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Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice





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Meetings are a common tool in organizations and are used for a variety of purposes and implemented in a variety of ways. Despite the prevalence of meetings, surveys suggest that they are often unproductive and costly. The current study focused on how meetings are designed in hopes of providing practically and theoretically meaningful recommendations for improving meeting quality. A total of 18 design characteristics associated with staff/team meetings were identified and their relevance to perceptions of meeting quality was tested. Using an online panel-based respondent pool of working adults, 367 individuals participated in a survey that they completed within 48 hr of their most recent staff/team meeting. The results demonstrated that 9 of the design characteristics, spanning all 4 categories of design characteristics (i.e., temporal, physical, procedural, and attendee), significantly predicted perceptions of meeting quality. Furthermore, this study validated and greatly extended previous research showing that agenda use, meeting punctuality, facility quality, and meeting facilitator status relate to meeting quality. In addition, this study identified specific relationships to meeting quality for several facility quality characteristics, including lighting, meeting space, refreshments, and temperature, and expanded our knowledge of key characteristics by identifying agreement use and the number of attendees as important. Taken together, these findings suggest that effective meeting design warrants holistic attention to all meeting aspects. These results were robust across demographics, including organizational type, gender, and supervisory status. Implications for meeting design are discussed.


© 2011 American Psychological Association.

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