Teamwork Is Key To Solving Complex Research Problems Author: ELIZABETH CULOTTA

Every team needs members who fill four basic roles, according to management consultant Glenn Parker, author of Team Players and Teamwork (San Francisco, Jossey-Bass Inc., 1990). One person can play more than one role, but most researchers interviewed by The Scientist agree that in successful teams, someone fills each of these niches.

The contributor: Contributors work on a piece of the project and deliver their expertise to solve problems. The majority of scientists fall into this category, says Parker. For example, in teams that model climate, a contributor might supply crucial temperature data. "They might not say much, but they'll contribute that one key piece of data, and that's what you need," says Jonathan Overpeck, a paleoclimatologist at the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration in Boulder, Colo.

The communicator: This person keeps track of social interactions, heals conflict, and...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?