Collective Thinking

The way individuals react to their thoughts and ideas may be different as well. As a manager, do not assume that everyone will attend meetings as expected, or be as enthusiastic as others about a project.

4.) Make sure that there is equality in conversational turn-taking.

According to Woolley et al. (2010), teams in which only a few people dominated the conversation were less collectively intelligent than those in which participants shared the floor more equally. As a manager, try to maintain a balance by continuously providing opportunities for everyone to express themselves. You might be surprised by the ideas and concepts that the “quiet” member may contribute to a problem, project or team.

5.) Have enough women on the team.

Teams with more women tend to affect collective intelligence. Women are linked to better scores on sensitivity tests, and enhance equal opportunity of group member involvement (Woolley et al., 2010). Be sure to include enough women when forming your fantastic teams.

6.) Do not be afraid of conflict.

When assigning diverse individuals to a team, you may find that conflicts arise due to the different opinions, desires or goals brought to the workplace. However, differing opinions expand discussion, and enhance critical thinking.

Managers should establish team norms from the beginning. In fact, open discussion about how group members are expected to share their opinions freely and how they are expected to judge ideas and not people may help prevent arguments.

The bottom line is that arranging the smartest individuals in dynamic working teams might not help. It is easier to raise the collective intelligence of a group than the IQ of an individual. The intelligence and knowledge of a team depends on group membership.

Teams that function well create an environment for consistent collaboration. So, create a “collective intelligent” team and you may see the rewards of your work with amazing collaborative results.

Work Cited:

The Project Management Hut (n.d.). Retrieved December 10, 2010, from

Woolley, A.W., Chabris, C.F., Pentland, A., Hashmi, N., & Malone, T.W. (2010). “Evidence for the collective intelligence factor in the performance of human groups.” Science 330 (6004), 686-688.

Tatiana Chalkidou is currently a doctoral student at Oklahoma State University. She holds an M.B.A. from the University of Leicester as well as a B.S. from the University of Athens in Greece. She has worked for the Athens 2004 Organization Committee during the 2004 Olympics. She can be reached via e-mail at

Michael Bradley is a doctoral student at Oklahoma State University studying various human dimensions of natural-resource management and participant-ethics related to outdoor activities.

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