Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Roni Reiter-Palmon

Second Advisor

Dr. Philip Craiger

Third Advisor

Dr. Lisa Scherer

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ray Millimet


Abstract Computers are widely used in business and industry toda y and are frequently considered essential to efficient job performance. A great deal of research has been generated over the past decade regarding computer use in the work place. However, research has lagged regarding computer technology and group performance. The purpose of this study is to determine empirically if there are enhancements in the performance of groups and individuals when they use a computer to facilitate the problem solving process. It is hypothesized that the quality of solutions generated to a complex problem will be a function of the interaction between use of computer and whether participants work independently or in groups. In addition, number of new factors generated and time taken for completion of the problem solving task will also be a func tion of this same interaction. One hundred and sixty-one participants were randomly assigned to one of four treatment conditions: group computer, group non-computer, individual computer and individual non-computer. All participants were asked to generate factors which might contribute to a final solution of the complex problem and to generate an initial and final solution to the problem. The group computer condition utilized Group Systems (GS) software to network computers for group interaction and to facilitate individual work on the computer. The other two treatment conditions (group non-computer and individual non-computer) employed paper and pencil. The problem solutions were rated for appropriateness, originality and resolving power. In addition, number of new factors generated were counted and time taken for task completion was recorded.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Virginia Louise Collins May, 1997

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