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Author Salazar, Abran Joseph
Title Assessing the impact of interaction on group decision-making performance: Some conditions and patterns of interaction
Descript 155 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 53-01, Section: A, page: 0020
Supervisor: Randy Y. Hirokawa
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The University of Iowa, 1991
This project sought to determine the conditions under which communication impacts group performance. In the field of communication studies, the long standing notion has been that there is something about communication that makes a difference in whether a group will arrive at a low or high quality decision. That notion has not been questioned in the discipline until recently. Specifically, the charge that has been raised is that communication scholars cannot be sure of the impact that communication has on decision-making performance because noninteractive factors, such as the level of abilities and skills of the group's members have not been adequately controlled for. Therefore, the quality of group decisions may be attributable to either interactive or noninteractive factors
In order to ascertain the true nature of the impact of communication variables on the quality of group outcomes, the ambiguity model is advanced. The ambiguity model specifies the conditions under which we might expect communication to impact decision-making performance. Specifically, the greater the ambiguity associated with the decision-making situation, the greater the impact of communication on the quality of the group's output. The amount of ambiguity in a decision-making situation is influenced by three variables that have been found to correlate with performance: the degree of homogeneity of group members, the task the group is confronted with, and the unwillingness of group members to communicate with one another
The present research attempted to validate the ambiguity model. Forty groups of three individuals were assigned to one of four ambiguity conditions. Each group completed a task for which there existed a demonstrably correct answer. Deviations from that answer determined the quality of the group's decision
While complicated by nonsignificant results, the findings indicate that the conditions under which communication might make a difference vary, and that the mediating factor might be the amount of ambiguity in the decision-making situation. Problems and limitations are noted, with the major problem noted being associated with the small size of the sample studied. Implications of the ambiguity model for structuring group interaction and conducting future research are given
School code: 0096
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 53-01A
Subject Psychology, Social
Speech Communication
0451
0459
Alt Author The University of Iowa
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