Summarizing some the results of their study in which MBA students had to build management groups that best accomplished a simple market share computer simulation game goal, Diane L. Rulke and Joseph Galaskiewicz of The University of London found that the quality of decisions is improved when all members of the group have access to information. Generalists are ideally suited to achieve this, they pointed out, because they have a better grasp of the larger picture. “Specialist groups were less successful in coming up with overall strategy resulting in greater market share when they adopted organizational structures that looked a lot like traditional organizations in which reporting relationships were in layers. Each layer reporting to the next layer and so on, limiting contacts.”
Overall, groups composed of students with across the board working knowledge of marketing, finance and etc were the most successful in competing for market share. It seems that when information is shared to begin with, everyone knowing something about what others know, success is easier to obtain. Such groups where successful regardless of the structure adopted by the group. Working and communicating within layers was not a hindrance to student groups consisting of members with generalist knowledge. Since each member of the group has an understanding of the expertise of others in the group it is not necessary for them to communicate directly or learn from each other. Therefore, the formalized structure and resulting limited communication does not slow down such groups. When knowledge is equally distributed among members of a work group less communication is needed.