Podcast: When Teams Mess Up, Who Takes the Fall?
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Careers Dec 18, 2019

Podcast: When Teams Mess Up, Who Takes the Fall?

On this episode of The Insightful Leader: how to make sure you’re not blaming the wrong person.

New research provides tips for doling out credit—and blame—for team members.
Based on the research of

Ginger Zhe Jin

Benjamin F. Jones

Susan Feng Lu

Brian Uzzi

Listening: When Teams Mess Up, Who Takes the Fall?
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These days, more and more work is happening in teams. However, it’s often difficult to see who on the team did what. So how do we allocate blame when a team project goes wrong?

Research from Benjamin Jones, a professor of strategy at Kellogg, and Brian Uzzi, a professor of management and organizations, finds that we often point the finger at the wrong individuals. What’s more, the people who are left holding the bag are often not the same people who get the credit when things go right. “That double standard should make us question how we give credit and how we give blame,” says Uzzi.

So how can leaders guard against this bias?

Note: The Insightful Leader is produced for the ear, and not meant to be read as a transcript. We encourage you to listen to the audio version above. However, a transcript of this episode is available here.

Featured Faculty

Gordon and Llura Gund Family Professor of Entrepreneurship; Professor of Strategy

Richard L. Thomas Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change; Co-Director, Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO); Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences, McCormick School (Courtesy); Professor of Sociology, Weinberg College (Courtesy)

About the Research
Jin, Ginger Zhe, Benjamin Jones, Susan Feng Lu, and Brian Uzzi. November 2018. "The Reverse Matthew Effect: Consequences of Retraction in Scientific Teams." Review of Economics and Statistics.
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