Deviance in Group Work

My group, like many other students have mentioned in their blog posts, did not experience much deviation. The concept of an online class is hard as we do not have face to face interactions and have to rely solely on technology. Group projects are equally hard because you are relying on others to cooperate and most of the time you cannot control the outcome of their behavior. Put the two together and you have a difficult task to accomplish. My group was quiet at first when we were communicating through the forum but I believe that that was due to the setting. I found it hard to navigate to the page and we are so used to being notified when we are messaged that I often forgot to check if someone had responded in the forum. I was confused as to how five people could write an article together but the format of the assignment, with the ideas supposedly coming from different perspectives, it worked.

At first no one had taken the lead, we had to choose a topic and lay out who wanted to do what. After waiting a while and no one responding to my other group members in the forum I decided to choose a topic and create a google doc. I laid out the different tasks to be completed and had broken down the assignment. I emailed this to my group members.

There was no clear leader for my group. We all took our own parts equally and everyone stepped up in one way or another. The google doc did get confusing at times but we managed. Everyone helped each other out and chose their own parts. We collaborated on the finished product and made sure that we had met all of the requirements. I am usually one to go to bed earlier so it was almost deviant behavior from my perspective that the other students were finishing their work so late in the end. I had offered to post the final product so I had to wait until everyone had completed their part. I had left the computer for an hour while they were working and two of my group members posted the assignment on their own thinking I wasn’t coming back. It was hard to communicate with each other and make sure that this wasn’t happening  because all we had was emails and forum to contact each other through.

We all acted within the norms of student behavior and no one deviated from the other members. I can imagine this happening though because it happens with a lot of group projects during school. An example of deviant behavior during a class project would be someone not following the examples of their group. This would include being late on assignments, not putting in enough effort, etc. This can happen for any number of reasons but it may be due to the fact that the student did not have sufficient means to be in the norm, as stated in Merton’s Strain Theory of Deviance. This would be especially true in an online course such as this, technology and lack of time may come in the way. I was lucky enough to not experience any of this and have had an overall positive experience thus far with my group.

One thought on “Deviance in Group Work”

  1. Quick note to Group 2 folks (since this was a post about group dynamics):

    Some nice thoughtful posts from this group:
    • Interesting point from Ellie: “There were almost too many venues but not enough actual communication being done.” Communicating is definitely key and her points about language and the Internet were great. (I thought “chill” meant “calm down,” too.)
    • BTW, I changed the group names in the blog menu but totally forgot to change them in discussion forum! I won’t change now because I’m a little concerned about confusing people just as they’re doing the final group project.
    • Joe’s description of social control is a nice description of self-enforcement and external threat often work in tandem: “We all essentially agreed to not be deviant when we said that we would do our work when appropriate and would be reliable during assignments. … If someone in our group had shown deviant behavior and did not do his/her work on time, the professor would probably find out. If the professor found out, then that person’s grade would suffer accordingly. It’s this power that keeps everyone in line and promotes conformity.”
    • Breann mentions, “I was confused as to how five people could write an article together but the format of the assignment, with the ideas supposedly coming from different perspectives, it worked.” Now imagine real-world workplaces where people are constantly working together to create reports, presentations, and the like. More often than not, it’s that sort of collaboration that takes place in many work settings.
    • I thought Dhruv made this excellent point (with which Ellie agreed) about the social dynamics associated with group work: “ in the online community, it is difficult to get to know our fellow classmates, thus fear of social stigmas is less present than in most cases of group work completed.” I agree; and it’s a key reason I decided to drop most of the other group assignments I’d planned.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *