Team Assembly

Socio-Cognitive Networks: Theory & Data Driven Approaches for Understanding the Assembly and Interaction Networks of High Performance Teams

Funded by the Army Research Office, Award number W911NF-14-10686.

Military organizations are built around small units (i.e., as teams). The success of soldiers working in teams to perform tasks ranging from peacekeeping to security operations is the cornerstone of the US military. Given the importance of teamwork to military effectiveness, a key priority is developing insights into the assembly and interaction networks of high performing teams. This ARO project is a bold interdisciplinary effort to bring computational social science data collection and analytic methods to sociological theories of group self-organization and industrial psychological theories based on input-process-output models of team performance to address the elusive and practically important problem of accurately explaining team performance. As such, this project fuses heretofore-disparate theoretical perspectives with cutting edge computational methods in the interest of developing, to borrow a term, a “Moneyball” for scientific teams. We are conducting an in-depth analysis of a very rich data set on the assembly, interactions, and outcomes of scientific teams interacting in nanoHUB – a cyber-infrastructure tool supported by NSF and deployed over the past decade to a community of users that has grown to more than 250,000 annually from 172 countries worldwide. The data will enable us to study the ecosystem of teams – observing individuals’ assembly into teams, their interactions, their successes and failures, and their nucleation into new teams.

There are two main intellectual contributions from this project. First, to address the team assembly challenge, we derive from our network metrics, linguistic style matching analysis and our emotional activation analysis, a small set of high leverage factors, at the compositional, relational and ecosystem level, that can identify the assembly of virtuous combinations of teammates. Second, to address the adjustment of the team to process problems, we identify from our network metrics, linguistic style matching analysis and our emotional activation analysis, new empirical regularities that relate early warning signals of team process to team performance and regulation.

This effort is among the first to advance team theory by deploying computational approaches to measure real-time interactions in an approach that is replicable, quantifiable, and at scale. In particular, we strive to generate novel theories of team assembly, processes and performance that leverage recent advances available in cyber-infrastructure, unstructured data analytics, and social science theories.

Finally, we see pragmatic contributions. We see two pathways to the applications of these basic findings to the military. First, our understanding of the compositional, relational and ecosystem factors of team assembly can be used by the military to improve team staffing. For example, our research could be used to design team staffing systems that make recommendations based on what we are discovering are key factors in assembling high performance teams. The second pathway to application is early warning detection of team failure. The results of our research can inform the development of monitoring systems, such as the Commander’s Dashboard being developed by ARI, that would gather, process, and provide recommendations about early warning signals and interventions to military leaders.

 

Publications:

Dissertations

Hodge, R. A. (2016). How multi-teaming affects individuals and teams (Doctoral dissertation).

Whalen, R. (2016). Knowledge recombination, diffusion, and research team composition: Understanding 21st century innovation (Doctoral dissertation).

Journal Articles

Carter, D. R., Asencio, R., Wax, A., DeChurch, L. A., & Contractor, N. S. (2015). Little Teams, Big Data: Big Data Provides New Opportunities for Teams Theory. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 8(04), 550-555. doi:doi:10.1017/iop.2015.82

Conference Proceedings

Schecter, A. & Contractor, N. (2016). Modeling the joint dynamics of relational events and individual states. Proceedings of the 2016 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2016, San Francisco, CA.

Whalen, R., & Contractor, N. (2015). Patent Application Citations and the Examination Process: A Network-Based Date-Sensitive Method to Analyze Patent Applications. Proceedings of the Law & Big Data Workshop at the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law, San Diego, CA.

Lungeanu, A., Sullivan, S., Contractor, N., & Wilensky, U. (2015). A Computational Model of Team Assembly in Emerging Scientific Fields. Proceedings of the Winter Simulation Conference, Huntington Beach, CA.

Conference Presentations

Gomez-Zara, D., Parra, D., García, C., & Contractor, N. S. (2017, June). The role of social movement organizations and their leaders in Twitter: Evidence from the Chilean Student Movement. Paper presented at the NetSci 2017, Indianapolis, IN.

