I'd Rather Stand Alone

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Many people assume that "several heads are better than one," but is that necessarily true? In many studies conducted, it actually demonstrates that individual brainstorming is more effective than group brainstorming because groups tend to come up with fewer and less creative ideas than individuals. Groups also often overestimate how successful they are at producing new ideas, which may explain why brainstorming is so popular. If someone thinks that they are creating brilliant ideas by combining brainpower, they are most likely to continue brainstorming within a group. However, below are two reasons why group brainstorming is less effective than individual brainstorming.
1.) group members may be anxious about being evaluated by others, leading them to hold back potentially good ideas.
2.) When brainstorming in groups, people frequently tend to "free ride" : They sit back and let others do the work, while they still get credit for the group as a whole. (Also could be called social loafing, a phenomenon in which people slack off in groups)



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I am very familiar with social loafing, unfortunately there tends to be one in every group to some extent and you can definitely see it as you increase the group size. I don't necessarily agree that groups produce fewer ideas than individuals, but i can see how they could be less creative so as to comply with the other group members. Maybe add the study name or some statistics, otherwise good post and nice cartoon!

I have mixed feelings about this topic because typically, I do think that group work is more productive than individual work. Also, you tend to get a more well-rounded final product as there are many perspectives contributing to the same project. I can definitely see the drawbacks, namely social loafing but I think instead of avoiding group work altogether, there should be steps taken within the group to prevent social loafing (e.g. making everyone's participation more visible in the final product). But, it was a well-written post that explores an argument that is not commonly brought up, as most people prefer group work to individual work.

I can agree with this when there are force groups or one-time groups set up in say class. But my question is whether this is true in say a group that joins voluntarily and all actively contributes. I was in a program called Destination Imagination where a group of 7 create a skit based on certain criteria. This program's main criteria is creativity and the main way of generating ideas is from brainstorming. I found they were effective as we got to piggy-back off each others' ideas and no one didn't contribute out of fear or laziness. Do you think depending on the group that maybe brainstorming can be bad or good?

I think the productivity of the group is dependent on the environment of the group. If it is an open environment where everyone feels comfortable, I think group work can be really good. If it's an uncomfortable situation, however, the group work can be bad. I think the key here is developing that comfortable environment among the group members and possibly avoiding throwing people into groups.

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This page contains a single entry by whit1618 published on April 30, 2012 11:00 AM.

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