Is Your Work Group Too Nice?

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"Imagine that eight people walk into a meeting to discuss an important strategic decision for their company.

They're all well-versed in the challenge they face.

But two members of the group hold some key piece of information or a perspective that not everybody has considered.

Everyone knows, for example, about the major trends in the industry that the boss has been talking about for months. They've seen the slide that shows last quarter's disappointing sales results a hundred times.

Only one person, however, knows about the recent moves of a competitor, while another has insights into an important emerging technology.

The whole point of getting everyone into a room, it would seem, would be to make sure that new information comes to the surface so the best decision can be made. In a workplace that values harmony and respect (and nearly all now do), that new information, sadly, will almost certainly get buried.

That's thanks to a pernicious and powerful quirk in group psychology called shared information bias."

"Shared information bias is known as the tendency for group members to spend more time and energy discussing information that all members are already familiar with (i.e., shared information), and less time and energy discussing information that only some members are aware of (i.e., unshared information).

Harmful consequences related to poor decision-making can arise when the group does not have access to unshared information (hidden profiles) in order to make a well-informed decisions." From Wikipedia.

Jonah Sachs thinks that this is a matter of being too nice when making a decision in groups.

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1 Comment

According to Sachs, “Good as it feels, this emphasis on niceness leads to poor decision-making and low levels of creativity by limiting the number of inputs a group will consider and diverting focus away from risk-taking and results.”


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This page contains a single entry by Michael Webster published on April 28, 2018 11:14 AM.

Update on the How Do You Roll Fiasco was the previous entry in this blog.

How to Lose a Franchise Prospect is the next entry in this blog.

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