- Taking the easy way out: Preference diversity, decision strategies, and decision refusal in groups
- Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 94 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
It has often been argued and found that preference diversity is beneficial for the quality of group decisions. However, this literature has neglected the fact that in many situations, it is also possible not to choose. Further, preference diversity can be based on attractions, aversions, or both. The authors argue that some types of preference diversity can lead to biased discussions and choice refusal (i.e., the group refuses to choose any of the available options). In a laboratory experiment, three different patterns were observed. When group members held different aversions before discussion, discussions were aversion driven and group members quickly agreed to refuse all alternatives. When each alternative had both a proponent and an adversary, discussions were longer and unbiased but still often led to refusal, which was accompanied by relatively low levels of outcome satisfaction. Only when preference diversity was based only on attractions did it lead to unbiased discussion, low prevalence of refusal, and high outcome satisfaction. Implications for group decision making are discussed.
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