ERIC Number: ED164141
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977
Reference Count: 0
Indeterminate and Sequential Goal Structures in Relation to Task Performance in Small Groups.
Brownell, Celia A.; Hartup, Willard W.
In this investigation of group problem solving in small groups, performance on a tower-building task was studied in same-sex triads of 141 third grade children exposed to four instructional conditions, each consisting of three phases of six trials each. Instructional conditions were either determinate (i.e., individualistic or contrient reward structures) or indeterminate (i.e., undesignated or no rewards). In Phase One and Three of the task, triad members were equally rewarded (i.e., promotive reward structure). In Phase Two members received rewards according to different instructional conditions. Four measures of group performance were obtained. Two-factor multivariate analyses of variance were conducted, with repeated measures on Phase Two. Results of this study and the reanalysis of a previous study indicate that discrepancy scores between most and least contributing group members increased over time regardless of the instructional condition to which the group was exposed. In regard to indeterminate conditions, the change from promotive to no reward contingencies resulted in the maintenance of cooperative strategies. Change from promotive to undesignated reward contingencies resulted in a shift to individualistic performances. Generally, the children interpreted current task demands in terms of current goals, and transitions between cooperation, competition, and individualization were immediate. Further research into the interaction of contextual factors and immediate goal structures is recommended. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
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