Interrupting discussions improves decision-making

Posted on Mar 17 2017 - 10:00am by Editorial

Teams make better decisions if they are interrupted with advice during a task, rather than simply advised before it, research from UCL School of Management reveals.

In a study published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Professor Colin Fisher looked at the timing and impact of formal interventions in decision making groups and found that giving teams advice ahead of time to prevent problems from emerging doesn’t work as well as interrupting them with in-process interventions.

“The findings go against the conventional wisdom that prevention is always better than cure. Teams that were interrupted had more productive discussions on a variety of measures, improving the quality of the decisions they made. Surprisingly, it didn’t matter specifically how long we waited to intervene, so long as the group had already begun its discussion,” said Professor Fisher.

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