The pros and cons of dyadic side conversations in small groups: The impact of group norms and task type

Roderick I. Swaab, Katherine W. Phillips, Daniel Diermeier, Victoria Husted Medvec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research explores the impact of dyadic side conversations on group norms within three- and four-person groups. The authors propose a link between dyadic communication and group norms such that the absence of dyadic communication enhances a norm of group unity, whereas its presence enhances a norm of faction-forming. In two studies, we demonstrate that the presence of dyadic communication opportunities can both help and hurt group performance and that this depends on a fit between the content of the norm and the wider social context. In negotiation tasks that benefit from group unity, the absence of dyadic communication results in a stronger focus on the group and its future as well as increased group performance. However, in problem-solving tasks that benefit from faction-forming, the mere presence of dyadic communication opportunities leads to increased openness to unique information, disagreement, and group performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-390
Number of pages19
JournalSmall Group Research
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008

Keywords

  • Dyadic communication
  • Group norms
  • Negotiation
  • Problem solving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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