Subgroup Biases in Partially-Distributed Collaboration

Nathan Bos, Judith Olson, Ning Nan, Arik cheshin

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Modern organizations often bring together groups in which some people are collocated and some remote. These groups often take the form of loosely-organized networks rather than hierarchies. Partially distributed groups may have characteristics that are different from fully collocated or fully distributed groups, such as being particularly vulnerable to subgroup formation. A ten-person simulation game called Shape Factory was used to model partially-distributed collaboration networks. We found that biases in trade patterns did occur among both collocated and remote (isolated) players. Collocated players formed a strong subgroup, with a bias toward ingroup trading, which almost immediately led remote players to form their own subgroup. These groups strengthened over time. Despite being at a technological disadvantage, the remote group performed as collocated workers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
Specialist publicationJournal of Information Technology Research
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009


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