A Typology of Tasks (Excerpt)
From: Groups: Interaction and Performance
By J.E. McGrath

Sep 13, 1999


McGrath attempts to provide a model capable of classifying all possible group tasks. His model consists of 8 different kinds of task, arranged in a two-dimensional pie chart or as he calls it circumplex. His model allows identifying characteristics and relations between the different task by the positioning in the circumplex. There are four types of processes: Generate, Evaluate, Negotiate and Execute. These processes can be divided in two, depending on characteristics of the task such as a cooperative vs. conflict nature or conceptual vs. behavioral nature.


The model seems coherent, in the sense that all its components 'click' together. However it assumes that any task can be classified in one and just one of these categories. This seems to ignore the situated nature of human actions and the fact that human activity is performed at multiple levels. Persons may be members of more that one group simultaneously. Therefore task may be view differently depending on the perspective being used.