Group Processes Research Lab
Much of our behavior takes place in groups. Groups are often involved in sharing ideas, making decisions, and performing tasks.
In many organizations work groups are organized on the basis of teams. Many sports involve teamwork. We are interested in the various factors that influence the effectiveness of group and team functioning.
We have been particularly interested in group creativity or the ability of groups to generate novel ideas. Much research has focused on the fact that groups often inhibit creativity. We have examined factors that contribute to low creativity in groups and ways to increase group creativity. We have developed a model of group creativity that delineates the various social and cognitive factors that influence group creativity. Interestingly, group members do not have a good sense of the effectiveness of groups. Most people have an illusion that their performance in groups is superior to what they could have done on their own, even when the group has performed poorly. Unfortunately, group performance tends to go in the direction of the least productive members. Inducing a sense of competition in the group can counteract this tendency.
Also, during the sharing process, there may be a lot of cognitive interference. Exchanging ideas by means of computers or writing can be useful in overcoming some of these problems. However, deriving cognitive benefits from ideas exchanged in this fashion requires careful attention to the ideas exchanged and some time for processing them.
Minor procedural changes that affect these processes can have strong effects on the idea generation performance. A recent emphasis has been on understanding the decision-making processes involved in selecting creative ideas and the potential of using computers to enhance group creativity. Although much of the research has been done on laboratory groups, we are also interested in examining group creativity in educational and organizational settings.
For more information on group processes, you might check the website of Professor Paul Paulus.