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Jacks-of-All-Trades? The Effect of Balanced Skills on Team Performance

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  • Rosendahl Huber, Laura

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Sloof, Randolph

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • van Praag, Mirjam C.

    (Copenhagen Business School)

Abstract

Previous empirical studies have shown that solo entrepreneurs benefit from having balanced skills: Jacks-of-All-Trades (JATs) are better entrepreneurs than specialists are. Nowadays however, the majority of entrepreneurs start up and run ventures together in teams. In this paper we test whether the effect of more balanced skills is also positive in a team of entrepreneurs. We also explore whether (a lack of) individual balanced skills can be substituted by combining the skills of various specialists within one team. Our field experiment studies teams of children participating in an entrepreneurship education program. Based on pupils' precisely measured level of verbal and mathematical ability, we exogenously compose 179 teams separated into four different types: JAT teams, math-specialist teams, verbal-specialist teams and mixed specialist teams. Our results show that balanced skills are beneficial to team performance, and that it is hard to substitute individual balanced skills by combining different specialists within one team.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosendahl Huber, Laura & Sloof, Randolph & van Praag, Mirjam C., 2014. "Jacks-of-All-Trades? The Effect of Balanced Skills on Team Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 8237, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8237
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    Cited by:

    1. Huber, Laura Rosendahl & Sloof, Randolph & Van Praag, Mirjam, 2014. "The effect of early entrepreneurship education: Evidence from a field experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 76-97.
    2. Huber, Laura Rosendahl & Sloof, Randolph & Van Praag, Mirjam, 2017. "The effect of incentives on sustainable behavior: evidence from a field experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 92-106.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    skill balance; team diversity; team performance; entrepreneurship; field experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

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