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Title:Information, Influence and Technology in Group Decision-Making
Author(s):Hollingshead, Andrea Beth
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McGrath, Joseph E.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Speech Communication
Abstract:Past research concerning the relation between information pooling and group decision making has suggested a disturbing conclusion: that group members fail to pool uniquely held information, leading to suboptimal group decisions. Instead, group members tend to discuss information with which they are all already familiar and that often focuses on members' prediscussion preferences. This thesis examined the effects of three factors on the sharing of uniquely held information during group decision making: the degree of information processing required by the group decision task, the medium by which group members were communicating, and the access that group members had to information during the group discussion.
A laboratory experiment (using a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial design) was conducted to examine the effects of three factors on the sharing of uniquely held information and on the quality of the group decision: (1) Group decision task (rank order all alternatives vs. choose the best alternative); (2) Communication media (face to face vs. computer network); and (3) Information access (on-line vs. memory). In this experiment, three-person groups made a financial investment decision where one investment alternative was objectively better than the others, and where information sharing was required to discover the better alternative.
The results of the present study were consistent with past research: groups generally did not select the objectively optimal company for investment and the information presented during the group discussion focused on members' prediscussion preferences. However, there was a significant Group Decision Task x Communication Media interaction effect for decision quality. Groups in the face-to-face rank order conditions were most likely to discover the better alternative. Taken together, the results suggest that whether groups shared uniquely-held information to discover the correct alternative was related to the degree to which the correct alternative and the information pertaining to it, were considered in the decision process. The correct alternative was more likely to be considered by the group when: (1) at least 1 group member chose the correct alternative as their prediscussion preference; or (2) the group's decision task required the group to examine all alternatives (in the rank order conditions).
Issue Date:1993
Description:119 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9329059
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:1993

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