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Idea Generation in Groups: A Basis for Creativity in Organizations

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Knowledge or idea exchange is an important function of groups in organizations. Much research has demonstrated that idea sharing in groups involves relatively inefficient processes. Some of these processes are briefly summarized. It is proposed that there are conditions under which idea sharing in groups can be productive. One important factor is the extent to which group members carefully process the ideas exchanged in the group (attention). Another is the opportunity for group members to reflect on the ideas after the exchange process (incubation). These factors were examined by using a “brainwriting” paradigm. Evidence was obtained for enhanced performance of sharing groups in comparison to nonsharing or nominal groups both during the idea-generation session and in a second individual idea-generation session. This study suggests that, under the right conditions, the idea exchange process in groups may be an important means for enhancing creativity and innovation in organizations.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Texas at Arlington

Publication date: May 1, 2000

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