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Silence is Golden

Title: Silence is Golden: Team Problem Solving and Communication Costs.
Name(s): Charness, Gary, author
Cooper, David, author
Grossman, Zachary, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Working Paper
Date Issued: 2018-01-26
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Numerous experimental studies have found that teams outperform individuals on intellective problems by a large degree. This result is intuitively appealing, as teams can benefit from sharing insights. However, much of this literature considers a task that involves a single clear insight. We instead analyze experiments comparing the performance of individuals and teams of four subjects at solving a series of challenging logic puzzles, where the solution involves a series of incremental steps. Contrary to the existing literature, team performance is statistically indistinguishable from that of individuals when there is no cost to sending a message. Frictions resulting from both congestion and incorrect suggestions substantially derail the solution process for teams. If we impose a very small cost of communication on teams, the performance of teams improves. Underlying these results is a robust negative relationship between frequency of communication and team performance. Using a straightforward prediction exercise, we show that performance would have improved dramatically if the best member of each team had been asked to solve the puzzles alone rather than forming a team.
Identifier: FSU_libsubv1_scholarship_submission_1516997564_26bd399d (IID)
Keywords: Communication, Inexpensive talk, Team performance, Puzzles, Experiment
Publication Note: This is a working paper.
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Charness, G., Cooper, D., & Grossman, Z. (2018). Silence is Golden: Team Problem Solving and Communication Costs. Retrieved from