For Better Teamwork, Let People Choose Whom They Work With

Next time a project requires your colleagues to divide into teams, consider letting them choose for themselves who their collaborators are.

Researchers from Ohio State University, the University of Michigan and the University of South Carolina recently set out to determine what makes people cooperate well — especially because evolution pits beings against each other and human cooperation counters this instinct.

They found that teams thrive when members have the ability to pick and choose who they’re working with. Chances are, they’ll be more effective at working with those who are already established members of their network.

The study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, asked 810 participants to play online games together. Each player began with 1,000 units of money which added up to $1. If one player was willing to give another player 50 units, the recipient would gain 100 while the provider would forfeit only 50.

Some games were made up of random groups of people, while others involved small groups of people who were connected to one another, similar to how humans tend to congregate in real-life scenarios. Within each of these two types of arrangements, the researchers allowed some teams to be static, meaning they couldn’t add or drop people from their teams, and some to be dynamic, allowing such flexibility. Read more

Lydia Belanger – Entrepreneur – 26 Jan 2018