One of the topics we continue to discuss with great passion, is the need for a better message on behalf of U.S. farmers. The agricultural community is not the only one who thinks so. A story by NPR concluded that the message of “we feed the world” is no longer a message that resonates with the American public. The story cites a survey where consumers were ask if they think the U.S. even has a responsibility to provide food to the rest of the world. Only 13 percent of these consumers strongly agreed. Additionally, the article mentions focus groups where people said that if feeding the world means more industrial-scale farming, they’re not comfortable with it.
I guess I am not surprised by this, but I think most farmers will be. This is a message that agricultural producers announce loudly and proudly. How does this message continue despite consumers not relating to it? Is this a form of groupthink? Agriculturalists like this message; but if the public doesn’t, how do we change it? What did you learn in this week’s readings related to group communication that might offer suggestions to help? Are there theories of interpersonal communication at play here too?
Think about a specific group you are involved with. What symbols does this group use that have specific meaning for your group. Do these carry a different meaning for outsiders in the way the “feed the world” message does? Which stage of Tuckman’s model do you think your group (has) reached? Does your group have the four requisite functions of effective decision-making? How could knowledge of rules and resources help members of your group be more strategic in reaching the goals and objectives of the group?
The theories in the book related to group communication have underlying assumptions that group decisions are better than individual decisions and that some form of conflict (storming, direct discussion of issues, etc.) is helpful for these decisions. Do you agree with both of these assumptions? Why or why not?