The Impact of Evaluation Mode and Social Comparison on the Quality of Integrative Ideas in Asynchronous Online Discussions: Theory Development and Field Experiment Design
AbstractOnline course management systems are commonly used for course-related discussions. Effective discussion design should encourage both idea sharing and idea integration. Idea integration is considered the most fruitful phase of the creative process, and is essential for harnessing the collective value of the ideas generated in a group. Integrative ideas, however, are scarce, because idea integration requires extra perceptive and cognitive effort. To integrate ideas, individuals must recognize different dimensions of shared ideas and create logical associations among the differentiated dimensions. In this study, based on Cognitive Evaluation and Social Comparison theories, both a theoretical basis and field experiment design have been proposed for studying the impact of evaluation mode (informational vs. controlling) and social comparison (vs. lack thereof) on the quality of integrative ideas generated in classroom online discussions. The proposed theory and field experiments will inform discussion design and will contribute to literature on brainstorming and creativity.