Information Suppression and Status Persistence in Group Decision Making The Effects of Communication Media

Authors

  • ANDREA B. HOLLINGSHEAD

    1. Andrea B. Hollingshead is an assistant professor in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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  • This research was supported by an Arnold O. Beckman Research Award from the University of Illinois. The author would like to thank Peter Carnevale for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this article, Gary Stasser and his colleagues at Miami University of Ohio for providing the task used in this study, and Khloe Snell for help with data collection. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dr. Andrea B. Hollingshead, University of Illinois, Department of Speech Communication, 702 S. Wright St., 244 Lincoln Hall, Urbana, IL 61801, E-mail hollings@uiuc.edu

Abstract

This experiment investigated the conditions under which a member with information critical for making the best group decision will positively influence the group's final choice. The impact of two factors on group decision quality, information exchange, and perceptions of influence was examined: (a) status differences among members (equal-status vs. mixed-status groups) and (b) communication media (face-to-face vs. computer-mediated communication). Three-person groups were composed such that the critical information required to make the best decision was given only to the low-status member in the mixed-status groups and randomly assigned to one member in the equal-status groups. The results indicated that the mixed-status groups made poorer decisions and made fewer references to critical information than equal-status groups, regardless of the communication medium. Computer-mediated communication suppressed information exchange and the perceived influence of group members, suggesting that the relation between status and communication media is more complex than proposed in past research.

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