Is Collaboration Creative or Costly? Exploring Tradeoffs in the Organization of Knowledge Work

32 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2011

See all articles by Michaël Bikard

Michaël Bikard

INSEAD

Fiona Murray

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center

Date Written: September 29, 2011

Abstract

Is collaboration creative or costly for knowledge workers? While collaboration has been shown to be associated with higher quality creative output, much less is known about whether collaborative work is productively efficient for knowledge work overall. In order to understand the “net value” of collaboration, it is important to therefore consider both its output and its input. To do so, we examine the annual research activity of 661 faculty scientists at one institution over a 31-year period, but in a variety of collaborative arrangements. Our data supports previous reports that scientists tend to publish higher quality papers when they collaborate more. However, we also find that they also tend to publish fewer papers by year of work. This tradeoff between productivity and quality widens with the size of the collaboration and emerges as a central cost of collaboration in creative knowledge work.

Keywords: Knowledge Work, Collaboration, Academic Science, Productivity, Creativity

Suggested Citation

Bikard, Michaël A. and Murray, Fiona E., Is Collaboration Creative or Costly? Exploring Tradeoffs in the Organization of Knowledge Work (September 29, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1953324 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1953324

Michaël A. Bikard (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
Fontainebleau, 77300
France

Fiona E. Murray

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center ( email )

United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
297
Abstract Views
1,243
rank
111,263
PlumX Metrics