Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The Ringelmann Effect
Over the past few years so many agencies and clients have decided that team work and "brainstorming" is the answer to all our woes. I have always been excoriated because I hate working in groups. I like to work alone. I like to work while I'm walking the dog, taking a shower, doing the dishes, sleeping. I tend to take a problem and roll it around in my head until I come up with something I like.
Just now I read a book review in The Wall Street Journal of a new book called "I Hate People!" by Jonathan Littman & Marc Hershon. Read the whole thing here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124520497112521963.html
Here's what I liked and I am quoting from the review: "Teamwork, the authors say, suffocates creativity and has its own limitations. They describe a classic experiment done nearly a century ago by French agricultural engineer Maximilien Ringelmann. He measured people pulling on a rope connected to a strain gauge, first as individuals and then as members of tug-of-war teams. The result: A person pulls harder alone than as part of a group. Ringelmann dubbed the phenomenon "social loafing." Today it is known simply as the Ringelmann Effect, and what it means in the real world, say Messrs. Littman and Hershon, is that 'the more people you throw at a problem, the less each contributes.'"
Perhaps I don't need to say it, but I read the review and within seconds ordered the book. All by myself.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 5:07 PM