Seeing Eye to Eye: An Account of Grounding and Understanding in Work Groups

Jean Carletta, Anne H. Anderson, Simon Garrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reviews seven years of work on small group discussion at the Human Communication Research Centre, Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, UK. Our thesis is that difficulties for decision-making in work groups can be characterized in terms of properties that disrupt the dialogue processes by which people establish common ground. Using an inter-disciplinary research cycle consisting of field observation, the collection of corpora of small group discussions from workplace settings, questionnaires about communication practices, and laboratory simulations, we explore this thesis for three factors we have observed to affect group communication - group size, status differences, and organizational structures which cut across the group membership - and describe what we think should be research priorities for the coming years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-45
Number of pages20
JournalCognitive Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • small group discussion
  • common ground
  • turn-taking
  • status characteristics
  • communication technologies
  • group decision-making

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