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In today's world, most workers are highly specialized, but this specialization can come at a cost—especially for those on the wrong team. New research by Harvard's Growth Lab uncovers the importance of teams and coworkers when it comes to one's productivity, earning potential, and stays of employment.
The research—recently published in the journal Science Advances - analyzed administrative data on the 9 million inhabitants of Sweden. By constructing networks of complementarity and substitutability among specific educational tracks, the research assessed the importance of the skills of coworkers. It found that to earn high wages and returns on education, workers must find coworkers who complement, but not substitute, them. The returns to having complementary coworkers are large: the impact is comparable to having a college degree.
Research - Tool - Right - Coworkers - Fields
The research offers a tool to assess the right and wrong coworkers in fields of expertise. The right coworkers are those with skills you lack, yet needed to complete a team. The wrong coworkers are those who replicate your skillset and ultimately lower your value to the employer. For example, those with a degree in Architecture are best complemented by workers with engineering, construction, or surveying degrees, and negatively impacted by those with landscape...
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