Groups of Diverse Problem Solvers Can Outperform Groups of High-Ability Problem Solvers

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 101, pp. 16385-16389, 2004

Posted: 14 Feb 2005

See all articles by Lu Hong

Lu Hong

Loyola University of Chicago

Scott E. Page

University of Michigan - Center for the Study of Complex Systems

Abstract

We introduce a general framework for modeling functionally diverse problem solving agents. In this framework, problem solving agents possess representations of problems and algorithms that they use to locate solutions. We use this framework to establish a result relevant to group composition. We find that when selecting a problem solving team from a diverse population of intelligent agents, a team of randomly selected agents outperforms a team comprised of the best performing agents. This result relies on the intuition that as the initial pool of problem solvers becomes large, the best performing agents necessarily become similar in the space of problem solvers. Their relatively greater ability is more than offset by their lack of problem solving diversity.

Keywords: Problem solving, groups, diversity

JEL Classification: C6

Suggested Citation

Hong, Lu and Page, Scott E., Groups of Diverse Problem Solvers Can Outperform Groups of High-Ability Problem Solvers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 101, pp. 16385-16389, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=666281

Lu Hong (Contact Author)

Loyola University of Chicago ( email )

25 East Pearson Street
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Scott E. Page

University of Michigan - Center for the Study of Complex Systems ( email )

317 West Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
981
PlumX Metrics