonal communication.
– interpersonal level.
– Intragroup communication.
– Communication between groups.
– community level.
– level of society.
Still, there are many variants of this theory, which add various levels at different points in the hierarchy. In addition, each of them provides a number of features for each of the levels.
Understanding group communication is essential to understanding this social entity. The messages exchanged between the members of the community are one of the most useful tools for understanding the nature of the relationship between its members, in addition to those of the group itself.
In this sense, intragroup communication can serve to differentiate a circumstantial group from a purely social one. In addition, it also provides us with clues to understand the hierarchies and roles that each of its members plays, as well as data about their past history and about the culture and values of the community.
Within the group itself, intragroup communication is important because it is the main tool with which group members can improve their relationship, stay connected and move forward even in the most difficult times. Therefore, it is necessary for community members to be able to convey their emotions and thoughts in an appropriate manner.
Intragroup communication constitutes a large part of the interactions we carry out in our daily lives. This is because almost all of our relationships are part of a group, some very common examples are our family or our usual group of friends.
However, as we have already seen, not all interactions that occur within a group need be an example of this type of communication. A family debating where to go on vacation could be considered an intragroup communication interaction, but if they were talking about the weather, we would find ourselves facing a different kind of information exchange.