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Last updated February 24, 2000


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Explanation of Theory:
Decision - Mapping - effective leadership will increase the likelihood of a group producing a positive outcome.

T. Cartwright Stephens
Primary Article:
Stephens, T. C. (1999). Recasting Groupthink as a Consequence of Ineffective Leadership:  Is Cohesion the Problem or the Solution?.  Unpublished Paper, The University of Kentucky, Lexington.

Individual Interpretations:
With groups being everywhere it is important and vital to understand how they work.  Decision-Mapping offers an explanation of how to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes occurring in groups.

Metatheoretical Assumptions:
Being a Scientific theory the following metatheoretical assumption should be advanced.

Ontological Assumptions:
Scientific research suggest that human nature is deterministic.  Humans do 
not have control what they do.

Epistemological Assumptions:
Scientific research suggests that there is one truth, or big T truth.

Axiological Assumptions:
Research should not be value laden.  Research offers objective results.

Being a Scientific theory it should be critiqued using Chaffee & Berger's criteria.

Explanatory Power - Decision - Mapping offers a good explanation of how a group can map out a decision to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.

Predictive Power - Decision - Mapping lays out a specific tract that a group can follow to make decisions with positive outcomes.

Parsimony - Decision - Mapping is very simple suggesting that effective leaders and cohesion are determinants of decision outcomes.

Falsifiablity - Decision - Mapping can be tested as it lays out a specific model.  Groups will either follow the model to positive outcomes or negative outcomes.

Internal Consistency - Decision - Mapping goes along with some research on leadership, but contradicts other research on defective decision-making.  It is brand new and should be tested.

Heuristic Provocativeness - Decision - Mapping offers just a start of how groups can make decisions with positive outcomes.  There are many new hypotheses that can be drawn from this theory.

Organizing Power - Decision - Mapping organizes the research well pulling from leadership, decision-making, and cohesion.  It does a good job of suggesting a new way to look at all of them together.

Ideas and Implications:
This is important to understand because of the implications of groups.  Groups make decisions that differ and it is important to understand why this is the case.   With Groupthink being the force to be reckoned with as the explanation of why groups fail, this offers another explanation that should be considered.


Relevant Research:

Location in Eight (8) Primary Communication Theory Textbooks:

     Anderson, R., & Ross, V. (1998). Questions of communication: A practical introduction to theory (2nd ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press.  N/A

     Cragan, J. F., & Shields, D.C. (1998). Understanding communication theory: The communicative forces for human action. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. N/A

     Griffin, E. (2000). A first look at communication theory (4th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill. N/A

     Griffin, E. (1997). A first look at communication theory (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. 231-

      Infante, D. A., Rancer, A. S., & Womack, D. F. (1997). Building communication theory (3rd ed.). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press. N/A

      Littlejohn, S. W. (1999). Theories of human communication (6th ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. N/A

      West, R., & Turner, L. H. (2000). Introducing communication theory: Analysis and application. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield. N/A

       Wood, J. T. (1997). Communication theories in action: An introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. N/A