Hardvard Business Review
All too often, groups fail to achieve the storied wisdom of crowds. In recent years, behavioral research has begun to identify precisely where they go wrong. But so far this academic work has yet to have a noticeable effect on actual practice.
The two main reasons for error are informational signals (some group members receive incorrect signals from other members) and reputational pressures (people silence themselves or change their views to avoid serious penalties). These two factors lead to four separate but interrelated problems:
(1) Groups don’t merely fail to correct their members’ errors; they amplifythem.
(2) They fall victim to cascade effects, following the statements and actions of those who went first.
(3) They become polarized,taking even more-extreme positions than originally.
(4) They focus on “what everybody knows,”ignoring critical information that only one or two members have.
The authors offer some simple suggestions for improvement.
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