What are group data and group data
Recent research results
Applied group research has produced some new insights (West, 1996), for example about socialization in working groups, project group work and participation, and about innovation and creativity in teams, and has thus overshadowed basic group research. It has only recently been able to regain ground by not only examining social cognitions in isolated people, but also taking the influences of social interaction into account and viewing groups as an analytical unit (Nye & Brower, 1996). Thought leaders of this new trend were concerned with the question of how individual resources are brought together in the context of the group and under what conditions Process losses and Distortion tendencies can be minimized. One of the best known distortion tendencies is group polarization. In continuation of this approach, decision-making situations have recently been investigated in which group members have socially shared information (all have the same information) and socially undivided information (each has unique information). Socially shared information is disproportionately more often brought up in group discussions than socially undivided information. This effect can be reduced by conditions that increase the probability of use of socially undivided information, e.g. by avoiding information overload, assigning expert roles and giving the impression that it is a problem-solving task in which there is an identifiable correct solution.
Research zu is paradigmatic for the question of bringing together individual resources in groups social decision-making rules, i.e. probabilistic models of the transformation of individual preferences into group preferences. This allows practiced social decision-making rules to be mapped and compared with expectation models (Fig.).
In a second step it can be examined what the causes of the differences are. And in a third step, conditions can be identified that support an optimal merging of individual preferences into a group preference.
Although the practice of group work, which is examined in the context of work and organizational psychological research, demonstrates the productivity-increasing effects of dynamic developments in group structures and group processes (group learning, organizational learning), experimental studies are comparatively rare. Group work can lead to individual performance improvements that go beyond what would have been learned without group work. Theoretically, these individual learning gains, conveyed via an improved group potential, should also have a positive effect on later group performance. Individual learning gains, which are caused by the systematic design of cooperative learning situations, could be shown more frequently in educational research (cooperative learning). But here too there has so far been a lack of empirically proven explanations.
The social judgment theory deals with cognitive conflicts between group members that arise from idiosyncratic weighting of characteristics and assessments of a situation. If decisions of the same kind have to be made over and over again, it can be observed that idiosyncratic rules of judgment are increasingly coordinated with one another. However, this mutual adaptation process is associated with costs, namely with greater uncertainty and flawedness in the application of the newly adapted rules, and thus - at least temporarily - with new cognitive conflicts. In recent times it has been investigated in experiments to what extent the costs of this adaptation process can be reduced by computer support (groupware) and team development, so that the profits that arise from mutual adaptation of judgment heuristics can emerge.
The concept of the is currently receiving special attention, both in basic social psychological research and in applied group research transactive knowledge systemi.e. a system of encoding, storing and retrieving information shared by a dyad or group. Through transactive knowledge systems, individual group members have access to knowledge that is not stored by them but by other members. Transactive knowledge systems develop in couple relationships and in work groups that are trained together to carry out a complex task. This improves their cooperative execution of tasks (e.g. through mutual help with knowledge gaps and mutual error correction). These and further research questions have recently been examined from the perspective of groups as information-processing systems in basic social-psychological research (in summary Hinsz, Tindale & Vollrath, 1997).
Hinsz, V.B., Tindale, R.S. & Vollrath, D.A. (1997). The emerging conceptualization of groups as information processors. Psychological Bulletin, 121, 43-64.
Levine, J.M. & Moreland, R.L. (1990). Progress in small group research. Annual Review of Psychology, 41, 585-634.
Nye, J.L. & Brower, A.M. (1996). What's social about social cognition. Research on socially shared cognition in small groups. London, England: Sage Publications.
West, M. (1996). Handbook of work group psychology. Chichester, England: Wiley & Sons.
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