New Scientist reporter Mark Buchanan has a fascinating article this week on “the curse of work.” The title might be the least satisfactory thing about this examination of a new mathematical article that attempts to explain the inexplicable:
There has been a lot of empirical data indicating that the best group have less than 20 members. One not mentioned here are sports teams. Most competitive sports are made up of groups that are 9-15 members in size. This fits with the ability to reach agreement, to follow a single focus.
When the goal consists of winning, having small groups makes sense. Now we have some modeling data to suggest why this is.