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Team Common Information Effect

Encourage critical thinking

· team,issues

Common information:

Common information effect is a problem in group decision making process that occurs when a group only recognizes and prioritizes information that is shared and available for all group members.

  • Probabilistically is more likely to come up
  • Instantly reinforced
  • More likely to be recalled after meetings
  • Perceived is more credible than unique information
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Strategies that do NOT work
These strategies do not help mitigate common information effect:

  1. Increasing the amount of discussion
  2. Separating information review and decision
  3. Increasing size of the team
  4. Increasing volume of information
  5. Increasing team/individual accountability

Strategies that work

  1. Encouraging norms of debate and critical thinking vs. just consensus and getting along
  2. Frame as "problem to be solved" rather than a "decision to be made"
  3. Rank-order alternatives instead of choosing best option
  4. Alert team to different expertise possessed by teammates
  5. Minimize status differences among teammates
  6. Pay attention, alert teammates to unique information, ask questions and engage others

Source: Postmes et al. (2001), Stasser and Stewart (1992), Hollingshead (1996), Stasser et al. (2000)

Participation as a function of group size

  • In a typical 4-person group, 2 people do over 62% of the talking
  • In a 6-person group, 3 people do over 86% of the talking
  • In an 8-person group, 3 people do over 77% of the talking

Source: Shaw, M.E. Group dynamics: The psychology of small group behavior, 3rd Edition. New York McGraw-Hill:170