Attributions for Group Failure: Their Effects on Group Processes and Performance in Vistual Groups
The present work examines group members' attributions for a previous group failure as a cognitive mechanism underlying subsequent group processes and performance in virtual groups. It offers two theoretical frameworks -- a generalized individual approach and a novel socio-structural perspective -- that make different predictions about how attributions for a group failure should affect group processes (task effort, changes in individual and group strategies, and positive and negative maintenance communication) and group performance. The hypotheses from the two perspectives were tested in an experiment on virtual groups responding to a group failure. The attributional manipulation directed members' private attributions for the failure to one of the following causes -- self, a group as a whole, other group members, and external constraints of computer-mediated communication. The results support the sociostructural perspective, demonstrating that group-external attributions prompted reviews and revisions of the group's communication strategies. Furthermore, the findings reveal the effect of attributions on group performance quality and the role of positive maintenance communication as a partial mediator between attributions and group performance.
Group Processes and Performance
dissertation or thesis