A common reason for the use of teams in organizations is the idea that each individual can bring a unique perspective to the decision task; however, research shows that teams often fail to surface and use unique information to evaluate decision alternatives. Under a condition known as the hidden profile, each member uniquely possesses a critical clue needed to uncover the superior solution. Failure to share and adequately evaluate this information will result in poor decision quality. In order to mitigate this team decision-making bias, the present study utilizes experimental research to examine the impact of the devil’s advocacy technique on the decision quality of hidden profile teams. Results show that advocacy groups had higher decision qualities than groups under free discussion; however, advocacy teams also had higher levels of anger and lower levels of individual support for their group’s decision. As a result, while these teams selected the best solution, the presence of a devil’s advocate introduces conditions that may hinder the solution’s implementation. Furthermore, similar experiments with advocacy techniques suggest that the positive effect on decision quality found here is reduced in the presence of stronger hidden profiles.
Recommended CitationWaddell, Brian D., "Uncovering Hidden Profiles; Managerial Interventions for Discovering Superior Decision Alternatives" (2011). Honors Projects in Management. Paper 12.