Group decision making in hidden profile situations: Dissent as a facilitator for decision quality

Stefan Schulz-Hardt*, Felix C. Brodbeck, Andreas Mojzisch, Rudolf Kerschreiter, Dieter Frey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effect of diversity in individual prediscussion preferences on group decision quality was examined in an experiment in which 135 three-person groups worked on a personnel selection case with 4 alternatives. The information distribution among group members constituted a hidden profile (i.e., the correct solution was not identifiable on the basis of the members' individual information and could be detected only by pooling and integrating the members' unique information). Whereas groups with homogeneous suboptimal prediscussion preferences (no dissent) hardly ever solved the hidden profile, solution rates were significantly higher in groups with prediscussion dissent, even if none of these individual prediscussion preferences were correct. If dissent came from a proponent of the correct solution, solution rates were even higher than in dissent groups without such a proponent. The magnitude of dissent (i.e., minority dissent or full diversity of individual preferences) did not affect decision quality. The beneficial effect of dissent on group decision quality was mediated primarily by greater discussion intensity and to some extent also by less discussion bias in dissent groups. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1080-1093
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006


  • Dissent
  • Group decision making
  • Hidden profile
  • Information pooling
  • Minority influence


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