The effect of group size upon influence and process in group communication
Motivated by field work (Chapter 1), this thesis investigates how current models of interpersonal communication, based on dyadic (or pairwise) communication (Chapter 2), apply to different sized discussion groups. Following a pilot study (Chapter 3), a series of five and ten person experimental discussion groups were compared (Chapter 4).Consistent with the Collaborative Model of communication, in the five person groups participants' understanding of what was agreed in their discussion was influenced by who they spoke with. In the ten person groups, as predicted by the Autonomous Models of communication, participants were influenced by the group's dominant speaker. Next, the communication taking place in the different sized discussions was compared (Chapter 5). This revealed that the communication taking place in the five person group resembled a dialogue, whereas in the ten person group it resembled a monologue. Finally, the difference in mode of communication is explained in terms of how speakers in the two sizes of group design their utterances for different audiences (Chapter 6).