Process Structuring in Electronic Brainstorming

Alan R. Dennis, Joseph S. Valacich, Terry Connolly, Bayard E. Wynne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


One aspect of brainstorming that has received little research attention is how the brainstorming problem should be presented to the group, whether as one all-encompassing question or as a series of separate questions each focusing on one aspect of the problem. This paper reports the results of two experiments in which subjects (MBAs in the first, senior executives in the second) electronically brainstormed on intact problems (where all parts of the problem were presented simultaneously) or on decomposed problems (where three subcategories of the problem were sequentially posed to the groups). In both experiments, groups using the decomposed process generated 60% more ideas. We attribute these differences to the ability of time constraints to increase the rate of idea generation, and the ability of problem decomposition to refocus members' attention more evenly across the entire problem. (.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-277
Number of pages10
JournalInformation Systems Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1996


  • Decomposition
  • Electronic brainstorming
  • Group support systems (GSS)
  • Structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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