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【The Economist】寻找商业团队的最佳人数
时间:2020-02-02   作者:admin  点击数:

How big should a business team be? It is an enormously important issue for companies. Teams that are too small may lack the skills required to get the job done; teams that are too big may be impossible to co-ordinate.

For much of economic history, work was conducted in small units by peasants, tenant farmers and artisans (for example blacksmiths). The advent of powered machinery enabled production at a much larger scale, with workers crowded into factories. These days the rise of the service economy means that workers are no longer concentrated in such large groups.

译文导读

这些只是粗略估计,并非精确数据。但值得注意的是,许多团体活动的人数都接近邓巴数字。特别空勤团(英国的精锐战斗部队)的巡逻队便由4人组成;当成员的生命系于这个团队时,便需要对同僚抱以绝对信任。因此,此类团队的规模都是有限的。

统筹庞大的人际网络并非易事。你需要花费大量时间去维系人际关系,这免不了会导致关系质量下降。武装部队在探索部队规模上已耗时千年。古罗马的百夫长一人统领100名士兵;现代美军连队有180名成员,英国的连队成员则为120名。

尽管150有时指的是“邓巴数字”,但事实上邓巴提出了一系列数字。他发现,人类通常会有5位密友,约15位好朋友,50位左右的社交朋友和150多个熟人。

The number of the best

大部分企业都规模不大。2015年,一项针对英国公司的调查发现,仅有0.6%的公司雇佣人数超过150人。小公司并非一定朝生暮死。研究表明,在那些存续上百年的组织中,有89%的组织雇员不超过300人。

Finding the optimal size of teams and organisations

牛津大学的人类学家罗宾·邓巴(Robin Dunbar)对灵长类动物进行了大量研究。他认为,灵长类动物的种群规模与其脑部大小相关。人类的脑部较大,因而有能力应对规模更大的群体。较大的社会群体具有众多优势,能够加强对成员的保护,促进专业化分工。

当涉及整个公司时,可能需此类权衡。初创企业通常人员短缺。创始人必须身兼数职,从筹集资金到产品开发及营销,而他们不一定适合这些工作。但值得欣慰的是,这样可以形成高度协作的工作环境。

Most businesses are small. A survey of British firms in 2015 found that only 0.6% employed more than 150 people. Nor are small companies necessarily ephemera. One study concluded that 89% of organisations that last more than 100 years employ fewer than 300 people.

Whereas 150 is sometimes referred to as the “Dunbar number”, the academic himself in fact refers to a range of figures. He observes that humans tend to have five intimate friends, 15 or so good friends, around 50 social friends and 150-odd acquaintances.

宗教团体是另一类长期存续的组织。哈特教派是起源于德国的一个新教团体,该团体将其社区规模限制在150人以内。他们认为,身处少于150人的群体内,借助同伴压力可以维系内部团结;一旦超过这个数量,便需要借助警察的力量。

Similar trade-offs may apply when it comes to firms as a whole. Startups are often short of staff. The founders must play a host of different roles, from obtaining finance to product development and marketing, for which they may not be equally suited. But the upside is that they can have highly collaborative working environments.

This may not be a bad thing. It was easy for employees in large factories to regard remote company owners as “them” rather than “us”, and indeed it was easy for business owners to perceive workers as an undifferentiated mass of people and treat them accordingly. Strikes were common.

段落结构

现代公司的组建可能会采取这样一种模型,即一小部分“核心”员工加上大部分的合同工。这也许能够增强核心员工之间的凝聚力,但也可能降低非核心员工的待遇。小型核心团队或许会高效工作,但问题在于,非核心团队的员工士气可能受挫。

译者:1881

People who have worked for startups say the culture changes when the company reaches a certain size. Patty McCord, formerly of Netflix, referred to the “stand-on-a-chair number”—the biggest group that can easily hear the boss address them.

词汇短语

最佳人数

Small work teams may also tend towards these two size ranges. “If you want a committee to decide something, limit it to four to five people,” says Mr Dunbar. “But to brainstorm in a meeting, you need 12-15.” Many companies use “agile” teams which draw employees from across the company; they tend to have between five and nine members.

