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J Appl Psychol. 2002 Oct;87(5):994-1000.

Using the stepladder technique to facilitate the performance of audioconferencing groups.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Ohio 43403, USA. rogelbe@bgnet.bgsu.edu


Organizational workforces are becoming increasingly dispersed. To facilitate communications among individuals or groups of people located in a number of different locations, teleconferencing technologies, such as audioconferencing, have been developed. The authors examined whether a structural group intervention, the stepladder technique, can facilitate the task performance of 4-person groups (n = 52) when using audioconferencing. Consistent with research conducted on face-to-face groups, the stepladder technique was found to facilitate the decision-making performance of groups interacting via audioconference. The authors postulated that certain structural elements of the stepladder technique compensate for obstacles inherent in nonvisual communications. Supplementary analyses examined best member influence and the existence of order of entry effects into the stepladder process.

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