An attributional theory of convergent thinking in groups

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Classic research on attribution theory suggests that groups are biased toward attributing their success to factors that are internal to their group. However, the existing research has confounded two types of attributions that are both internal to the group, but theoretically distinct: (1) Attributions that differentiate between the contributions made by each individual group member and (2) Attributions that focus on the group as a whole. This dichotomy is important because different types of attributions may have different consequences for convergent thinking in groups (Goncalo, 2004). This prediction was tested in an experiment in which groups explored alternative courses of action prior to making a shared decision. The results showed that attribution for past success focused on the group as a whole caused groups to consider fewer alternatives and less divergent alternatives. These findings suggest that the group serving bias may have important consequences for group performance that have not yet been considered in current research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
Event66th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2006 - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Aug 11 2006Aug 16 2006


Other66th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2006
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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