Roles within Groups

Help your students to identify and fulfil the roles they adopt in their groups by explaining how different roles are important at different stages of group projects.

Below are descriptions of these stages, and how different roles contribute at different times towards successful group outcomes.

Roles include:

  • The Energiser
    Stimulates the group to take action

  • The Encourager
    Provides affirmation to other group members

  • The Initiator/Contributor
    Proposes ideas or ways of working

Roles include:

  • The Orienter
    Reflects, summarises group position

  • The Opinion Seeker
    Requests input from group members to ensure multiple perspectives are considered

  • The Opinion Giver
    Provides opinion for the group to consider

  • The Information Seeker
    Seeks clarification of ideas, identifies information needed and researches

  • The Information Giver
    Provides factual information from research and experience

  • The Recorder
    Takes minutes

Roles include:

  • The Gatekeeper/Expediter
    Regulates discussion to ensure all have a say

  • The Harmoniser
    Negotiates and conciliates difficult discussions

  • The Compromiser
    Offers to change position for group’s benefit

Roles include:

  • The Procedural Technician
    Facilitates progress by organising logistics

  • The Elaborator
    Develops others ideas and adds detail to progress group product

  • The Coordinator
    Links and aligns ideas to form cohesive group product

Roles include:

  • The Evaluator/Critic
    Compares progress and product to goals and assessment criteria

  • The Observer/Commentator
    Provides feedback to group

Dysfunctional roles were also identified

Look out for The Aggressor, The Blocker, The Dominator and The Disrupter: these roles rarely assist group cohesion or effectiveness. Ask students to reflect on their ability to play different roles and the likelihood of adopting of dysfunctional roles. Reflection templates could include strategies for self-management to minimise the expression of dysfunctional roles.

Additional reading