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Why groups perform better than individuals at quantitative judgment tasks: Group-to-individual transfer as an alternative to differential weighting

  • Schultze, Thomas
  • Mojzisch, Andreas
  • Schulz-Hardt, Stefan
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    One prominent finding in research on group judgment is that groups often outperform the average of their members’ individual judgments. Previous research attributed this finding to groups weighting their more competent members more strongly (differential weighting explanation). We postulate an alternative explanation, namely that groups outperform individuals due to group-to-individual (G–I) transfer, which denotes group members becoming more accurate individually during group interaction. In Experiment 1, we demonstrate that individual accuracy in an estimation task strongly increases due to interaction, leading to high accuracy at the group level. Experiment 2 replicates this finding and shows that G–I transfer can be enhanced by expertise feedback. In both experiments, when controlling for G–I transfer during group interaction, group judgments were not better than the average model. The findings imply that previously observed superior performance by groups compared to individuals may have been due to G–I transfer and not necessarily due to differential weighting.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597812000027
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 118 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 24-36

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:118:y:2012:i:1:p:24-36
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

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    1. Bonner, Bryan L. & Sillito, Sheli D. & Baumann, Michael R., 2007. "Collective estimation: Accuracy, expertise, and extroversion as sources of intra-group influence," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 121-133, May.
    2. Sniezek, Janet A. & Henry, Rebecca A., 1989. "Accuracy and confidence in group judgment," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-28, February.
    3. Sniezek, Janet A. & Henry, Rebecca A., 1990. "Revision, Weighting, and commitment in consensus group judgment," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 66-84, February.
    4. Moreland, Richard L. & Myaskovsky, Larissa, 2000. "Exploring the Performance Benefits of Group Training: Transactive Memory or Improved Communication?," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 117-133, May.
    5. Henry, Rebecca A., 1993. "Group Judgment Accuracy: Reliability and Validity of Postdiscussion Confidence Judgments," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 11-27, October.
    6. Laughlin, Patrick R., 1999. "Collective Induction: Twelve Postulates," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 50-69, October.
    7. Henry, Rebecca A., 1995. "Improving Group Judgment Accuracy: Information Sharing and Determining the Best Member," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 190-197, May.
    8. Laughlin, Patrick R. & Bonner, Bryan L. & Miner, Andrew G. & Carnevale, Peter J., 1999. "Frames of Reference in Quantity Estimations by Groups and Individuals," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 103-117, November.
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