Analysis of Group Communication in Ocean’s Eleven


Ocean’s Eleven is a 2001 movie directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring some of the greatest actors in Hollywood. Some of which include George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon. The main character in this movie is Danny Ocean (George Clooney), who is the leader of the group. The movie starts with Ocean getting out of prison on parole and searching for a group of people to work with on his next mission.

The task to be accomplished by the group of people is to successfully rob three casinos in Las Vegas, which are always under heavy security guard. This is a real challenge for Ocean and he has to recruit people who can help him accomplish this task successfully. The small group that is challenged to the task in this movie includes Ryan and Tishkoff who are friends of Ocean, Frank Catton, Virgil Malloy, Turk Malloy and Basher Tall. In summary, the group comprises of eleven members each of whom has a specific task to accomplish. In addition, the team members are recruited according to their expertise in different areas, which are essential for the success of the group. This movie represents the perfect example of a small group where communication is necessary in order to achieve success.


In a small group situation, communication is necessary in order to express and share ideas effectively. It is important for the members of a group to have good communication skills if they are to build effective interpersonal relationships. In Ocean’s Eleven, the group had to communicate in different ways in order to make a plan that would work in their favor. One of the types of communication used in this group is task communication. Danny Ocean has the responsibility of a leader in this group. The idea of robbing the casino is his and this means he naturally emerged as the leader. In addition, he has to convince the other members that the task can be accomplished successfully. Task communication is also seen when the group shares ideas that will help in accomplishing their task. Everyone has their specific parts to play and without each of them, the group would fail. For example, Tishkoff does not really want to participate in the plan but Ocean convinces him that it will work, making him part of the team. Before the members embark on implementing the plan, each member has to understand their role in relation to the whole group. In this movie, if one person does not play their part, the whole plan will fail. Task communication helps the Ocean’s Eleven team to focus on the task ahead and share ideas that are essential for the success of the team. In summary, task communication is constructive for this group and affects the overall outcome of the plan effectively.

Another type of communication that exists in this group is climate communication. Climate communication usually focuses on creating a healthy environment for interpersonal relationships to exist in a group. In a group situation, this kind of communication is important as it creates a conducive mood for people to focus on their work. The team displayed in this movie is made up of people who are known to have high tempers and this can ruin the climate in group communication. Ocean as a team leader always has to restore the right climate for the group to focus on their work. For example, at one point Basher who is an explosives expert, discovers that the city engineers have discovered a weakness in the subterranean fuse, which Basher was planning to use in enacting their plan. This creates a feeling of despair among the members and this disrupted the happy mood that had existed previously. Danny Ocean has to come in and talk to Basher so that they come up with another plan. Climate communication works constructively for this team whenever they have a problem. In addition, the leader has to note when something disrupts the climate of the team. He has to resolve such situations and restore the climate.

There are features that differentiate small groups from other groups of people as described in the society. A group cannot be described as a small group if it lacks some of these features. In Ocean’s Eleven, the group possesses some of the characteristics of small groups while some are missing. The first characteristic that is displayed by this group is cohesion. Cohesion refers to the ability of different people in a group to work together in a complimentary way. This means that the differences between people do not divide them but rather enhance the relationship between them. In the team described in this movie, the members of the team are highly diverse and this is a major challenge to cohesion. For example, Virgil and Turk Malloy are immature and do not take things seriously. This should be a problem to the rest of the team but they choose to ignore them because they have a role to play in the success of the team. This is seen in the scene where Ocean and Basher go to pick an explosive device in a science lab leaving the two and Linus in the car. They are seen wrestling in the car while their teammates expect them to be on high alert. This team exhibits a highly cohesive system as they tolerate and accept each other and with all the differences that exists between them. Cohesiveness in a group is important as it creates an avenue for the members to be themselves without criticism. In this group, it enhances harmony making it easier to accomplish the task ahead.

Power is usually a point of conflict in small groups. People usually fight to be in power or rebel against existing power. In the team that is portrayed in this movie, Danny Ocean is the leader and possesses the power of making decisions in the group. As mentioned earlier, the idea of robbing the casinos was his and he was responsible for assembling the team. This made him the leader of the group because he was running the team. However, other members also have the freedom of presenting ideas that are discussed by the group and passed if they are viable. This group does not have a defined power structure but the members know that Danny is the leader.

This group demonstrates some of the required characteristics of small groups. This is seen when they successfully rob a casino in Las Vegas. They are faced with many challenges but teamwork helps them to accomplish their goals. However, some areas of group communication need improvement. First, the group needs to have a defined power structure in a way that everyone understands how things are run in the group. Having only one leader is not practical because when he is not there, the group paralyzes. In addition, the people would know where to report incase things went wrong. A defined power structure helps to give different people the task of making decision. In addition, the diversity in the group is well represented in the leadership.

Another way to improve communication in this group is to create ways in which members can share ideas in each of the different parts of a project. In this team, each member focuses on their own task without any recognition of other people’s tasks. This is dangerous to the overall group because all these tasks have to be incorporated together for the task to be successful. All the members of the team should have at least some understanding of what other people are doing. This makes it easier for the plan to work on the implementation day. The Ocean’s Eleven team had separated duties according to each person’s expertise, which is a good model for small groups.


In conclusion, Ocean’s Eleven is a movie that can be used to effectively understand communication in small groups. The different types of communication presented by this group include task and climate communication. The success of this team can be attributed to effective ways of communication, which ensured that the task was completed according to plan. Cohesion and diversity helped to create the right climate for group communication.

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