the-brainstorming-myth1(2)

Validity might look at a study of employees of a

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Unformatted text preview: ees of a corporation who had undergone considerable training for effective teamwork. Even then the brainstorming groups generated only about half as many ideas as similar number of individuals working alone: “In spite of common beliefs about the efficacy of group brainstorming, controlled research has demonstrated significant productivity losses in interactive groups. These types of findings lead some to suggest that there is little justification for group brainstorming in organizations. The results of this study provide additional support for such a perspective. However, we feel that the potential of group brainstorming as an adjunct to individual brainstorming has not received a completely fair assessment. It is necessary to examine various combinations of individual and group brainstorming under conditions that are likely to take advantage of potential stimulation from interaction with diverse group members. This may require the use of facilitators for both individual and group brainstormers.” (Paulus et al 1995, p262-3) Three Processes Which Make Brainstorming Ineffective Reviewers of this research have pointed out that there are traditionally three separate processes that reduce Business Strategy Review the effectiveness of brainstorming (Diehl and Stroebe 1987, Gallupe et al 1994): q Social loafing: t he group context enables individuals to make less effort. q Evaluation apprehension: fear of suggesting ideas which might make one look foolish. q Production blocking: any one group member can suggest an idea at any moment. Social loafing Social loafing has been found for a wide variety of tasks. These include: q Physical tasks – such as rope pulling and swimming. q Cognitive tasks – such as navigating mazes and identifying radar signals on a computer screen. q Creative tasks – such as thought listing and song writing. q Evaluative tasks – such as rating the quality of poems, editorials, and clinical therapists. q Work-related tasks – such as typing and evaluating job candidates. In the 1880s, Ringlemann examined the effects of working collectively on a rope-pulling task and noted a decrease in performance with increasing group size (Kravitz and Martin 1986). These results were essentially ignored, regarded with scepticism, or interpreted as a mere artifact of lack of co-ordination among group members rather than as a reflection of motivation loss. It was not until 1974 that Ringlemann’s findings were replicated, and an additional 15 years passed before the motivational component of this effect was understood as an important and reliable phenomenon in itself and given the label “social loafing”. Working in groups has traditionally been seen to have two opposing potential effects, social loafing and social facilitation. Social loafing occurs when interacting group members (with pooled outputs) exert less effort than similar participants working alone. However, depending on the task, individually-identifiable participants’ per...
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