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Members who know the team’s boundaries—that is, who else is assigned to the team—also know to whom they can go for information and with whom they should share their information .In this way, having a clear understanding of membership can increase the likelihood that people with relevant knowledge will be included in discussions, a necessary first step to ensuring that those people have opportunities to speak up.In doing so, we highlight the importance of moving beyond simply including smart people on a team to thinking about how those people can effectively coordinate and collaborate.
One obstacle is that members may not realize they have information worth sharing.
For example, research on “the common knowledge effect” highlights the tendency for team members to focus on knowledge that is already commonly shared among group members.
This is an effect based in simple probability: if all group members know a piece of information, for example an attribute of a job candidate, that information is more likely to be mentioned during a group discussion than information known by only one member .
As a result, uniquely held, important knowledge could go unspoken because members are less likely to think of it.
As an example, there is evidence from the study of pediatric care that including patients’ families and nurses—who are often excluded from physicians’ rounds—provides meaningful benefits in the form of better diagnoses and care plan development because these individuals can contribute information not possessed by other team members that can be used in making care decisions [14, 15].
In addition to gathering the right people on a team, those with relevant knowledge must speak up if their expertise is to be used effectively by the team.
This article reviews research from the field of organizational behavior to shed light on group structures and processes that facilitate the use of available expertise for more effective decision making, negotiation, execution of tasks, creativity, and overall team performance.
First, we highlight what it means to have a collectively intelligent team: one with the capability to perform well consistently across a range of tasks .
In research and practice, a common belief is that teamwork is best when the team has the best—that is, the smartest—people; yet recent research challenges this assumption.
Following methods used in psychology to study individual intelligence, Woolley et al.