Collective Choice, Collaboration, and Communication
Posted: 16 Jan 2020
Date Written: January 2020
This article reviews recent empirical research on collective choice and collaborative problem solving. Much of the collective choice research focuses on hidden profiles. A hidden profile exists when group members individually have information favoring suboptimal choices but the group collectively has information favoring an optimal choice. Groups are notoriously bad at discovering optimal choices when information is distributed to create a hidden profile. Reviewed work identifies informational structures, individual processing biases, and social motivations that inhibit and facilitate the discovery of hidden profiles. The review of collaborative problem-solving research is framed by Larson's concept of synergy. Synergy refers to performance gains that are attributable to collaboration. Recent research has addressed factors that result in groups performing as well as their best member (weak synergy) and better than their best member (strong synergy). Communication dynamics underlying both collective choice and collaborative problem solving are discussed.
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