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Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 133 (2016) 17-32
The authors examined the impact of secret conversation opportunities during virtual team discussions on majority opinion holders’ motivation to attend to minority opinion holders. Studies 1a and b showed that majorities were more motivated to process others’ arguments when secret conversation opportunities were available (vs. not), provided these arguments contained unique (vs. shared) information and this information was offered by the minority (vs. majority).
Study 2 demonstrated that this effect occurs because secret opportunities made majorities feel less powerful after being exposed to unique information from the minority (Study 2a), especially when majority members expected others to use these channels (Study 2b). Study 3 used an interactive group decision-making task and demonstrated that the increased majority motivation triggered by secret opportunities increased group decision quality. Study 3 also examined whether secret opportunities influence the minority and whether the effect is robust across different communication settings.