UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Setlios Kavadias, Cambridge University, to host a research seminar discussing ‘Search strategies in complex and ambiguous problem spaces: performance comparisons across group structures through a controlled experiment.’
The effective use of group problem solving in the search for solutions over ambiguous problem spaces remains a challenge. Through a controlled two-stage experimental design we explore the impact of group structure, problem complexity, and search strategies on problem solving performance. We find support for prior theoretical predictions regarding the impact of problem complexity on the performance among different group structures. Our results also confirm that under certain problem complexity conditions collaborative groups may search more effectively. Through a granular examination, we demonstrate that the number of solutions generated during a search might be an imperfect proxy for performance: it is neither the only predictor of performance (solution space coverage and the distance of search increments matter), nor does it necessarily have a positive impact. Finally, the effects of diverse past solution attempts during search may shape collaborative search effectiveness in non-uniform ways.