Groups as analogical information processors : implications for group creativity
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Organizations routinely rely on work groups for creative solutions to the problems they face. This is because solving difficult problems is often assumed to require the talents and knowledge of multiple people working together. However, much research has shown over the years that groups frequently experience dysfunction when trying to collaborate and generate creative solutions. Organizational researchers have theorized that analogical reasoning may play an important role in promoting collective creativity, but these claims are for the most part untested in the literature. In this dissertation, I attempt to answer two questions. First, does analogical reasoning provide some functional benefits for groups solving creative problems? Second, does analogical reasoning give rise to synergistic effects when creative groups collaborate during ideation and problem-solving? I assessed these questions using a laboratory study designed to find the effects of analogical reasoning in interacting and non-interacting groups, and to test for potential synergistic effects of analogical reasoning as a group-level strategy for generating creative problem solutions. Findings of the study suggest that analogical reasoning may provide some benefits for creative group outputs, and it may also create synergistic effects for creative groups.