Within the group when these factors are important

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Unformatted text preview: torming groups rather than individual brainstorming.” (p263) There are indeed good reasons why organisations use brainstorming even if they know that it is not the most effective way of developing new ideas. There are essentially three reasons why it is done: q To increase decision acceptance. q To pool resources. q To benefit from speation of labour. Decision acceptance. If people have taken part in a brainstorming session, they often feel they have made The Brainstorming Myth 27 a real contribution to the outcome. People involved in contributing to the solution, if not actually making the decisions, may be expected to understand those decisions better and to be more committed to carrying them out than if the decisions had been made by somebody else without their involvement. In other words the brainstorming group serves the same function as many committees but may be seen as more creative and more fun. Resource pooling. Many believe that bringing people together can increase the amount of knowledge needed to make a good decision. Somehow the group is greater than the sum of its parts. Speation of labour. If, while working in groups (brainstorming or not), it becomes possible for individuals to do only those tasks for which they are best suited, the potential quality of the group’s efforts is improved. Brainstorming is popular, fun and seen by many as the way to do things. Most organisations appear not to know about the academic research in this field. If they do, they seem happy to trade off the outcome for the benefits of the group process. Electronic Brainstorming New computer-aided techniques to “unblock brainstorms” have been developed over the last ten years (Gallupe et al 1994). This so-called “electronic brainstorming” aims to overcome the problems of social loafing, evaluation apprehension and production blocking. Electronic brainstorming involves group members sitting at computer terminals and typing in their ideas, but also having full access to the others’ ideas as they are produced. It aims to integrate the two important and advantageous features of nominal and real group brainstorming, namely being able to generate ideas freely and also being able to share ideas respectfully. Ideas on the screen have not been found to be distracting, which was the case with traditional brain-storming (Gallupe et al 1994). Simultaneous contributions lessen the potential effect of blocking and the anonymous nature of the technique alleviates evaluation apprehension. In Gallupe’s original and pioneering study comparing electronic with non-electronic brainstorming, he found that electronic brainstorming four-person groups outperformed the four-person traditional (verbal) brainstorming groups and failed to find a difference between nominal and interacting groups using the electronic technique (Gallupe et al 1991, 1993). In electronic brainstorming groups, performance increased with group size, which contrasts with nonelectronic bra...
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