The Group Matters

A Review of the Effects of Group Interaction on Processes and Outcomes in Analytic Teams

by Susan G. Straus, Andrew M. Parker, James B. Bruce, Jake Dembosky

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This Working Paper explores the implications of using groups to perform intelligence analysis. This report reviews theory and research on the effects of group interaction processes on judgment and decision making in analytical teams. It describes the benefits and drawbacks of using groups for analytical work, common processes that prevent groups from reaching optimal levels of performance, and strategies to improve processes and outcomes in intelligence analysis teams. This work is based on a review of the literature in social and experimental psychology, organizational behavior, behavioral decision science, and other social science disciplines, as well as the limited amount of group research in the intelligence literature. Included in this review is a bibliography consisting of key references organized by topic, with annotations for selected articles based on relevance to group processes in intelligence analysis.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Process Losses

  • Chapter Three

    Improving Group Processes

  • Chapter Four

    Summary and Directions for Future Research

  • Appendix A

    Annotated Bibliography

The research in this report was conducted by the RAND National Security Research Division.

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