We investigate the stability and change of participation patterns in small groups by examining two longitudinal data sets at the individual and group levels of analysis. Rejecting the dichotomy between input and process models, we advance a view at the convergence of these two perspectives. We argue that stability in participation reflects input factors and that change emerges from process mechanisms. Study 1 analyzed discussion data from zero-history laboratory groups that worked on three similar tasks in succession, each with stable membership across the tasks. Results showed significant variation within participants and between groups, indicating that group members varied their participation as needed and that group-level factors influenced participation. Study 2 analyzed longitudinal data collected from the Australian Citizens' Parliament, where tasks and group membership varied over time. Study 2 replicated Study 1's findings, but analyses showed more complex patterns of both stability and change across groups and tasks. Taken together, results from the two studies support our position that both input and process mechanisms cause variation in participation. Our Conclusion examines how structural features and participation impact democratic group deliberation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics