Too Many Meetings? Scheduling Rules for Team Coordination

5/6/21 | 4:15pm | Online only





Guillaume Roels


Abstract: Workers in knowledge-intensive industries often complain of having too many meetings, but organizations still give little thought to deciding when or how often to meet. In this paper, we investigate the efficiency and robustness of various coordination scheduling rules. We consider a situation where workers are engaged in a common activity (e.g., software programming) that can be divided into largely independent, parallel production tasks, but that necessitates periodic coordination. Coordination enables workers to address issues they have encountered in their independent work, but takes time away from production. Using a stylized game-theoretic model, we show that small teams allow a more fluid, i.e., need-based, approach to coordination, such as preemptive coordination (or production), which gives the right to any worker to impose coordination (or production). As the team grows larger, it may be more efficient to allocate to one worker the decision rights to produce or coordinate, unless time-based controls are added to the preemptive coordination and preemptive production policies to either reserve some minimal amount of quiet time or to enforce coordination after some point. Finally, a fixed-interval meeting schedule works well for very large teams. Overall, our research indicates how to adapt team coordination scheduling rules to the degree of worker heterogeneity and team size.

Joint work with Charles Corbett

Bio: Guillaume Roels is the Timken Chaired Professor of Global Technology and Innovation at INSEAD and the Research Director of the INSEAD-Wharton Alliance. His current research focuses on the management of operations for knowledge-intensive services and on supply chain management. He is teaching courses on operations excellence, supply chain management, service operations, and project management in the full-time MBA, Executive MBA, and various executive education programmes. Prior to joining INSEAD, he was an Associate Professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He received an MS degree in Management Engineering and a DEA in Management from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and a PhD in Operations Research from MIT.

Professor Roels has published in various academic journals including Management Science, Operations Research and Manufacturing & Service Operations Management. He is currently serving as a Department Editor for Manufacturing & Service Operations Management and Service Science and as an Associate Editor for Management Science. He has received numerous research and teaching awards, including a nomination for Best Elective on Fontainebleau Campus by the 18D and 19D MBA students for his elective on Competitive Supply Chains. He was named one of the Poets & Quants 2015 Best 40 Business School Professors under 40.

Event Time: 

2021 - 16:15