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5 Variables that Affect Group Communication

Updated on December 24, 2017

A multitude of variables can affect the way individuals interact with others, as well as in a group. Some variables might include gender, cultural background, roles, trust, status, power, etc.

Five Variables

1. Verbal and nonverbal gender differences in communication that affect interaction with others in groups and in general.

2. How time from a multicultural perspective affects interpersonal or group interaction.

3. How we gain another's trust and how trust affects interactions between individuals and within a group.

4. The effect of cultural differences in interpersonal interactions, group work and including high/low-context, high/low-contact.

5. The affect of power and status differences in personal relationships with others such as teachers, parents, police officers, a boss, etc.


Gender Differences

Gender differences affect our communication with others on a one-to-one basis or while in group activities. Nonverbal communication is especially telling when we interact with others, such as facial expressions can usually tell us a lot about how a other person is feeling.

For example, women tend to be more expressive non-verbally than men. This is true while interacting in general and within groups. Coupled with verbal communication, the differences in gender are amplified.

Multicultural Perspective

The concept of time in a multicultural group may differ among members because the concept of time is viewed differently among different cultures.

Western cultures are more monochromic while eastern cultures are polychromic. So, the concept of time could affect an interpersonal interaction and group work from a multicultural perspective.


Gaining Trust

In a group, trust usually develops over a longer period of time than between individuals. The reason being that trust develops based on previous experiences. After some time, a person can predict how their other group members will behave in certain circumstance, so they are able to develop trust.

However, in an interaction between individuals, trust develops quicker because the individuals are able to interact on a more personal level and gain each other’s trust faster.

High & Low Contact

High and low contact can affect group interaction because cultures differ on comfort zones. Also, individual interaction is affected by high and low contact in much of the same way.

Status and power differences can affect our personal relationships with others. It can affect what kind of messages we communicate to others and the messages they communicate to us.

Nonverbal Expressions

Working in groups, men are less likely to exhibit nonverbal facial expressions in communication than women. Also, a person who has a higher status of power will tend to be more intimidating and use non-verbal expressions in a conversation.


Men & Women

Women generally speak in a softer voice than men and women are more expressive nonverbally then men are. Also, men use more hand gestures when talking than women will.

It is very interesting to see the differences of gender in communication. Trust, cultural differences, and the concept of time are important factors in group and individual communication.

Status & Power

If the differences are not understood, group work and individual communication can lack in some areas or become awkward. A person's status and position of power can also affect communication positively or negatively. It is amazing how complex communication is within groups and individual interaction.


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