Twenty-four groups of five professionals and managers within a variety of organizations were given the task of using a computer conference to reach agreement on the best solution to a ranking problem.
The independent variable is the structure of the conferencing capability used. Two alternative means of structuring the conferences were employed, in a two-by-two factorial design. Groups with "Human Leadership" elected one of their members to lead the group in its decision making discussion. Groups with "Computer Feedback" were given periodic tables which displayed the current "group decision" in terms of the mean rankings of items, and the degree of consensus about each of these items.
- Dependent variables include:
- Quality of decision
- Degree of consensus
- Amount of discussion and reranking activity
- Equality of participation
- Subjective satisfaction
Covariates include initial (pre-discussion) quality of decision, typing speed, knowledgability of the leader, age, and sex.
For this experiment, with small groups, human leadership was more effective than computer feedback for improving consensus and quality of decision.
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Computerized Conferencing & Communications Center; Hiltz, Starr Roxanne; Johnson, Kenneth; and Turoff, Murray, "The effects of formal human leadership and computer-generated decision aids on problem solving via computer : a controlled experiment" (1982). Computerized Conferencing and Communications Center Reports. 18.