Beyond Brainstorming: Exploring Convergence in Teams

Isabella Seeber, Gert-Jan de Vreede, Ronald Maier, Barbara Weber

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Collaborative brainstorming is often followed by a convergence activity
where teams extract the most promising ideas on a useful level of detail from the brainstorming results. Contrary to the wealth of research on electronic brainstorming, there is a dearth of research on convergence. We used experimental methods for an in-depth exploration of two facilitation-based interventions in a convergence activity: attention guidance (focusing participants on procedures to execute a convergence task) and discussion encouragement (engaging participants in conversations to combine knowledge on ideas). Our findings show that both attention guidance and discussion encouragement are correlated with higher convergence quality. We argue that attention guidance’s contribution is in its support of coordination, information processing, and goal specification. Similar, we argue that discussion encouragement’s contribution is in its stimulation of idea clarification and idea combination. Contrary to past research, our findings further show that satisfaction was higher after convergence than after brainstorming.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Management Information Systems
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)939-969
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided
the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.


  • Attention guidance
  • Brianstorming
  • Collaboration
  • Collaborative brainstorming
  • Discussion encouragement
  • Idea convergence
  • Idea quality
  • Idea selection
  • Ideation
  • Satisfaction
  • Team
  • Teamwork


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