2.21.2006

RANT: When team players are not wanted

So you need some fresh, innovative ideas. What do you do? Get a group of your best thinkers together to bounce ideas of each other? No, wrong answer, Dr. Christian Jarrett blogged. Time and again research has shown that people think of more new ideas on their own than they do in a group. The false belief that people are more creative in groups has been dubbed by psychologists the "illusion of group of productivity". But why does this illusion persist?

Bernard Nijstad and colleagues at the University of Amsterdam argue it's because when we're in a group, other people are talking, the pressure isn't always on us and so we're less aware of all the times that we fail to think of a new idea. By contrast, when we're working alone and we can't think of anything, there's no avoiding the fact that we're failing...

The researchers said "We suggest that working in a group may lead to a sense of continuous activity. This may provide group members with the idea that they are productive, because they feel that the group as a whole is making progress, even if they themselves are not contributing".

Other possible reasons for why people think they work better in groups include 'memory confusion', the idea that after working in groups people subsequently mistake other people's ideas for the own, and 'social comparison', the idea that in groups people are able to see how difficult everyone else has found it to come up with ideas too.

( Bartlett's Quotations includes this anonymous definition of a committee: "a group of the unwilling, chosen from the unfit, to do the unnecessary." Sadly, committees often fit this description. aka. Social Loafing)

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got > Opportunity vs Trap

1 comment:

  1. Laughing...
    Yes this is very clearly understood now. Oh how I cannot wait to bring this up when next I am baffled by idiocy during brainstorming sessions.

    Thanks indeed.

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