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5 Business Skills Every IT Pro Must Master (Collection) by Leigh Thompson, Jerry Weissman, Terry J. Fadem, Stephen Robbins, Robert Follett

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Truth 41. 2 + 2 Doesn’t Necessarily Equal 4

Proponents of teams frequently say that one of the reasons business firms should organize around teams is that they create positive synergy. That is, the cumulative productivity output of a team is greater than would occur if individual members had worked alone because the sense of team spirit spurs individual effort. So 2 + 2 can equal 5. The truth is that teams often create negative synergy. Some individuals expend less effort when working collectively than when working individually, so 2 + 2 can equal 3! The reason for this negative outcome? It’s called social loafing.

In the late 1920s, a German psychologist named Max Ringelmann compared the results of individual and group performance on a rope-pulling ...

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