Considering the rules of brainstorming in untrained idea generating groups




Brainstorming, Idea Generation, Group Dynamics, Groupwork, Group Work


Brainstorming (Osborn, 1957), as an idea generating technique, is widely used in businesses and organizations despite evidence that it fails to produce more ideas than non-interacting groups (e.g., Mullen, Johnson, & Salas, 1991). Past tests of the technique employ comparisons of groups instructed to follow the rules of brainstorming (i.e., focus on quantity, free-wheeling, non-evaluation, and piggy-backing) to groups without such instructions. In the current study, the connection between the activities proposed in the rules of brainstorming and idea generation are examined.  The perceived occurrence of these activities are examined in untrained idea generating groups to assess how they influence idea generation. 188 participants (61% men, 39% women), performed an idea generation task (i.e., the typewriter task) and assessed perceptions of the occurrence of the activities highlighted by the brainstorming rules in the group discussion. Overall, perceptions of brainstorming rules influence the number of ideas generated with piggy-backing emerging as a significant predictor variable.

Author Biography

David Dryden Henningsen, Professor, Department of Communication, Northern Illinois University

David Henningsen is a scholar studying group dynamics. He has published research on group decision making, creativity in groups, and group relations. He has published in a variety of regional, national, and international journals.


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How to Cite

Henningsen, D. D., & Henningsen, M. L. (2023). Considering the rules of brainstorming in untrained idea generating groups. Groupwork, 30(2).