Article Abstract

Larson, J. R., Jr., Foster-Fishman, P. G., & Keys, C. B. (1994).  Information sharing in decision-making groups.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 446-461.

.   The effects of task importance and group decision training on the discussion behavior of decision-making groups were investigated.  Three-person groups decided which of 3 hypothetical faculty candidates would be the best person to teach an introductory psychology course.  Prior to discussion, some of the information about each candidate was given to all group members (shared information), whereas the remainder was randomly divided among them (unshared information).  In general, groups discussed much more of their shared information than their unshared information. Increasing the importance of the task slowed the rate at which information was brought forth during discussion.  By contrast, group decision training increased the amount of both shared and unshared information discussed and altered the sequential flow of shared and unshared information into the discussion: Discussion in untrained groups focused first on shared information and then on unshared information; discussion in trained groups did not shift focus over time.  Results are discussed in terms of an information-sampling model of group discussion and the role of discussion in group decision-making effectiveness.