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The Impact Of Experts On Information Sharing During Group Discussion

Timothy M. Franz, James R. Larson

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Experts were predicted to impact information sharing during discussion in two ways. First, expert members were expected to contribute more information themselves during discussion; and second, they were expected to cause nonexpert members to contribute more. Furthermore, it was predicted that identification of the expert and the task type would accentuate these differences. These predictions were tested in a study where one third of the groups had an identified expert, one third had an unidentified expert, and one third had no expert. Half the groups were asked to identify a correct answer, whereas the other half were asked to give their opinion. Results provided support for experts’contributing more information to group discussion; however, no support was found for their increasing other members’ contributions. Identification of expertise and task type both accentuated information sharing by experts. These results are discussed in terms of implications of experts on information sampling and decision-making groups.