The existential center of small groups: Member's conduct and interaction

Joseph A. Bonito, Robert E. Sanders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


In every society groups rather than individuals are given responsibility for producing results that individuals potentially could produce just as well, but without the benefits of group effort. Once a small discussion group is convened, the members can be counted on to interact, often at length and sometimes contentiously, incontrovertible evidence that their interaction accomplishes something over and above what comes about because of characteristics of the task, cognitive processing, and context. And in order for members to achieve the collaboration and interdependence that make them a group rather than co-present individuals, they must interact. Hence, it is essential for small group researchers to examine behavioral data (by which we mean interactional conduct) if we are to understand what gives small groups the distinct utilities with which they are credited. This position does not mean that individual motivation, cognition and information processing, and other related phenomena should be ignored. It means rather that these matters are secondary to and contingent on interactional conduct and processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-358
Number of pages16
JournalSmall Group Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • data analysis
  • decision-making
  • group interaction
  • social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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