When new products will be highly technical, a better way to develop them is for specialists to do their work in private and collaborate through ‘nominal’ groups, the study says.
“The Effects of Problem Structure and Team Diversity on Brainstorming Effectiveness” is by Stylianos Kavadias of the Georgia Institute of Technology and Svenja C. Sommer of HEC Paris.
Management Insights, a regular feature of the journal, is a digest of important research in business, management, operations research, and management science. It appears in every issue of the monthly journal.
Since the 1950s, the effectiveness of brainstorming has been widely debated. While some researchers and practitioners consider it the standard idea generation and problem solving method in organizations, part of the social science literature has argued in favor of nominal groups, in which the same number of individuals generate solutions in isolation.
The authors revisit this debate and explore the implications that the underlying problem structure and the team diversity have on the quality of the best solution as obtained by the different group configurations.
They conclude that nominal groups perform better in specialized problems, even when the factors that affect the solution quality exhibit complex interactions (problem complexity). In cross-functional problems, the brainstorming group exploits the competence diversity of its participants to attain better solutions.
The current issue of Management Insights is available here. The full papers associated with the Insights are available to Management Science subscribers. Individual papers can be purchased at http://institutions.informs.org. Additional issues of Management Insights can be accessed here.
The other Insights in the current issue are:The Shape and Term Structure of the Index Option Smirk: Why Multifactor Stochastic Volatility Models Work So Well by Peter Christoffersen, Steven Heston, Kris Jacobs
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