Effects of devil′s advocacy and dialectical inquiry on individuals versus groups

Charles Schwenk, Joseph S. Valacich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is a long history of research that has investigated the effects of cognitive conflict on group and individual decision making. No study has simultaneously compared the effects of two techniques, devil′s advocacy and dialectical inquiry, on the performance of individuals versus groups. In this paper, we report the results of a laboratory experiment that makes this comparison. Artificial groups (groups formed by pooling individuals working independently) obtained an overall lower-quality solution for a case analysis problem than intact groups. However, there were no performance differences between intact groups and the performance of the best member of artificial groups. When artificial and intact groups were examined together, those given the devil′s advocacy treatment produced higher-quality solutions than those given the dialectical inquiry treatment and a simpler expert-based approach involving no conflict. Intact groups given the devil′s advocacy treatment produced higher-quality solutions than those given the expert treatment. Artificial groups given devil′s advocacy produced higher-quality solutions than those given the expert or dialectical inquiry treatment. Overall, the results suggest that the devil′s advocacy treatment has a slightly greater advantage over the dialectical inquiry with individuals than with groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-222
Number of pages13
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume59
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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