Building Open Teams to Leverage the Power of Turnover


Contrary to popular belief that member turnover is harmful to organizational performance, evidence from millions of software development projects suggests that teams of a high turnover rate can also achieve success, if not more successful (Klug & Bagrow, 2016). Targeting on this novel observation, we argue that task allocation is important in understanding team success. Our analysis reveals two types of tasks, one of low uncertainty and requires the commitment of a small team, or a small group of core members in teams of considerable size, the other of high uncertainty and takes the collective wisdom from a large pool of team members. The “parallel path” effect, which means that the probability of a challenging sub-task being solved by a “walk-in” user increases with the pool size, ensures benefits offset the cost of maintaining a big team. The lessons from the studied big teams, who have been trying to adapt to and survive from the dynamic online environment, provide valuable insights into the management practices of teams in general.

Work in progress

Keywords:team science; turnover; task allocation; uncertainty; collective wisdom

This is an ongoing work under preparation.