University of Twente Student Theses


Misleading small groups : misinformation, source credibility and the underlying influences.

Plessis, T.P. du (2014) Misleading small groups : misinformation, source credibility and the underlying influences.

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Abstract:Although researchers know that incorrect or misleading information can impact team performance negatively, less is known about how precisely misinformation impacts performance, nor how and when teams are able to overcome this impact. This dissertation investigates the influence of misinformation, the source of the misinformation and the moderating influences of personality and team role. Sixty participants, in groups of four, took part in a time sensitive group task, where they were asked to construct a tower that could support a marshmallow. During the construction, groups were exposed to disruptions, in the form of misinformation. The groups were divided into three conditions; control, researcher misinformation, and member misinformation. These conditions were then further analyzed by investigating the combined personalities of the group members, both between and across conditions, allowing for more insight into the effects caused by misinformation and effects caused by group composition. Misinformation given by an authority figure had a significant effect on performance. However, the same was not found for misinformation given by a group member. The influence of personality and team role did not show a strong moderating influence, although this differed per condition. The significant influence of misinformation given by an authority figure shows that authorities (e.g. law-enforcement and military institutions) are able to exert influence on performance, but that the strategies used must be carefully considered, as misinformation by members does not have a significant influence on performance. Future studies should be directed towards understanding the role of personality in response to misdirection, with regards to performance under different conditions.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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