The role of the Abilene paradox in group requirements elicitation processes

Radha Appan, Vidhya Mellarkod, Glenn J. Browne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Systems development endeavors usually occur in highly complex, politicized environments in which diverging interests of stakeholders result in a variety of conflicts. Therefore, conflict management has been an important focus of research in information requirements determination (IRD). However, research has failed to recognize that organizational politics and pressures on the participants might lead to an illusion of agreement among participants. The illusion of agreement phenomenon subsumes a wide range of dysfunctional group behaviors that lead to a superficial illusion of conformity among the members of the group. Two specific variants of this illusion are groupthink and the Abilene Paradox (AP). While the problem of groupthink has received some attention in the IRD literature, the concept of AP has not been considered. AP refers to the tendency of each group member to believe that every member wants to pursue a particular course of action, which leads everyone to agree publicly while disagreeing privately. This study empirically demonstrates the role of AP during a group requirements elicitation process (JAD). Implications of the findings and prescriptive guidelines are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAssociation for Information Systems - 11th Americas Conference on Information Systems, AMCIS 2005
Subtitle of host publicationA Conference on a Human Scale
Pages1482-1492
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2005
Event11th Americas Conference on Information Systems, AMCIS 2005 - Omaha, NE, United States
Duration: Aug 11 2005Aug 15 2005

Publication series

NameAssociation for Information Systems - 11th Americas Conference on Information Systems, AMCIS 2005: A Conference on a Human Scale
Volume3

Conference

Conference11th Americas Conference on Information Systems, AMCIS 2005
CountryUnited States
CityOmaha, NE
Period08/11/0508/15/05

Keywords

  • Abilene paradox
  • Group conformity
  • Group requirements elicitation
  • Illusion of agreement
  • JAD

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