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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Jun;80(6):918-30.

Quality of decision making and group norms.

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  • 1Department of Communication, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Two studies investigated the impact of group norms for maintaining consensus versus norms for critical thought on group decisions in a modification of the biased sampling paradigm (G. Stasser & W. Titus, 1985). Both studies showed that critical norms improved the quality of decisions, whereas consensus norms did not. This effect appeared to be mediated by the perceived value of shared and unshared information: Consensus norm groups valued shared information more highly than critical groups did, and valence was a good predictor of decision outcome. In addition, the 2nd study showed that the group norm manipulation has no impact on individual decisions, consistent with the assumption that this is a group effect. Results suggest that the content of group norms is an important factor influencing the quality of group decision-making processes and that the content of group norms may be related to the group's proneness for groupthink.

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