26 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2012
Date Written: September 26, 2011
We consider a team of agents with limited problem-solving ability facing a disjunctive task over a large solution space. We provide sufficient conditions for the following four statements. First, two heads are better than one: a team of two agents will solve the problem even if neither agent alone would be able to. Second, teaming up does not guarantee success: if the agents are not sufficiently creative, even a team of arbitrary size may fail to solve the problem. Third, "defendit numerus": when the agent's problem-solving ability is adversely affected by the complexity of the solution space, the solution of the problem requires only a mild increase in the size of the team. Fourth, groupthink impairs the power of diversity: if agents' abilities are positively correlated, a larger team is necessary to solve the problem.
Keywords: Problem-solving, Bounded rationality, Theory of teams, Groupthink
JEL Classification: D23, D71, C65
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
LiCalzi, Marco and Sürücü, Oktay, The Power of Diversity Over Large Solution Spaces (September 26, 2011). Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia Working Paper No. 1/2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2037869 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2037869