Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Groups Share Information In Workplace, But Not The 'Right' Information

Date:
March 23, 2009
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
From the operating room to the executive board room, the benefits of working in teams have long been touted. But a new analysis of 22 years of applied psychological research shows that teams tend to discuss information they already know and that "talkier" teams are less effective.

From the operating room to the executive board room, the benefits of working in teams have long been touted. But a new analysis of 22 years of applied psychological research shows that teams tend to discuss information they already know and that "talkier" teams are less effective.

Related Articles


"We're seeing a widespread trend toward a more virtual and globalized world and this is transforming the way people in the workplace communicate," said the article's lead author, Jessica Mesmer-Magnus, PhD, of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. "We need to better understand how teams will perform in this new setting and, to do that, we need to look at how they've worked in the past."

Mesmer-Magnus and Leslie DeChurch, PhD, an organizational psychologist at the University of Central Florida, analyzed research on information sharing in the workplace, consisting of studies of approximately 4,800 groups and more than 17,000 people. Their findings are reported in the March issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, which is published by the American Psychological Association.

Their analysis showed that teams that spent time sharing new information performed better overall in their tasks. But they also found that most teams spent their time discussing information that was already known by the rest of the group. Groups whose members talked more openly during meetings were on better terms with one another but that did not necessarily mean they performed better.

"What this suggests is that teams who talk more amongst themselves aren't necessarily sharing useful information. Therefore, they're not actually coming to a better result. Rather, it's more important what the teams are talking about, than how much they are talking," said Mesmer-Magnus.

The researchers also found that teams communicate better when they engage in tasks where they are instructed to come up with a correct, or best, answer rather than a consensual solution. For example, teams were more effective when selecting candidates for a job opening or solving a crime when they had been encouraged to share their unique insights and to work to determine the best solution rather than a quicker consensual one. And although team members are often chosen because of their diverse professional and personal backgrounds, teams tended to share more information when the team was composed of members of similar backgrounds, according to the analysis. "This highlights the conundrum surrounding team tasks," said Mesmer-Magnus. "There's a separation in what teams actually do and what they should do in order to be effective."

The authors say their findings show group productivity can be enhanced by:

  • Structuring team discussions
  • Promoting a cooperative team environment
  • Highlighting team members' skills and knowledge
  • Focusing on communicating new and unique information

"Teams do have a distinct advantage over individuals in the work setting," said Mesmer-Magnus. "But leaders should be aware of how to effectively maximize their team's potential with effective communication."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mesmer-Magnus et al. Information sharing and team performance: A meta-analysis.. Journal of Applied Psychology, 2009; 94 (2): 535 DOI: 10.1037/a0013773

Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Groups Share Information In Workplace, But Not The 'Right' Information." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090323101821.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2009, March 23). Groups Share Information In Workplace, But Not The 'Right' Information. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090323101821.htm
American Psychological Association. "Groups Share Information In Workplace, But Not The 'Right' Information." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090323101821.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that NORAD is ready to track Santa Claus as he delivers gifts next week. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, he said if Santa drops anything off his sleigh, "we've got destroyers out there to pick them up." (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins