Decision making groups often exchange and integrate distributed information to a lesser extent than is desirable for high-quality decisions. We propose that group members’ shared task representations play an important role in this respect, because groups are often insufficiently attuned to the task’s information elaboration requirements. Task representations emphasizing elaboration of decision-relevant information should therefore enhance decision-making performance. This should hold especially when group members realize that they share these task representations, because this realization removes psychological barriers to introducing new insights. Testing these hypotheses, we compared information elaboration and decision-making performance of control groups and groups receiving instructions emphasizing information elaboration in two experiments. Half of the experimental groups were also made to realize that they shared the elaboration instructions. As predicted, groups with task representations emphasizing information elaboration and the realization they shared these representations outperformed groups in the other conditions. This effect was mediated by information elaboration.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

van Ginkel, W., & van Knippenberg, D. (2008). Group information elaboration and group decision making: the role of shared task representations. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 105(1), 82–97. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2007.08.005