The effects of diversity on group productivity and member withdrawal in online volunteer groups

Jilin Chen, Yuqing Ren, John Riedl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The "wisdom of crowds" argument emphasizes the importance of diversity in online collaborations, such as open source projects and Wikipedia. However, decades of research on diversity in offline work groups have painted an inconclusive picture. On the one hand, the broader range of insights from a diverse group can lead to improved outcomes. On the other hand, individual differences can lead to conflict and diminished performance. In this paper, we examine the effects of group diversity on the amount of work accomplished and on member withdrawal behaviors in the context of WikiProjects. We find that increased diversity in experience with Wikipedia increases group productivity and decreases member withdrawal - up to a point. Beyond that point, group productivity remains high, but members are more likely to withdraw. Strikingly, no such diminishing returns were observed for differences in member interest, which increases productivity and decreases member withdrawal in a linear fashion. Our results suggest that the low visibility of individual differences in online groups may allow them to harvest more of the benefits of diversity while bearing less of the cost. We discuss how our findings can inform further research of online collaboration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2010 - The 28th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Conference Proceedings
Pages821-830
Number of pages10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010
Event28th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2010 - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Apr 10 2010Apr 15 2010

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
Volume2

Other

Other28th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2010
CountryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA
Period4/10/104/15/10

Fingerprint

Productivity
Bearings (structural)
Point groups
Visibility
Costs

Keywords

  • diversity
  • online volunteer group
  • performance
  • wikipedia

Cite this

Chen, J., Ren, Y., & Riedl, J. (2010). The effects of diversity on group productivity and member withdrawal in online volunteer groups. In CHI 2010 - The 28th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Conference Proceedings (pp. 821-830). (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings; Vol. 2). https://doi.org/10.1145/1753326.1753447

The effects of diversity on group productivity and member withdrawal in online volunteer groups. / Chen, Jilin; Ren, Yuqing; Riedl, John.

CHI 2010 - The 28th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Conference Proceedings. 2010. p. 821-830 (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings; Vol. 2).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Chen, J, Ren, Y & Riedl, J 2010, The effects of diversity on group productivity and member withdrawal in online volunteer groups. in CHI 2010 - The 28th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Conference Proceedings. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings, vol. 2, pp. 821-830, 28th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2010, Atlanta, GA, United States, 4/10/10. https://doi.org/10.1145/1753326.1753447
Chen J, Ren Y, Riedl J. The effects of diversity on group productivity and member withdrawal in online volunteer groups. In CHI 2010 - The 28th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Conference Proceedings. 2010. p. 821-830. (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings). https://doi.org/10.1145/1753326.1753447
Chen, Jilin ; Ren, Yuqing ; Riedl, John. / The effects of diversity on group productivity and member withdrawal in online volunteer groups. CHI 2010 - The 28th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Conference Proceedings. 2010. pp. 821-830 (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings).
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