I've always wondered about the effectiveness of study groups. Here are a few popular ways in dealing with a group project:
Divide and conquer: the most popular methodology. The group work exists in the form of a stapler (stolen from our marketing professor's memorable quotes). You learn the least but spend the least time. It is the most efficient because our classes ironically place little real importance on the homework. A real hit or miss when it comes to the grade.
Smaller Groups and divide and conquer: somewhat popular. Same as divide and conquer but do so in smaller groups. Slightly better results are reached and slightly more time is spent. Consensus may or may not be reached but little is done to ensure that. Minimal learning.
Gather and discuss: the most annoying way by far. The group work is 90% talk and 10% do. Dominated by strong personality. If there are strong personalities, expect Jerry Springer bodyguards to break up the fight. Involves shouting and backhanded compliments such as "That's a very good Kellogg idea." A consensus may or may not be reached. If reached, the consensus may or may not be written down. If written down, the consensus may or may not materialize. It depends on the person writing the final version. And that's if you reach consensus!
Come prepared and discuss: hit or miss method. Asking people to come prepared is easier said than done. The most likely outcome is similar to "gather and discuss," since prisoner's dilemma leads to all parties to be more or less unprepared. However, in the rare occurance that everybody comes prepared, both learning and grades are maximized. Well, congratulations, you just scored an "A" on a 3 to 5 pt project that took you 5 hours to complete.
Such is life at the GSB.