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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effects of involvement in decision-making on the productivity of three-man laboratory groups Ponder, Arthur Aubrey


An inquiry was carried out into the effects of involvement in decision-making, related to how to perform a given task, on the productivity of three-man laboratory groups. One of the possible explanations for the wealth of contradictory findings in the literature is that the "motivational" effects of being involved indecision-making and the efficacy of decisions made appear to be two logically separable effects, although both are often treated as one. As a consequence, an attempt was made to control the effectiveness of the strategy used between the two treatment conditions. The theoretical basis for the experiment was McGregor's (I960) adaptation of need theory for the organizational context and Lowin's (1968) analysis of the potential effects of participative decision-making on productivity. The three hypotheses, derived there from, which guided the investigation were: (1) groups involved in decision-making would be more productive than groups which were not; (2) would implement the strategy designed to accomplish the task more faithfully, and; (3) given the choice, subjects in the experiment would choose to perform in a situation in which they were involved in decision-making rather than one in which they were not. The task involved the assembly of matrices from component pieces. The measure of productivity was time to successful completion. Results did not agree with predictions. In all three cases the hypotheses were not confirmed. Additionally productivity and choice results were significant in the opposite direction to that predicted by the experimenter . The experimental procedures, assumptions concerning the nature of the test population and the theory itself were re-examined in an attempt to offer possible explanations for these findings.

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