The Impact of Certain Communication Nets Upon Organization and Performance in Task-Oriented Groups

Bavelas, Smith and Leavitt Bavelas, A. 1950. Communication patterns in task-oriented groups. J. Acoustical Soc. Amer.22 725--730. have posed the problem: what effect do communication patterns have upon the operation of groups? To study this problem they designed a laboratory situation that is a prototype of those occurring in “natural” organizations existing in government and business. Each member of the group is given certain information. Their task is to assemble this information, use it to make a decision, and then issue orders based on the decision. This design provides a situation stripped of the complexities of large-scale social groups but retaining some essential characteristics of the organizational communication problem. In it we can examine how the communication net affects simultaneously a the development of the organization's internal structure, and b the group's performance of its operating task.