Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Elizabeth Erffmeyer, Richard Miller, John O'Connor

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Organizations utilize groups frequently and extensively for problem solving and decision making. Research results indicate that training in group decision making improves the performance of groups on a variety of decision -making tasks (Erffmeyer & Lane, 1984; Hall & Williams, 1970; Nemiroff, Passmore, & Ford, 1976). Despite the heavy reliance of organizations on teams and the benefits of training in group decision making, there is a scarcity of research investigating the proper instructional mode (i.e., individual versus team) for group decision-making training (Denson, 1981; Goldstein, 1986). The results of studies investigating this problem have been inconclusive (Goldstein, 1986). Support has been found for both individual and team training (Denson, 1981).

Wagner, Hibbits, Rosenblatt, & Schulz (1977) suggested the notion that the proper of instructional mode for group training depends upon the type of situation in which the group is required to perform. For "established" situations which are well defined and highly structured, individual training is suggested. In "emergent" situations, which are unstable and require large amounts of cooperation and communication between team members, team training is recommended.

The present study compared individual, team, and no training on a group decision-making task. Team performance in an emergent situation was compared in terms of the quality of the decision made, time spent on task, acceptance of the decision, and satisfaction with group process and training. The results indicated that team-trained groups produced the highest quality decisions, followed by individually -trained groups, then no -trained groups. Team training was perceived as the most satisfying, followed by individual training, with no training being perceived as the least satisfying. Groups did not significantly differ on acceptance, time spent on task, or satisfaction with group process.

The results of the present study help clarify previous research investigating group training. The present findings suggest that team training is the most appropriate instructional mode for groups working in emergent situations. Additionally, the findings suggest that workers will be more satisfied with team training than with individual training. Further research investigating the appropriateness of individual and team training in a variety of situations needs to be conducted to lend support to the present findings.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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