Gary Lee Iman

Date of Graduation

Spring 2012


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Gloria Galanes


functional theory, small groups, technology pedagogy, task-functions, training

Subject Categories



This thesis explores functional theory of groups and college small groups. Functional theory states that groups can most effectively solve problems and make decisions following specific task-functions such as identifying the problem, establishing criteria, exploring all solutions, analyzing all possible solutions, and collectively deciding on an answer. Three research questions that focused on training groups in functional theory and the use of a technology-based instructional tool were explored. The focus of the questions were satisfaction, grade outcomes, and perceptions of training. An experimental research design was used to answer the research questions utilizing quantitative and qualitative methods. A key independent variable was the method of instruction. The experimental group was taught about functional theory using a video technology-based instructional tool prior to the group being assigned a semester-long group project. The control group had a traditional instructor introducing the group project without any small group instruction. The study found between the experimental group and the control group there was no significant difference in levels of satisfaction and there was no significant difference found in grade outcomes for two group projects. There was a significant difference found in the team participation part of grade outcomes. The study revealed limitations that included weaknesses in the presentation of the experiment manipulation and training of the experimental group.


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