Learning from many: The impact of partner diversity on operational performance in fluid teams


Management Science and Operations

Publishing details

Social Sciences Research Network

Authors / Editors

Aksin O Z; Deo S; Jonasson J O; Ramdas K


Publication Year



In services where teams come together for short collaborations, managers are often advised that high team familiarity will improve coordination and consequently performance. However, this can limit opportunities to learn from diverse partners. We develop an empirical measure for prior partner diversity and estimate its impact (along with that of team familiarity) on operational performance. We use data on ambulance transport processes involving new paramedic recruits in the London Ambulance Service, where exogenous changes in team membership enable clean identification. The effect of partner diversity varies with process characteristics. For the less standardized patient pick-up process, greater partner diversity shortens scene time. For the more standardized patient handover process, this effect is triggered beyond a threshold of individual experience. A counterfactual analysis shows that a team formation strategy that emphasizes partner diversity is likely to outperform one that emphasizes team familiarity in our empirical context.


Fluid teams; Membership change; Partner diversity; Team familiarity


Social Sciences Research Network