CHAPTER 12

Applying Social Psychological Theory to the Problems of Group Work

Robert E. Kraut,     Carnegie Mellon University

12.1 MOTIVATION

In the work arena, groups are a major mechanism for organizations to tackle problems that are too large or complex for individuals to solve alone. For example, modern software packages, like Microsoft’s Excel, consist of millions of lines of computer code, whereas a good programmer typically writes a few thousand lines of code a year (Somerville, 2000; see Boehm et al., 1995, for more precise estimates of productivity in software engineering). To construct these massive applications, companies bring together individuals with skills in such disparate topics as interviewing, requirements analysis, software ...

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