This website covers topics on knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

It's not just what or who you know!

Joy Godesiabois at Centrality has posted a link to a study of what characteristics of teams and the people in them make for successful results. It's not just what or who you know!

Research and management gurus have spilled a lot of ink arguing which is superior: a close-knit team that can complete each other's sentences or a group with relatively little in common, some not even knowing others in the group? The answer seems to be that it depends upon the circumstances. ...

A recent study by Christine Beckman, from the University of California, Irvine, examining start-up firms in Silicon Valley finds interesting results to this conundrum. ...

... In other words, while the knowledge, skills and abilities of the potential team members are important, they are only part of the formula when creating a new project team.

These results sound to be very much in line with the findings of Clayton Christensen's Innovator's Dilemma / Innovator's Solution.  Teams (or companies) succeed in driving growth of existing products with one set of behaviors.  And they succeed in creating and building new business through another set. 

The full article is available as a pdf, The Influence of Founding Team Company Affiliations on Firm Behavior, Christine M. Beckman, University of California, Irvine

This paper’s argument is that founding team composition—in particular, members’ prior company affiliations—shapes new firm behaviors. Firms with founding teams whose members have worked at the same company engage in exploitation because they have shared understandings and can act quickly. Conversely, founding teams whose members have worked at many different companies have unique ideas and contacts that encourage exploration. In addition, firms whose founding teams have both common and diverse prior company affiliations have advantages that allow them to grow. The results suggest team composition is an important antecedent of exploitative and explorative behavior and firm ambidexterity.

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