Date of Award

1972

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Author's Department

Speech Communication

First Advisor

Calvin N. Smith

Abstract

The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of leader presence and moderate stress upon sentiment and interaction in small groups. Seventy-four students were selected from the required speech course at Eastern Illinois University to serve as subjects. These subjects were assigned to sixteen groups, ranging from four to five members per group.

Silent and absent leadership, imposed stress and no stress were introduced to the groups through a 2 X 2 factorial design. In one condition (N = 18) the group leader provided instructions and then remained silent during group interaction, and moderate stress--an announced time barrier--was introduced to the group. In another condition (N = 19) the leader remained silent during group interaction, but no stress was imposed. In a third exposure (N = 18) the leader was not present during group interaction, and moderate stress was imposed. In the fourth variation (N = 19) the leader was not present during interaction and no stress was imposed.

All the groups were exposed to twenty minutes of problem-solving discussion with the leader initiating the appropriate style of leadership and stress. Each group attempted to provide solutions to the same set of deductive thought problems. Each group received the same introductory instructions and the appropriate comments concerning style of leadership and stress.

Sentiment data were obtained by twelve items on a post-session questionnaire that explored the feelings of the participants about group atmosphere, willingness to contribute to group goals, competition, and group morale. Interaction information was gathered by trained interaction observers who recorded the utterances of each group participant.

The results indicated the following: (1) although by numerical examination the Absent leader-No Stress exposure revealed the highest level of sentiment and the Silent leader-No Stress exposure revealed the lowest level, these differences were not statistically significant; (2) subjects in the Absent leader-Stress exposure rated highest in interaction; (3) subjects receiving the Silent leader-Stress exposure and subjects receiving the Absent leader-No Stress exposures rated equally in interaction; and (4) subjects receiving the Silent leader-No Stress exposure rated lowest in interaction, but not significantly lower than subjects in the Absent leader-No Stress exposure.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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