Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1586375
 
 

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Productivity Through Coffee Breaks: Changing Social Networks by Changing Break Structure


Benjamin N. Waber


MIT - Media Laboratory

Daniel Olguin Olguin


MIT - Media Laboratory

Taemie Kim


MIT - Media Laboratory

Alex Pentland


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

January 11, 2010


Abstract:     
In this paper we present a two-phase study undertaken to experimentally study in a real world setting the effects of social group strength and how to increase the strength of groups in the workplace. In the first phase of our study we measured interactions between workers at the call center of a large bank based in the United States using Sociometric Badges. We confirmed our hypothesis that the strength of an individual’s social group was positively related to productivity (average call handle time) for the employees that we studied. In the second phase of our study we show that by giving employees breaks at the same time we increased the strength of an individual’s social groups, demonstrating that low-cost management decisions can be used to act on these results.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22

Keywords: social networks, reality mining, kith, productivity

JEL Classification: C8, M12, M54

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Date posted: April 11, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Waber, Benjamin N. and Olguin Olguin, Daniel and Kim, Taemie and Pentland, Alex, Productivity Through Coffee Breaks: Changing Social Networks by Changing Break Structure (January 11, 2010). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1586375 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1586375

Contact Information

Benjamin N. Waber (Contact Author)
MIT - Media Laboratory ( email )
20 Ames St.
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States
617-253-4662 (Phone)
617-253-6285 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.media.mit.edu/~bwaber
Daniel Olguin Olguin
MIT - Media Laboratory ( email )
20 Ames St.
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States
Taemie Kim
MIT - Media Laboratory ( email )
20 Ames St.
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States
Alex Pentland
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )
77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States
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