Ability Dispersion and Team Performance

Sander Hoogendoorn, Simon C. Parker, Mirjam Van Praag

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    What is the effect of dispersed levels of cognitive ability of members of a (business) team on their team's performance? This paper reports the results of a field experiment in which 573 students in 49 (student) teams start up and manage real companies under identical circumstances for one year. We ensured exogenous variation in otherwise random team composition by assigning students to teams based on their measured cognitive abilities. Each team performs a variety of tasks, often involving complex decision making. The key result of the experiment is that the performance of business teams first increases and then decreases with ability dispersion. We seek to understand this finding by developing a model in which team members of different ability levels form sub- teams with other team members with similar ability levels to specialize in different productive tasks. Diversity spreads production over different tasks in order to escape diminishing marginal returns under specialization. The model comes with a boundary condition: our experimental finding is most likely to emerge in settings where different tasks exhibit moderate differences in their productive contributions to total output.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2014: The Power of Words - Philadelphia, United States
    Duration: 1 Aug 20145 Aug 2014
    Conference number: 74
    http://aom.org/annualmeeting/

    Conference

    ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2014
    Number74
    CountryUnited States
    CityPhiladelphia
    Period01/08/201405/08/2014
    Internet address

    Bibliographical note

    CBS Library does not have access to the material

    Cite this

    Hoogendoorn, S., Parker, S. C., & Van Praag, M. (2014). Ability Dispersion and Team Performance. Paper presented at The Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2014, Philadelphia, United States.
    Hoogendoorn, Sander ; Parker, Simon C. ; Van Praag, Mirjam. / Ability Dispersion and Team Performance. Paper presented at The Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2014, Philadelphia, United States.
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    title = "Ability Dispersion and Team Performance",
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    keywords = "Entrepreneurship, Teams, Field experiment",
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    Hoogendoorn, S, Parker, SC & Van Praag, M 2014, 'Ability Dispersion and Team Performance' Paper presented at, Philadelphia, United States, 01/08/2014 - 05/08/2014, .

    Ability Dispersion and Team Performance. / Hoogendoorn, Sander; Parker, Simon C.; Van Praag, Mirjam.

    2014. Paper presented at The Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2014, Philadelphia, United States.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

    TY - CONF

    T1 - Ability Dispersion and Team Performance

    AU - Hoogendoorn, Sander

    AU - Parker, Simon C.

    AU - Van Praag, Mirjam

    N1 - CBS Library does not have access to the material

    PY - 2014

    Y1 - 2014

    N2 - What is the effect of dispersed levels of cognitive ability of members of a (business) team on their team's performance? This paper reports the results of a field experiment in which 573 students in 49 (student) teams start up and manage real companies under identical circumstances for one year. We ensured exogenous variation in otherwise random team composition by assigning students to teams based on their measured cognitive abilities. Each team performs a variety of tasks, often involving complex decision making. The key result of the experiment is that the performance of business teams first increases and then decreases with ability dispersion. We seek to understand this finding by developing a model in which team members of different ability levels form sub- teams with other team members with similar ability levels to specialize in different productive tasks. Diversity spreads production over different tasks in order to escape diminishing marginal returns under specialization. The model comes with a boundary condition: our experimental finding is most likely to emerge in settings where different tasks exhibit moderate differences in their productive contributions to total output.

    AB - What is the effect of dispersed levels of cognitive ability of members of a (business) team on their team's performance? This paper reports the results of a field experiment in which 573 students in 49 (student) teams start up and manage real companies under identical circumstances for one year. We ensured exogenous variation in otherwise random team composition by assigning students to teams based on their measured cognitive abilities. Each team performs a variety of tasks, often involving complex decision making. The key result of the experiment is that the performance of business teams first increases and then decreases with ability dispersion. We seek to understand this finding by developing a model in which team members of different ability levels form sub- teams with other team members with similar ability levels to specialize in different productive tasks. Diversity spreads production over different tasks in order to escape diminishing marginal returns under specialization. The model comes with a boundary condition: our experimental finding is most likely to emerge in settings where different tasks exhibit moderate differences in their productive contributions to total output.

    KW - Entrepreneurship

    KW - Teams

    KW - Field experiment

    M3 - Paper

    ER -

    Hoogendoorn S, Parker SC, Van Praag M. Ability Dispersion and Team Performance. 2014. Paper presented at The Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2014, Philadelphia, United States.