Hackman, R.J. (1968) Effects of Task Characteristics on Group Products, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 4, pp. 162-187

I read this paper to find out some characteristics for problem solving. The paper looks at three different types of tasks which require a group to produce a written product. The three types are: production (task calling for the production of ideas), discussions (discussion on values or issues, and problem-solving (a solution to a specific problem is required. Characteristics for problem solving are as follows:

  • group needs to deal with proposed actions or implementations, e.g., “how could you safely change a tire on a busy express way at night?”
  • lenght (of written product), originality and quality of presentation are low (compared to the two other tasks)
  • high action orientation
  • the products told “how to do”, “what to do”, which could be labelled as “plans of action”
  • thus it has strong emphasis on “intruction” process, tasks involve instruction with respect to some overt actions