If you're used to working closely with a partner, it's easy to forget how complexity in working relationships grows when the size of your group grows. Next time it seems like a co-worker just isn't getting it, consider this piece of research.
A study conducted by the University of Leicester's School of Psychology and Department of Economics put science behind what most of us know: While two people can learn to cooperate intuitively, it takes conscious communication to get larger groups in sync.
The experimenters asked participants to press one of two buttons, rewarding the participants based on their choice as a group. After repetition, groups of two learned to work together to make the system work in their favour more often than not. In groups of three or larger, that wasn't the case. As Professor Andrew Coleman parses the results:
Married couples or pairs of business partners may be able to rely on this type of intuitive cooperation, to an extent, but larger groups need explicit communication and planning. Mechanisms need to be put in place to facilitate it. Intuitive cooperation is really a case of two's company, but three's a crowd.
This all may seem pretty obvious, but it's worth reminding ourselves every now and then: If you work with more than one person, plenty of communication is extremely important to keeping everyone in sync.
Have a good example of how threes-a-crowd has played out in your work or personal life? Let's hear it in the comments.
Research shows that two people can learn to cooperate intuitively, but larger groups need to communicate [University of Leicester via HN]