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9 February, 2011 / Karl Maier

Science by Teams

A recent Wall Street Journal article titled Sunset of the Solo Scientist observed that the world has become so complex that a lone genius is not likely to be responsible for a major breakthrough in science today.  Today, teams of scientists are needed to address the complex problems at the leading edges of our knowledge.

Teams of all types develop relationships and thus a culture. Scientists, by there nature, must be interested in knowledge and expertise to be successful.  This behavior is very much a Stage Three attitude. Of course, not all researchers are at Stage Three.  The culture many scientist most often is Stage Three, an “I’m great . . . and you’re not” culture.

Many businesses rely on PhD level researchers.  Since these professionals have a natural tendency to Stage Three, their ability to progress to Stage Four may have an impact our the culture of a company.  Some personality types are more receptive to change.  If a candidate for a position is at Stage Three, looking for a personality type that is open to change is worth considering.

Finding researchers who are motivated by your vision can help bring a team together as well.  As an element of passion and vision is traditionally part of academic research, sharing a company’s noble goal could help bring in the desired candidate.

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