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The Pros and Cons of Dyadic Conversations in Small Groups: The Impact of Group Norms and Task Type, Small Group Research

Abstract

This research explores the impact of dyadic communication opportunities on group norms. We propose a link between dyadic communication and group norms such that the absence of dyadic communication enhances a norm of group unity whereas its presence enhances a norm of faction-forming. In two studies, we demonstrate that the presence of dyadic communication opportunities can both help and hurt group performance and that this depends on a fit between the content of the norm and the wider social context. In competitive negotiation tasks that benefit from group unity, the absence of dyadic communication results in a stronger focus on the group and its future as well as increased group performance. However, in problem solving tasks that benefit from faction-forming, the mere presence of dyadic communication opportunities leads to an increased openness to unique information, disagreement, and group performance. Implications for how to effectively manage technologies that create opportunities for dyadic communication during group discussions are considered.

Type

Article

Author(s)

Roderick I. Swaab, Daniel Diermeier, Katherine W. Phillips, Victoria Medvec

Date Published

2008

Citations

Swaab, I. Roderick, Daniel Diermeier, Katherine W. Phillips, and Victoria Medvec. 2008. The Pros and Cons of Dyadic Conversations in Small Groups: The Impact of Group Norms and Task Type. Small Group Research. 39(3): 372-390.

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