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The Power of Diversity over Large Solution Spaces

  • Marco LiCalzi

    ()

    (Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, 30121 Venezia, Italy)

  • Oktay Surucu

    ()

    (Department of Economics and Finance, Università LUISS Guido Carli, 00198 Roma, Italy)

We consider a team of agents with limited problem-solving ability facing a disjunctive task over a large solution space. We provide sufficient conditions for the following four statements. First, two heads are better than one: a team of two agents will solve the problem even if neither agent alone would be able to. Second, teaming up does not guarantee success: if the agents are not sufficiently creative, even a team of arbitrary size may fail to solve the problem. Third, defendit numerus : when the agent's problem-solving ability is adversely affected by the complexity of the solution space, the solution of the problem requires only a mild increase in the size of the team. Fourth, groupthink impairs the power of diversity: if agents' abilities are positively correlated, a larger team is necessary to solve the problem. This paper was accepted by Teck Ho, decision analysis.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1110.1495
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Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 58 (2012)
Issue (Month): 7 (July)
Pages: 1408-1421

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:58:y:2012:i:7:p:1408-1421
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  1. Laughlin, Patrick R. & Bonner, Bryan L. & Miner, Andrew G., 2002. "Groups perform better than the best individuals on Letters-to-Numbers problems," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 605-620, July.
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  15. 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.
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