IMO MORSe Seminar: Pedro Aceves (Bocconi University)

Institute of Management and Organisation

Date: / -

PC04 Blue Building

The Institute of Management and Organization is glad to invite you to the next MORSe seminar given by Pedro Aceves from Bocconi University on May 22 from 12:00 to 13:30 in PC04 in the Blue Building.

He will be presenting a paper titled: Language Structure, Collective Cognition, and Team Performance


Abstract: Group performance research has established how variation in team structure (e.g., network configuration) or composition (e.g., diversity of member attributes) shapes performance outcomes. Both research perspectives posit that the flows of information among group members and between groups and their broader environment constitute primary mechanisms underlying collective performance. Therefore, language—the principal tool of information transfer—might be expected to play a critical role in group dynamics and performance. Nevertheless, virtually no research attention has examined the role that language structure plays in shaping group processes and outcomes. In this paper, I use a novel measure of language structure, information density—which is the average amount of conceptual information contained within the words of a language–to examine whether differences in language structure lead to distinct performance outcomes. I argue that higher language information density facilitates idea exploration as groups converse, especially during tasks requiring effective creativity and problem-solving. Tracing the outcomes of 1,481 monolingual expeditions to the Himalayas from 1907 to 2015, I show that speaking languages with higher information density is associated with summiting a larger proportion of team members, and conditional on reaching the summit, doing so more quickly.