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Abstract

Research on the effects of deviance during group decision making has shown that although it can lead to increased innovation and creativity within the group, group members often dislike the deviant member and rate group morale as lower because of dissent during the decision-making process. The current study (N = 101) uses an information processing approach to examine the effect of deviance on decision outcomes as well as investigate how the perceived position of group members can influence whether they are given leeway to voice dissent. Results found that deviance can improve group decision making without incurring social costs when a deviant group member occupies a central position within the group. These findings are novel within the field of deviance research yet are consistent with research on group criticism and idiosyncrasy credit and therefore have significant implications for literature on the effect of group deviance and the application of deviance techniques within organisational and educational settings. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.