ph.d. dissertation

The Structuring of Creative Processes with Group Support Systems

Murli Nagasundaram
The University of Georgia, 1995

Dissertation committee:
ROBERT P. BOSTROM(Chair), Alan Dennis, John Satzinger, Robert Vandenberg, Richard Watson

Abstract: This study investigated creative idea generation employing two different creativity techniques, with and without the support of a group support system (GSS). The resulting four combinations of creativity technique and technology support were evaluated for idea generation performance with a new construct called the paradigm-relatedness of ideas, besides the quantity of ideas generated.

Drawing on previous research in GSS, creativity, adaptive structuration theory, and technology acceptance theory eight hypotheses were formulated relating the treatment conditions to four dependent variables: paradigm relatedness of ideas, total quantity of ideas, perceived usefulness of technology/technique, and perceived ease of use of technology/technique.

The hypotheses were tested via a laboratory experiment. The study employed a 2x2 randomized, counterbalanced, full factorial, repeated measures, experimental design. Ninety-four MBA students were assembled into sixteen groups (four sets of four groups each) and were administered a combination of creativity technique (Brainstorming or Guided Fantasy) and technology support (no support or GSS support). Each group worked on two idea generation tasks in sequence, once with the support of a GSS, and another time without any technology support. Each group used the same creativity technique for both tasks. The sequences of technologies used and tasks performed were fully counterbalanced by using of four groups in each cell.

Significant differences were detected between the two technology conditions for both paradigm-relatedness and the total quantity of ideas generated. The direction of the first result, however, was the opposite of that hypothesized: GSS support resulted in a lower level of paradigm-relatedness than no GSS support. The second result was congruent with previous GSS research. No significant differences were detected between the two creativity techniques on either paradigm-relatedness or the total quantity of ideas generated. Possible explanations for the results and future directions for research are discussed. This study was the first to examine creative idea generation using different creativity techniques with and without GSS support. It has also provided a foundation for exploring the paradigm-relatedness dimension in creative idea generation.

INDEX WORDS: Creativity, Creative Problems Solving, Group Support Systems, GSS, Groupware, CSCW, Idea Generation, Brainstorming, Paradigm-relatedness, Paradigm-shift.

University Microfilms Inc. Publication Number: 9540454, Georgia-D

Published articles based on the dissertation

  • The Structuring of Creative Processes using GSS: A Framework for Research, Journal of Management Information Systems, 11(3), Winter 1994-95, pp.89- 116; with R. P. Bostrom.
  • A longer version of this article is available as a Working Paper No. 81 from the Department of Management, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
  • Structuring Creativity with GSS: An Experiment, Association of Information Systems Conference, '95, August 25-27, 1995, Pittsburgh, PA; with R. P. Bostrom.
  • The Structuring of Creative Processes: Implications for GSS Research, Twenty-Seventh Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences, '94; with R. P. Bostrom. Best paper nominee.
  • Structures in Creativity Techniques, in Proceedings of the 3rd Annual Georgia Research in Information Technology Conference, November 13, 1993, Marietta, Georgia.