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Styles of group discussion in computer-mediated decision making

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/1997
<mark>Journal</mark>British Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)241-262
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


This study investigated the claim that keyboard-based computer-mediated group discussion suppresses normative influence relative to informational influence. In a simulated panel of inquiry presented with computer databases containing inconsistent and incompletely shared information, four-person groups attempted to reach decisions either in face-to-face (FF) discussions or in real time computer-mediated (CM) discussions via a network linking computers at separate locations. CM groups reported greater difficulty communicating ideas than FF groups and took longer to reach a decision. Contrary to previous research, CM groups exhibited a preference for a normative style of discussion, exchanging proportionally more positional and value statements and proportionally fewer factual and inferential statements than FF groups, but only in the final stage of the experiment. This discussion style led in turn to lower levels of private post-decision agreement and decision satisfaction among CM groups. Results are discussed in terms of the restrictions imposed by computer mediation on group discussion, and how these combine with other task conditions to determine group goals and discussion style.