Web-conferencing as a viable method for group decision research

Michel J.J. Handgraaf, Kerry F. Milch, Kirstin C. Appelt, Philip Schuette, Nicole A. Yoskowitz, Elke U. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Studying group decision-making is challenging for multiple reasons. An important logistic difficulty is studying a sufficiently large number of groups, each with multiple participants. Assembling groups online could make this process easier and also provide access to group members more representative of real-world work groups than the sample of college students that typically comprise lab Face-to-Face (FtF) groups. The main goal of this paper is to compare the decisions of online groups to those of FtF groups. We did so in a study that manipulated gain/loss framing of a risky decision between groups and examined the decisions of both individual group members and groups. All of these dependent measures are compared for an online and an FtF sample. Our results suggest that web-conferencing can be a substitute for FtF interaction in group decision-making research, as we found no moderation effects of communication medium on individual or group decision outcome variables. The effects of medium that were found suggest that the use of online groups may be the preferred method for group research. To wit, discussions among the online groups were shorter, but generated a greater number of thought units, i.e., they made more efficient use of time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-668
Number of pages10
JournalJudgment and Decision Making
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Decision making
  • Face-to-face communication
  • Framing effects
  • Group decisions


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