This study examined group communication processes at a Teaching Renewal Retreat (TRR), an event designed to share ideas and to create a community of teaching scholars. The analysis of questionnaire and interview data used both functional and dialectical perspectives to examine participants’ experiences. Regression analysis results for the small groups functioning within the TRR indicated that particular group communication processes, specifically high quality communication and equal participation, predicted participants’ ratings of satisfaction and effectiveness of their small groups. In addition, participants had to manage various dialectical tensions, such as inclusion and exclusion, designed and emergent structures, as well as appropriate and inappropriate participation. Overall, the combination of the two perspectives in this study provided insight into communication in these naturally occurring groups with ambiguous goals. © 2007 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All right reserved.