Collective intelligence: Definition and explanation of

Collective Intelligence


Collective intelligence refers to a group or a team’s combined capacity and capability to perform a wide variety of tasks and solve diverse problems. Collective Intelligence has been found to consistently predictive of the future performance of groups and teams. (Chikersal, P et al 2017).

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The primary difference between IQ (individual intelligence) and CQ or collective intelligence is the social dimension and the ability of groups to achieve unity of purpose, action and thought. Teams with high levels of CQ achieve a state of interdependance and flow when they are working together.

The conundrum of CQ

What is puzzling the scientists who are at the cutting edge of collective intelligence research is that the social side of our interactions appear to have no bearing on CQ: people don’t need to be ‘friends’ to work well together. Recent research (Chikersal, P et al 2017) has shown, “A consistently puzzling observation in the work on [CQ] is its lack of relationship with various measures gauging the quality of member interpersonal relationships.”

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Aggarwal, Ishani, et al. “Cognitive diversity, collective intelligence, and learning in teams.” Proceedings of Collective Intelligence (2015).

Mayer, John D., Richard D. Roberts, and Sigal G. Barsade. “Human abilities: Emotional intelligence.” Annu. Rev. Psychol. 59 (2008): 507-536.

Chikersal, Prerna, et al. “Deep Structures of Collaboration: Physiological Correlates of Collective Intelligence and Group Satisfaction.” Proceedings of the 20th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2017). 2017.

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Disclaimer: This is a research review, expert interpretation and briefing. As such it contains other studies, expert comment and practitioner advice. It is not a copy of the original study – which is referenced. The original study should be consulted and referenced in all cases. This research briefing is for informational and educational purposes only. We do not accept any liability for the use to which this review and briefing is put or for it or the research accuracy, reliability or validity. This briefing as an original work in its own right and is copyright © Oxford Review Enterprises Ltd 2016-2019. Any use made of this briefing is entirely at your own risk.

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