Beta Versus VHS and the Acceptance of Electronic Brainstorming Technology

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Vol: 28, Issue: 1

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Dennis, Alan R.; Reinicke, Bryan
Electronic brainstorming; group support systems; technology acceptance model (TAM); technology adoption; brainstorming; idea generation; nominal group technique
article description
This paper argues that much of the past research on electronic brainstorming has been somewhat myopic. Much as Sony focused on the quality of the picture on its Beta format, we as IS researchers have focused on the number of ideas generated as the dominant measure of electronic brainstorming effectiveness. When VHS killed Beta, Sony discovered that image quality was a secondary consideration for most VCR users. Despite the compelling research on its performance benefits, electronic brainstorming has not yet displaced–or even joined–verbal brainstorming as a widely used idea generation technique. This paper presents arguments that users may not be primarily concerned with the number of ideas generated when planning a brainstorming session, but rather may equally desire group well being and member support. We present theoretical arguments and empirical evidence suggesting that electronic brainstorming is not as effective as verbal brainstorming at providing group well being and member support. We believe that these arguments may also apply to other group and individual research areas and may also call for a reevaluation of the technology acceptance model (TAM). Finally, we suggest further research that may help electronic brainstorming avoid the fate of the Beta format.