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Calculating Efficient Team Size: Balancing Deciding and Doing as an Elementary Optimization Problem

[+] Author Affiliations
David E. Goldberg, Ali Yassine, Tian-Li Yu

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL

Paper No. DETC2004-57402, pp. 271-279; 9 pages
  • ASME 2004 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 3a: 16th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, September 28–October 2, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4696-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3742-4
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


This paper builds elementary models of efficient team size by balancing costs of deciding and doing that often exists in team settings. A simple model assuming linear decision time and inversely linear execution time is first constructed and optimized. That model is augmented by a concern for solution quality using simple probability calculations. Thereafter, the basic model is generalized somewhat by permitting decision making and doing to be governed by power-law terms. Then, the idea of using simple, one-dimensional optimization as a modeling tool in organizational contexts and elsewhere is formalized as an elementary optimization problem (EOP), and the characteristics of EOPs and some exemplar problems are enumerated. The paper concludes by suggesting how the systematic study of EOPs, other simple models, and patchquilt integration using dimensional analysis may permit the formulation of a more sophisticated quantitative understanding of problems in organizational theory than would otherwise be possible.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME
Topics: Optimization , Teams



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