Summary of a Scholarly Journal
I. Abstract of the Journal Article
In this paper, the author A. Healy records the findings of an experiment involving Thai and American subjects. The experiment observes just how subjects learn from information coming from someone of their ethnicity versus information coming from someone of a different ethnic group. The researcher finds that subjects are overconfident about the opinions held by members of their group in comparison to opinions of the different ethnic group. That is the Thais were more inclined to believe the opinions of fellow Thais. He however found that the subjects ascribe a higher value on information received from the other ethnic group. That is the Thais valued information from the Americans more. This was interpreted as proof that people do value information from outside as outsiders possess information that is different from that possessed by members of one’s own ethnic group. The researcher observed how Thais viewed information from Thais versus from Americans.
II. How and Why this Research was Conducted
The researcher reports that he wanted to explore just how well people use information from variety of sources to solve problems. The research is pivoted around Information Sharing and its impact on Decision Making. The researcher assumes that since most people engage in information sharing within their social groups, those who exchange information with people outside of their groups are able to make better quality decisions and therefore solve problems. The researcher also reasons that the lack of information sharing often leads to poor decisions.
There are three main aspects of outside information that the researcher mentions: whether it is available, whether it is accessed and whether a high value is placed on them.
The researcher had Thai subjects consider opinions coming from sources within Thai cultural background and from an American cultural background. The subjects answered questions about both Thailand, about the US and about Thailand and the US. After answering the questions, they then were given an opportunity to revise their answers based on answers given by Americans and Thais to those same questions. The researcher observes how subjects opted to change their answers in order to see how much weight they ascribe to American answers vis-à-vis Thai answers. The researcher proposes that Thais and Americans tend to make different types of mistakes, hence the decisions by Thai subjects to put more weight on American answers although Thais and American answers were approximately equally good. Since they make different types of mistakes, one is likely to learn more from a member of the other group than from a member of one’s own group.
The design of the experiment enabled the researcher to compare the subjects valuing of their own information to others’ information. The researcher used a questionnaire with 15 questions which subjects had to fill in. The questions and instructions were administered in the respondents’ native languages to ensure equality in understanding the question.
III. Conclusion The value of the Journal and why it is Important to Listen to People
The research demonstrates that involving different groups of people enriches problem solving. It proves that by listening, a person – or a group of people, in this case – can obtain information that is different in substance and perspective from the information that they possess, making it easier for them to solve their problems.
The researcher argues that listening is not just an individual activity, but also a group activity, writing that a desire for cohesiveness may prevent the formation of ethnically (or otherwise) diverse groups. He finally states that the solution is to ensure that decision-makers are people who can listen to different opinions.
Healy, A. (2006) Do People Appreciate the Value of Listening to a Variety of Opinions? Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=87057