Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Lebenswissen­schaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Psychologie

Interpersonal Liking, Dissent, and Opinion Exchange in Group Decision Making

Divergent opinions (dissent) can be beneficial for decision making in groups (Klocke, 2007a; Schulz-Hardt, Brodbeck, Mojzisch, Kerschreiter, & Frey, 2006) as they stimulate a more systematic and balanced information processing thereby improving decision quality. However, an early exchange of opinions (whether divergent or convergent) reduces systematic and balanced information processing and impairs decision quality (Mojzisch & Schulz-Hardt, in press). I am interested how these and other group processes are influenced by interpersonal liking between group members as one aspect of group cohesion. I assume that interpersonal liking can have promotional as well as detrimental effects on group decision making:

  1.  Liking inhibits a manifestation of dissent because members perceive the other’s opinion as being rather similar to their own (Klocke, 2008) and are reluctant to express dissent explicitly.
  2. Liking promotes interest in and thereby a more differentiated view of the other’s opinion (Klocke, 2007b).
  3. When dissent becomes manifest, liking triggers argumentation for one’s own opinion to convince the other (Klocke, 2007b) as well as a deeper analysis of the dissenting opinion as it is inconsistent with expectations.
  4. Liking amplifies the effects of other factors on group decision making. Three experiments showed that interpersonal liking increases the unfavorable effect of an early opinion exchange and the favorable effect of focusing on information exchange (Klocke, 2009).
The project was partly supported by the Seedcorn Grant of the European Association for Social Psychology (EASP).


Klocke, U. (2007a). How to improve decision making in small groups: Effects of dissent and training interventions. Small Group Research, 38, 437-468.

Klocke, U. (2007, September 18th). Nicht widersprechen, aber überzeugen?: Wie Sympathie auf Wahrnehmung und Äußerung von Dissens wirkt [Don’t disagree, but persuade?: How interpersonal liking influences the perception and expression of dissent]. Paper presented at the Tagung der Fachgruppe Sozialpsychologie der DGPs, Freiburg, Germany.
Klocke, U. (2008, July 25th). Dissent in group decision making: Contrary effects of interpersonal liking. Paper presented at the XXIX International Congress of Psychology, Berlin.

Klocke, U. (2009, May 16th). Group decision making is impaired by opinion exchange when members like each other. Paper presented at the 14th European Congress of Work and Organizational Psychology, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Mojzisch, A., & Schulz-Hardt, S. (in press). Knowing others' preferences degrades the quality of group decisions. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology.

Schulz-Hardt, S., Brodbeck, F. C., Mojzisch, A., Kerschreiter, R., & Frey, D. (2006). Group decision making in hidden profile situations: Dissent as a facilitator for decision quality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 1080-1093.