Group Consensus: The Impact of Multiple Dialogues

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Abstract

The research results on group consensus have been ambiguous within the field of Group Support Systems (GSSs). Some research studies have shown that groups using multiple communication channels produce more ideas, and more unique ideas than groups using a single communication channel. In addition, a second set of research findings have shown that groups using GSSs report group members hold “less consensus” with the group's decision. This research studies more closely how these two characteristics; communication channel and consensus, interact. Specifically, can “less consensus” be a function of the choice of channels used in problem solving. The results show that groups using a single communication channel generate more actual consensus than groups using multiple communication channels. Furthermore, the single channel discussions provide more integrative comments and these integrative comments may help explain the difference in consensus. These results suggest that those striving for consensus from group members should consider production methods used to create the information that is to be used in the decision.

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