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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
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.
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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This document was uploaded on 09/30/2013.
- Spring '13
- The Land