The team scaling fallacy: Underestimating the declining efficiency of larger teams
The competitive survival of many organizations depends on delivering projects on time and on budget. These firms face decisions concerning how to scale the size of work teams. Larger teams can usually complete tasks more quickly, but the advantages associated with adding workers are often accompanied by various disadvantages (such as the increased burden of coordinating efforts). We note several reasons why managers may focus on process gains when they envision the consequences of making a team larger, and why they may underestimate or underweight process losses. We document a phenomenon that we term the team scaling fallacy—as team size increases, people increasingly underestimate the number of labor hours required to complete projects. Using data from two laboratory experiments, and archival data from projects executed at a software company, we find persistent evidence of the team scaling fallacy and explore a reason for its occurrence.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 118 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Robert S. Huckman & Bradley R. Staats & David M. Upton, 2009. "Team Familiarity, Role Experience, and Performance: Evidence from Indian Software Services," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(1), pages 85-100, January.
- Daniel Kahneman & Dan Lovallo, 1993. "Timid Choices and Bold Forecasts: A Cognitive Perspective on Risk Taking," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(1), pages 17-31, January.
- Carliss Y. Baldwin & Kim B. Clark, 2000. "Design Rules, Volume 1: The Power of Modularity," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262024667, December.
- Moreland, Richard L. & Myaskovsky, Larissa, 2000. "Exploring the Performance Benefits of Group Training: Transactive Memory or Improved Communication?," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 117-133, May.
- Robert S. Huckman & Bradley R. Staats, 2011. "Fluid Tasks and Fluid Teams: The Impact of Diversity in Experience and Team Familiarity on Team Performance," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 13(3), pages 310-328, July.
- Buehler, Roger & Messervey, Deanna & Griffin, Dale, 2005. "Collaborative planning and prediction: Does group discussion affect optimistic biases in time estimation?," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 47-63, May.
- Paulus, Paul B. & Yang, Huei-Chuan, 2000. "Idea Generation in Groups: A Basis for Creativity in Organizations," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 76-87, May.
- Alan MacCormack & Roberto Verganti & Marco Iansiti, 2001. "Developing Products on "Internet Time": The Anatomy of a Flexible Development Process," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 133-150, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:118:y:2012:i:2:p:132-142. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.