New study reveals the strength of the strongest ties in collaborative problem solving

June 25, 2014 by Alexandra Kahn
The network of teams' strongest expressive and instrumental ties. Only the strongest ties matter for performance, and those ties predict performance better than any other metrics (including technical abilities, familiarity with the topic, and personality).

In a study published recently in Nature's Scientific Reports, MIT Media Lab researchers showed that networking does not improve team performance. Their findings showed that only the participants' strongest ties had an actual effect on their performance—and the stronger the ties a team had, the better the team performed. None of the participants' weak instrumental (goal-oriented) or expressive (personal) networking ties significantly impacted the performance of their teams.

The research further showed that a team's strongest ties were the best predictor of its performance. A team's strongest ties indicated a performance better than the technical abilities of its members, what the members already knew on the topic, or their .

When solving problems in a , the study revealed, it does not matter how many people someone knows or networks with—what really matters are the strongest ties in the network. This has implications for the organization of of scientists, engineers, and a host of others tackling today's most complex problems.

The paper, "The Strength of the Strongest Ties in Collaborative Problem Solving," was published in the June 20 issue of Scientific Reports.

Explore further: Individual personal ties strengthen teams' overall creativity

More information: "The Strength of the Strongest Ties in Collaborative Problem Solving." Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, et al. Scientific Reports 4, Article number: 5277. DOI: 10.1038/srep05277. Received 28 March 2014 Accepted 14 May 2014 Published 20 June 2014

Related Stories

Individual personal ties strengthen teams' overall creativity

August 7, 2008

With more employees working in teams, it is critical to find ways to enable teams to be more creative in their work. A new article in Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal explores how imagination, insight, and creative ideas ...

Recommended for you

Fossil specimen reveals a new species of ancient river dolphin

September 1, 2015

The careful examination of fossil fragments from Panama has led Smithsonian scientists and colleagues to the discovery of a new genus and species of river dolphin that has been long extinct. The team named it Isthminia panamensis. ...

Early human diet explains our eating habits

August 31, 2015

Much attention is being given to what people ate in the distant past as a guide to what we should eat today. Advocates of the claimed palaeodiet recommend that we should avoid carbohydrates and load our plates with red meat ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.