Systems development endeavors usually occur in highly complex, politicized environments in which diverging interests of stakeholders result in a variety of conflicts. Therefore, conflict management has been an important focus of research in information requirements determination (IRD). However, research has failed to recognize that organizational politics and pressures on the participants might lead to an illusion of agreement among participants. The illusion of agreement phenomenon subsumes a wide range of dysfunctional group behaviors that lead to a superficial illusion of conformity among the members of the group. Two specific variants of this illusion are groupthink and the Abilene Paradox (AP). While the problem of groupthink has received some attention in the IRD literature, the concept of AP has not been considered. AP refers to the tendency of each group member to believe that every member wants to pursue a particular course of action, which leads everyone to agree publicly while disagreeing privately. This study empirically demonstrates the role of AP during a group requirements elicitation process (JAD). Implications of the findings and prescriptive guidelines are discussed.
Appan, Radha; Mellarkod, Vidhya; and Browne, Glenn J., "The Role of the Abilene Paradox in Group Requirements Elicitation Processes" (2005). AMCIS 2005 Proceedings. 185.