Publication Date

1997

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

First Advisor

Miller, Charles E.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Department

Department of Psychology

LCSH

Teams in the workplace--Psychological aspects

Abstract

An experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of time pressure and task complexity on the emergence of group structure. For purposes of this study, group structure refers to the pattern of interaction and communication that occurs within decision-making groups. It was hypothesized that groups would tend to use a centralized communication structure when performing relatively simple tasks and a decentralized structure while performing more complex tasks. In addition, it was hypothesized that this effect of task complexity would be magnified under conditions of high time pressure. Specifically, decentralization would be greatest under conditions of high task complexity and high time pressure, followed by high task complexity and no time pressure. Centralization would be greatest under conditions of low task complexity and high time pressure, followed by low task complexity and no time pressure. These predictions were tested using a 2 (time pressure vs. no time pressure) X 2 (low task complexity vs. high task complexity) factorial design. Task complexity was varied between groups by administering a task that allowed the manipulation of goals, pathways to these goals, and the information processing requirements inherent in the task. Groups in the time pressure condition were instructed as to the importance of speed in arriving at a decision, as well as the importance of the quality of their decision. Groups in the no time pressure condition were informed only of the importance of decision quality. As predicted, results indicated that communication in groups in low task complexity conditions tended to be more centralized than communication in groups in high task complexity conditions. However, the anticipated task complexity X time pressure interaction, with time pressure magnifying the effects of task complexity, was not supported.

Comments

Includes bibliographical references (pages [37]-41)

Extent

74 pages

Language

eng

Publisher

Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type

Text

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