The effect of a leader on group brainstorming performance

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The purpose of this research was to determine if a leader could significantly improve group brainstorming performance. In the present study, the quantity and quality of the ideas generated by groups brainstorming with a leader was compared to that of leaderless groups and "nominal" groups of individuals brainstorming separately. One hundred fifty two undergraduates participated in four-member groups composed of two males and two females. Each group generated solutions to a brainstorming problem relevant to students and then selected the best solution, which was used to measure quality of ideas. The results indicate that groups with a leader performed as well as nominal groups and produced a significantly greater number of ideas than groups without a leader. Results concerning quality of ideas were inconclusive. Future research on group brainstorming performance should investigate the effect of other factors related to the leader such as style and relationship to group members, group member relationships, and task relevance.