Development and testing of an intervention to improve group decision-making effectiveness in a hidden profile scenario

Angela S Donovan, Purdue University


Research has repeatedly shown that when groups whose members have varying expertise are combined to make a decision, they tend to discuss common information at a higher rate than unique information, hindering their ability to make the best decision. In response to these findings and the fact that organizations are increasingly using groups rather than individuals to make important decisions, a new intervention was developed based on past research to help groups make better decisions and discuss more unique information. The intervention was developed through three phases to determine which techniques were most powerful. The formal evaluation of the intervention was tested on a total of 228 undergraduate students (44 groups of four and 52 individuals). Groups were randomized into an experimental condition, receiving the intervention, or a control condition. Groups participated in a hidden profile business simulation acting as the top management team of a fictional Hollywood movie studio. Information was distributed so that there was common and unique information for each group. Groups given the intervention made significantly better decisions, shared more unique information, and performed significantly better than individuals. Unique information sharing was positively related to performance and the unique information given to one group member mediated the relationship between the condition and performance. In addition, this study revealed that within the inventory of unique information, different types of information may be more critical in reaching the best possible decision than others. Future research aims and implications are discussed.




Devine, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Occupational psychology

Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server