How Should the Agent Communicate to the Group Communication Strategies of a Conversational Agent in Group Chat Discussions

Hyo Jin Do, Ha Kyung Kong, Jaewook Lee, Brian P. Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In online group discussions, balanced participation can improve the quality of discussion, members' satisfaction, and positive group dynamics. One approach to achieve balanced participation is to deploy a conversational agent (CA) that encourages participation of under-contributing members, and it is important to design communication strategies of the CA in a way that is supportive to the group. We implemented five communication strategies that a CA can use during a decision-making task in a small group synchronous chat discussion. The five strategies include messages sent to two types of recipients (@username vs. @everyone) crossed by two separate channels (public vs. private), and a peer-mediated strategy where the CA asks a peer to address the under-contributing member. Through an online study with 42 groups, we measured the balance of participation and perceptions about the CA by analyzing chat logs and survey responses. We found that the CA sending messages specifying an individual through a private channel is the most effective and preferred way to increase participation of under-contributing members. Participants also expressed that the peer-mediated strategy is a less intrusive and less embarrassing way of receiving the CA's messages compared to the conventional approach where the CA directly sends a message to the under-contributing member. Based on our findings, we discuss trade-offs of various communication strategies and explain design considerations for building an effective CA that adapts to different group dynamics and situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number387
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
StatePublished - Nov 11 2022


  • collaborative task
  • conversational agent
  • group chat
  • participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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