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Improving Group Decision Making with Sequential Collaboration

WorkgroupKnowledge Construction Lab
FundingIWM PostDoc Seed Funding
Project description

Sequential collaboration describes a knowledge construction process often found in online collaborative projects such as Wikipedia. In this process a contributor starts by creating an entry which is sequentially adjusted or maintained by following contributors. This project examines the gathering information and making decisions based on these information in sequential collaboration compared to widely used group discussions to gain further insights into the construction process of collaborative knowledge.

Collaborative online projects emerged shortly after more and more house holds had access to the Internet and today these projects are an integral part of everyday life. Looking up information in Wikipedia or navigating with OpenStreetMap are pervasive. Nonetheless, sequential collaboration as a tool to share information and work collaboratively is only little noticed. Whereas Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap allow thousands of contributors to share millions of pieces of information, sequential collaboration can also be used for information sharing in smaller groups. Such small groups typically share information through direct communication, i.e., discussion, and make decisions based on the information gathered. However, this poses the risk that group members’ knowledge is not optimally integrated and decision errors are common.

Thus, this project examined how individuals share information in smalls groups via sequential collaboration, which information is shared and how accurate resulting decisions are. As a benchmark, sharing information and decision making via group discussions were considered. Data showed no differences in information sharing between sequential collaboration and group discussions. However, there was a trend towards more accurate group decisions in sequential collaboration.


Dr. Maren Mayer Dr. Maren Mayer
Tel.: +49 7071 979-120