Why three heads are better than one

21 years ago   •   1 min read

By Marcia Kadanoff

An increasing emphasis on teamwork, combined with the 50th anniversary of Francis Crick and James Watson’s discovery of the structure of DNA—a milestone that passed earlier this year—spurred a study by Pepperdine researchers Leslie Palich and Linda Livingstone to look at the dynamics of research teams. The Management Research Study used a simple process to determine a team’s success. One way to define the success of a scientific research process is to gauge whether it is used by other researchers to further their work. To determine that, this project involved selecting all of the articles published in six of the top-rated management journals in one year and then determining how many times each of the articles was cited in other works in the following six years. With a bow to Crick and Watson, the project found that teams had significantly more citations for their articles than did individual authors and that teams of three did better than teams of two. It appears that a synergy develops as researcher pool their expertise. In Watson’s own words, “We had each other. It helps to have someone else to take over the thinking when you get frustrated.”

Graziadio Business Report vol. 6, no. 2, 2003

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