Team Formation

Stimulating Effort and Collaboration in Groups of Creative Workers

We investigate the emergence of collaboration in groups of creative workers. We test theoretical predictions from different disciplines – economics, management, and psychology – regarding the factors leading to the emergence of collaboration. Our empirical setting is a field experiment in which problem solvers were randomly assigned to virtual teams of five and worked over a period of 10 days to solve the same complex algorithmic problem. As predicted by neoclassical economic theory, we find that monetary rewards powerfully shape the effort that workers exert in their work. However, we also find substantial evidence for the existence of peer effects, whereby individuals exert more effort when other team members work harder. We find little evidence that diversity in terms of skills or demographics negatively affects the emergence of collaboration. However, the presence of individuals with a high propensity to engage in coordination moves within a group, seems to have a catalyzing effect on the contributions of others.

With Kevin Boudreau, Karim Lakhani, Patrick Gaule, and Anita Woolley.

Team-Formation and Matching in Creative Workers

We recently ran a large team-formation and matching experiment on TopCoder together with the USPTO. The overall prize pool was more than $60,000 and we had around 1,000 registered participants. The goal of the image and text recognition challenge was, among others, to identify part numbers in scanned USPTO patents. Some of the submitted algorithms delivered very impressive results. Our challenge has been featured on the website of the White House (Office of Science and Technology Policy), and Challenge.gov.

Figure: Automatically detected part numbers by submitted algorithm to USPTO challenge.

With Andrea Blasco, Kevin Boudreau, Karim Lakhani, and Michael Menietti.