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A preliminary study of expressed preferences and task efficiency in differing communication networks Public Deposited

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  • The present study is an attempt to investigate some of the relationships between certain personality characteristics and expressed preferences for various communication structures; it is also an examination of the relative efficiency of the networks used. Subjects drawn from the university population participated in experimentally formed five-person groups. These groups were given a defined task to solve in each of three communication networks: an "open", or unstructured network; an "X", or structured network; and a "line" network, which lies between the "X" and the "open". Each subject was tested on a number of criteria in relation to the subject's expressed structural preference. The three networks used were compared on the basis of the number of errors and time required for completion of task. The following conclusions were derived from the study: 1. The amount of interaction is not related to preference of communication structure. 2. Females have high needs for structure and tend to avoid the unstructured networks; males are nearly equally distributed between the high and low structure networks. 3. The needs of control-certainty and affection-inclusion, as measured by the modified FIRO-B scale, do not accurately differentiate the subjects into groups based on expressed preference. 4. The modified California F-scale accurately differentiates the test subjects into groups based on expressed preference; suggesting authoritarian needs, or their absence, as a criterion for discrimination. 5. The pupillary response analysis accurately discriminates between the subjects who chose the "X" network and those who chose the "open" network. 6. The "X" communication network is the most efficient of the three networks tested for short-term, task-oriented, five-person groups.
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