Wirtschafts- und Organisationspsychologie

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LFP Group-Level Integrative Complexity: Enhancing Differentiation and Integration in Group Decision Making

Semester: WiSe 2009/2010 & SoSe 2010

Dozenten: Dr. Katharina Kugler & Prof Dr. Felix Brodbeck


Decision-making in organizations is often complex and involves groups, which have access to a large pool of their members’ knowledge and opinions, however, frequently fail to use their full potential. As captured by the concept of integrative complexity, complex decision making profits from differentiation and integration of knowledge. It is proposed and found that differentiation is supported by dissent and integration by an interactive discussion structure (a modified version of the stepladder technique). The combination of these variables fosters group level integrative complexity thereby improving the use of a group potential. Dissent groups using the discussion structure reached highest levels in comparison to ordinary dissent groups, consent groups and individuals working alone. They also exceeded their own best member and reached an equal level to the best members of nominal groups. The study contributes to the body of research identifying factors that support groups in reaching their potential performance level.


Fischer, J., Fischer, D., Heinze, J., Brandl,J., Kugler, K.G., & Brodbeck, F. C. (2011). Up the ladder - enhancing performance in dissent groups through differentiation and integration. European Association of Social Psychology (EASP), Stockholm, Sweden.