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Date of Award

7-20-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

David A. Foster, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Victor Savicki, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jon Frew, Ph.D., ABPP

Abstract

Groups continue to be an essential part of the workplace with organizations still stressing the importance of using groups to solve work-related problems. While a plethora of studies have identified some of the critical elements that contribute to group decision-making effectiveness, few have examined how these elements affect group process and communication during decision-making interactions. Through studying how variables such as group and leader personality interact with group development the current study aims to shed light on the actual process of decision-making. By uncovering the inner workings of group decision-making among group members, organizations can better create and facilitate problem solving groups. In the current study I examined how group level and leader level personality, namely conscientiousness; interact with the group development activity of forming to influence positive and negative communication between group members. Seventy-five 3-person groups from a university in the Pacific Northwest participated in the study (mean age 20.7 years). Participants completed two survival tasks, first individually and then as a group. Interactions between group members were coded then examined using log probabilities. Results were primarily insignificant. However, one aspect of the results indicated that high conscientious leaders responded with a positive statement each time a group member made a positive statement more often than did low conscientious leaders. Possible explanations as well as limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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