在人类经济史的很长一段时间内,农民、佃农和工匠(如铁匠)等都在小型单位内劳作。动力机械的出现扩大了生产规模,工人们纷纷涌入工厂。如今,服务型经济崛起,意味着工人无需再聚集于此类庞大群体之中。

运动团队的规模与比赛场地有关。一支篮球队有5名队员,冰球队则有6名;户外运动中,足球队和板球队有11名队员,不同类型的橄榄球队则有7-15名。这也许是实现训练目的的最佳规模,抑或是考虑到如果队伍扩大,观众会难以分辨各个队员。

Sports-team sizes relate to the playing area. There are five players in a basketball side and six in ice hockey; outdoors there are 11 players in football and cricket teams, and 7-15 in the various forms of rugby. Perhaps this is the optimal size for coaching purposes, or perhaps crowds would struggle to distinguish individual players if teams were larger.

双语精读

展开全文 optimal 最理想的,最佳的 trade-off 权衡,协调 upside 积极面,正面,好处 primate 灵长类,灵长目动物 allow for 考虑到,允许有,留出 odd 大约,略多 millennia 一千年 ephemeral 短暂的,瞬息的 solidarity 团结,同心同德,相互支持,齐心协力 tenant 租客,租户,佃户 undifferentiated 无法区分的,分不开的,一体的 morale 士气,斗志

校对:小草/ W

曾为初创企业效力的员工认为,当企业达到一定规模时,企业的文化会随之改变。奈飞前首席人才官帕蒂·麦考德(Patty McCord)曾提到“能够站在同一张椅子上的人数”——这是团队规模的上限,在这样的团队中,成员可以轻松获取上级指示。

Another group of long-lasting organisations is religious congregations. The Hutterites, a Protestant group with German origins, limited their communities to 150. They believed that it was possible to maintain solidarity in a group of fewer than 150 people with peer pressure; once you exceeded that number, you needed the equivalent of a police force.

Robin Dunbar, an anthropologist at Oxford University, has done a lot of work on primate groups. His argument is that the size of the group is linked to the size of the brain. With their large brains, humans can cope with larger bands. A larger social group has many advantages, allowing for greater protection and specialisation.

原标题:【The Economist】寻找商业团队的最佳人数

一个商业团队的规模应有多大?这个问题对企业而言极为重要。团队太小可能缺乏完成工作所需的技能;团队太大则可能难以协调。

小型工作团队也倾向于这两类规模。“如果你想让委员会做决策,就把规模控制在4-5人”。邓巴说,“但如果是会议上进行头脑风暴,就需要12-15人”。很多公司会从全员中挑选部分来组建“精明强干”的团队,这种团队通常在5-9人之间。

这种改变也许并非坏事。大工厂的工人容易将高高在上的公司老板视为“他们”而非“我们”,事实上,老板也会轻易将工人们视为一个整体,从而不加区分地对待他们。正因如此,罢工一度成为常态。

These are rough estimates, rather than rigid figures. But it is striking that many group activities seem to be close to a Dunbar number. The Special Air Service, Britain’s elite fighting unit, has four-man patrols; when your life depends on it, you need to have absolute trust in your colleagues. As a result, such groups are limited in size.

早在1861年,法国农业工程师马克西米利安·林格尔曼就发现拉绳子的人越多,尽管总体拉力增加,但每个成员施加的平均拉力减小,这与团队合作时成员更卖力的传统理论相悖。林格尔曼将其归因于当时所谓的“社会惰性”,即一个群体或团队往往会隐藏缺少个人努力的现象。早在1861年,法国农业工程师马克西米利安·林格尔曼就发现拉绳子的人越多,尽管总体拉力增加,但每个成员施加的平均拉力减小,这与团队合作时成员更卖力的传统理论相悖。林格尔曼将其归因于当时所谓的“社会惰性”,即一个群体或团队往往会隐藏缺少个人努力的现象。

寻找团队和组织的最佳规模

Running a larger network can be difficult. So much time is needed to maintain relationships that their quality inevitably suffers. The armed forces have spent millennia experimenting with unit size. A Roman centurion oversaw 100. The modern American army company has 180 members. Britain’s equivalent numbers 120.

The modern company may settle on a model with a small group of “core” workers and a larger group of contract workers. The result may be more cohesion within the core staff but the non-core staff may be less well treated. The small core teams may work effectively. The big question will be the effect on morale of those outside those teams.

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