Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Summer 2007Kellogg School of Management
FeaturesBrand NewsFaculty NewsAlumni ProfilesClass NotesClub NewsArchivesContactKellogg Home
Brand News
Letter from the Dean
David Besanko, strategy expert, named senior associate dean for planning
Teamwork and passion result in record-setting student class gift
Kellogg School joint Executive MBA program marks decade in Hong Kong
Global Health Initiative a new way to put Kellogg leadership on the map
Sweet milestones
Thomson Financial gift helps the numbers add up in Kellogg Asset Management Program
Leadership initiative challenges students beyond the classroom with experiential learning in wilderness
Alumni help with 2016 Chicago Olympic bid
Kellogg study: team research better than solo efforts
Alum's nonprofit gains support for hunger relief in Africa
Address Update
Alumni Home
Submit News
Internal Site
Northwestern University
Kellogg Search
  Brian Uzzi
  Professor Brian Uzzi

Kellogg study: team research better than solo efforts

A Kellogg study has found that collaboration, rather than individual efforts, may prove to have the biggest research impact. The findings appeared in the May edition of Science in an article titled "The Increasing Dominance of Teams in the Production of Knowledge."

"The collaborative structure is better at producing new ideas than it was 50 years ago," said Brian Uzzi, the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change, and a co-author of the study. "In 1945, the papers written by individuals did garner more citations than papers written in teams," but since then, teams have produced the most-cited papers in diverse disciplines.

Not surprisingly, it was a team that produced the Kellogg study.

"This paper really drew on the strengths of [Assistant Professor of Management and Strategy] Ben Jones, who is trained as an economist, Stefan Wuchty [of Northwestern University's Institute on Complex Systems], who is trained as a physicist, and my own training as a sociologist," said Uzzi.

If research teams indeed outperform individuals, he says, this could affect research funding, how scholars are trained and the allocation of effort between individuals and teams. But before the implications can become clear, Uzzi says it is important to ask why teams are outpacing individuals where once they did not. "Our big question really is, 'What are the causes behind this shift?'"

Uzzi, Jones, and Wuchty will take on that question in their next paper, which will focus on how the Internet, has influenced academic collaborations. They will consider whether the Internet has lead to "the democratization of science" or to a situation in which the best researchers capture an even greater share of the intellectual space through teams.

So whither the brilliant loner? Is his finest hour winding down? Uzzi thinks so.

"Some might say it's already over, particularly in the bench sciences," he says. "Others might say there will always be a niche for the lone scientist, although that niche is getting smaller."

Current News
View all current news
Subscribe to Kellogg News RSS
©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University