Subgroup Biases in Partially-Distributed Collaboration

Subgroup Biases in Partially-Distributed Collaboration

Nathan Bos (John Hopkins University, USA), Judith S. Olson (University of California-Irvine, USA), Ning Nan (University of Oklahoma, USA) and Arik cheshin (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/jitr.2009010101
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Modern organizations often bring together groups in which some people are collocated and some remote. These groups often take the form of loosely-organized networks rather than hierarchies. Partially distributed groups may have characteristics that are different from fully collocated or fully distributed groups, such as being particularly vulnerable to subgroup formation. A ten-person simulation game called Shape Factory was used to model partially-distributed collaboration networks. We found that biases in trade patterns did occur among both collocated and remote (isolated) players. Collocated players formed a strong subgroup, with a bias toward ingroup trading, which almost immediately led remote players to form their own subgroup. These groups strengthened over time. Despite being at a technological disadvantage, the remote group performed as collocated workers.

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