Gomez-Zara, D., Parra, D., & Contractor, N. S. (2017, June). Using Relational Event Modeling to explain movements’ emergence in Twitter: Evidence from the Chilean Student Movement. Paper presented at the NetSci 2017, Indianapolis, IN.

Gomez-Zara, D., Parra, D., Arreondo, C., Soto, A., García, C., & Contractor, N. S. (2017, May). The role of social movement organizations in Twitter: Evidence from the Chilean Student Movement. Paper presented at the 67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, San Diego, CA.

Bo Xu, J. N., Yun Huang, Noshir Contractor. (2017, June). Capability, Role, or Relation: Collaboration in Dota 2 Combat Teams. Paper presented at the Sunbelt XXXVII Conference, International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA), Beijing, China.

Whalen, R., & Contractor, N. (2016, August). Measuring Recombinatorial Innovation and its Diffusion: Patent Citation Distance Measures of Knowledge Translation, Integration, Diffusion and Scope.” Paper presented at the annual Academy of Management Conference, Anaheim CA.

Schecter, A., Sun, Y., DeChurch, L., & Contractor, N. (2016, July). The Semantic Networks that Underpin Group Interaction. Paper presented at the INGRoup, Helsinki, Finland.

Niler, A., Asencio, R., DeChurch, L., Uzzi, B., & Contractor, N. (2016, July). Gender Composition Affects Females Experience of Working in Science Teams. Paper presented at the INGRoup, Helsinki, Finland.

Twyman, M., DeChurch, L., Newman, D., & Contractor, N. (2016, July). The Ties that Form Teams: Self-Organization, Homophily, and Multiplexity. Paper presented at the INGRoup, Helsinki, Finland.

Asencio, R., Huang, Y., DeChurch, L., Contractor, N., & Uzzi, B. (2016, July). Multi-Teaming in Virtual Communities. Paper presented at the INGRoup, Helsinki, Finland.

Mukherjee, S., Huang, Y., Neidhardt, J., Uzzi, B., & Contractor, N. (2016, June). Team assembly factors influencing the victor in competitive environment. Paper presented at the International Conference on Computational Social Science, Evanston, IL.

Whalen, R., & Contractor N. (2016, June) Explorative Knowledge Search, Innovation & Inventor Teams. Poster presented at the International Conference on Computational Social Science, Evanston, IL.

Whalen, R., & Contractor N. (2016, June) Patent Citation Distance: Measuring Trends in Combinatorial Innovation. Paper presented at INSNA Sunbelt Conference, Newport Beach, CA.

Twyman, M., Dechurch, L., & Contractor, N. (2016, April). The Impact of Homophily and Multiplex Networks on the Assembly of Teams. Paper presented at the Sunbelt XXXVI Conference, International Network for Social Network Analysis, Newport Beach, CA.

Whalen, R., Huang, Y., Tanis, C., Sawant, A., Uzzi, B., & Contractor, N. (2016, April). Citation Distance: Measuring Changes in Scientific Search Strategies. Paper presented at the 25th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW ’16 Companion, Montreal, Canada.

Huang, Y., Singh, P., Asencio, R., Contractor, N., DeChurch, L., & Uzzi, B. (2015, October). Evaluating scientific outcomes from the user perspective. Paper presented at the Computer and Communications Security Quantifying Science Workshop (CCS), Tempe, AZ.

Whalen, R., Brot, H., Uzzi, B., & Contractor, N. (2015, July). Team Size, Boundary-Spanning, and Communication Clarity. Paper presented at the INGRoup, Pittsburg, PA.

Twyman, M., Wax, A., DeChurch, L., Bowser, G., & Contractor, N. (2015, July). Looking for Leadership: Understanding Team Assembly in a Web Technology. Paper presented at the Technologies for Studying and Enabling Teams, Symposium conducted at the 10th Annual INGRoup Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Marlon Twyman, A. W., Leslie Dechurch, and Noshir Contractor. (2015, June). Emergence of Leadership Networks in Teams. Paper presented at the NetSci 2015: International School and Conference on Network Science, Zaragoza, Spain.

 

Investigators:

Noshir Contractor

SONIC Team Members:

Yun Huang