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Unformatted text preview: research suggests it is not the best strategy. It is possible
that brainstorming groups fulfil other needs in the
organization, which may or may not compensate for
the resultant loss of creativity. Further, fundamental
processes at work in brainstorming groups appear to
militate against good decisions being made or really
creative answers being found.
If you have talented and motivated people, they should
be encouraged to work alone when creativity or
efficiency is the highest priority. Groups help
acceptance of the decision. But when the climate is
competitive and time is of the essence, use individuals
working alone. However, there are things that can be
done to ordinary brainstorming groups to make them
more productive. For instance one could insist that
Business Strategy Review group members initially brainstorm alone in writing
and bring a certain number of ideas to the meeting.
Groups could be encouraged to brainstorm different
parts of “the problem” separately. They also produce
more if they are set high targets/standards for both
quality and quantity. Firms also need to keep track of
the actual numbers of ideas that they generate. Giving
the group several breaks (from each other) has also
been shown to help the process. Certainly, as they are
traditionally and casually run in most firms, they are
among the least effective way of generating ideas.
Adrian Furnham is Professor of Psychology and
Director of the Business Psychology Unit at
University College London. References
Note: For a full list of references, please go to the Business
Strategy Review website at www.london.edu/bsr.
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Diehl, M. and Stroebe, W. (1987) Productivity loss in
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Furnham, A. and Yazdanpanahi, T. (1995) Personality
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Personality and Individual Differences 19, 73-80
Karau, S. and Williams, K. (1993). Social loafing: A metaanalytic review and theoretical integration. Journal of
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Larey, T. and Paulus, P. (1995) Social comparison and
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Osborn, A. (1957) Applied Imagination. New York:
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