When Two Heads Aren’t Better Than One: Conformity in a Group Activity
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Type of Work12 pages
Citation of Original PublicationFender, C.M. & Stickney, L.T. (2017). When Two Heads Aren’t Better Than One: Conformity in a Group Activity. Management Teaching Review, 2(1), 35-46.
Group and team class decision-making activities often focus on demonstrating that “two heads are better than one.” Typically, students solve a problem or complete an assessment individually, then in a group. Generally, the group does better and that is what the students learn. However, if that is all such an activity conveys, then a significant teachable moment has been missed. It is often the case that a group member has one or more correct answers that the group did not use, or perhaps even outscores the group. The simple activity described here provides an opportunity to discuss a number of reasons that can cause such conformity to happen, integrating several areas of human psychology and behavior, and then segue into techniques to prevent it.