Dimensions of group process: Amount and structure of vocal interaction

James M. Dabbs, R. Barry Ruback

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


This chapter brings together the work of Hackman and Moms, Bales, and Jaffe and Feldstein into a model that is both manageable and intricate enough to capture the subtle details of ongoing group process. It describes a conceptual model that speaks directly to questions related to the dimensions of amount and structure and discusses data from three studies that are suggestive of the importance of these two dimensions to an understanding of group process. It also presents an automated data collection system that requires no human observers. The chapter defines process in terms of talking (Shaw, 1964), including both the amount of talking and the patterns of talking among group members. The chapter considers the amount and structure of content-free measures and the way they both can be affected by factors about the task facing the group, the overall group, and the individual members. The amount of vocal activity can range from silence to everyone speaking at once. Although much of the research on brainstorming has contrasted nominal groups with real groups, group interaction can range from none at all (in nominal groups) to various levels (in various real groups).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-169
Number of pages47
JournalAdvances in Experimental Social Psychology
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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