Enhancing Creativity in E-Planning: Recommendations From a Collaborative Creativity Perspective

Enhancing Creativity in E-Planning: Recommendations From a Collaborative Creativity Perspective

Paul B. Paulus (University of Texas at Arlington, USA) and Jonali Baruah (Tarleton State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8362-2.ch069


Sharing ideas efficiently and effectively in groups is a challenge groups and teams face on a daily basis. In typical face-to-face meetings, many factors can serve to inhibit a full sharing of ideas and thus the development of effective decisions and plans. To overcome the limitations of face-to-face meetings, computer-based group decision support systems have been developed to facilitate both idea exchange and evaluation. Evidence suggests that such systems can lead to beneficial outcomes. However, unless they are utilized effectively, even electronic meetings may not effectively tap the intellectual and creative potential of groups. The authors summarize some of the major findings of collaborative creativity and their implications for effective e-planning.
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Good planning requires good information and good decision-making. Most planning is probably done by groups during meetings or over a series of meetings. Although the diversity of perspectives available in group settings are potentially valuable for planning efforts, much research on group dynamics suggests that groups often have trouble living up to their potential (Nijstad, 2009; Paulus & Nijstad, 2003). Relevant to our discussion are the facts that groups often focus on common information rather than the unique information available in group members (Stasser, Abele, & Parsons, 2012), they may have reduced motivation to perform at a high level (social loafing, Karau & Williams, 1993), they engage in social matching of low performance (Paulus & Dzindolet, 1993), and they may be hesitant to express ideas that are different from the group norm or majority perspective (Nemeth & Nemeth-Brown, 2003). Concern with potential negative evaluation of novel ideas may further limit the number and novelty of the ideas shared (Camacho & Paulus, 1995). Furthermore, during face-to-face meetings only one person can talk at a time limiting the opportunity for full sharing of perspectives (production blocking, Diehl & Stroebe, 1987). This is particularly evident in group brainstorming. When face-to-face groups share ideas, they typically generate fewer ideas than a similar number of individuals sharing ideas alone (nominals, Diehl & Stroebe, 1987; Paulus & Coskun, 2012). This production loss in face-to-face groups appears to be due in part to production blocking—the inability to express ideas as they occur because of competition for speaking turns (Diehl & Stroebe, 1987; Nijstad & Stroebe, 2006). To overcome some of these problems in groups, alternative means have been suggested for conducting the idea exchange process. These have been examined in the literature on brainstorming in which the focus is on generating a large number of ideas in groups in order to increase the chances of good ideas (Paulus, Kohn, & Arditti, 2011). The good ideas can then be selected for further review and elaboration. One major focus has been to use interaction modalities that reduce production blocking.

In this chapter we will provide a theoretical perspective of group creativity and some of relevant findings. We will discuss the use of brainwriting and electronic brainstorming (EBS) to enhance group creativity, as well as a combination of solitary and group brainstorming. Finally, the implications of the group creativity literature for e-planning will be highlighted.

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