The goal of this article is to analyze the effect of group size on idea generation in both verbal and electronic brainstorming (EBS) groups. Group size effects were analyzed by a meta-analysis of 21 previously published articles. Section one reviews how group size impacts the communication process in group idea generation. Section two and three present the methods and results of our meta-analysis. Section four is a discussion of the results and implications for future research and practice.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Production Blocking: A process loss caused by the need to take turns speaking in verbal brainstorming.
Evaluation Apprehension: A process loss that causes participants in verbal brainstorming to withhold ideas because they fear a negative reaction from other participants.
Social Facilitation: A process gain caused by the ability of the presence of others to affect one’s performance.
Social Loafing (or Free Riding): A process loss caused by the tendency for individuals to expend less effort when working in a group than when working individually.
Communication Speed: A potential process loss caused by the need to type or write rather than speak.
Synergy: A process gain that occurs when an idea from one participant triggers a new idea in another participant, an idea that would otherwise not have been produced.
Cognitive Interference: A process loss that occurs when the ideas generated by other participants interfere with an individual’s own idea generation activities.
Anonymity: A condition where individual contributions to a brainstorming session are not attributed to individual participants.