Mining Face-to-Face Interaction Networks using Sociometric Badges

Lynn Wu, Benjamin N. Waber, Sinan Aral, Erik Brynjolfsson, and Alex (Sandy) Pentland

In Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems. Paris, France. December 14-17 2008


Mining Face-to-Face Interaction Networks using Sociometric Badges: Predicting Productivity in an IT Configuration Task

Lynn Wu, Benjamin N. Waber, Sinan Aral, Erik Brynjolfsson, and Alex (Sandy) Pentland researched communication in corporate environments. They wanted to identify the types of social structures that are the most conducive to knowledge sharing. Over one month, they measured the conversations and physical locations of a group of IT specialists. Four patterns emerged in the data:

  1. The face-to-face communication networks of productive employees look much different than their email communication networks. More face-to-face communication is positively correlated with productivity; meanwhile, more email communication leads to less productivity.
  2. When working on difficult projects, face-to-face communication is associated with better work performance.
  3.  The communication network of all available employees differs from the communication network of employees that participate in a project.
  4. Cohesion, how tightly knit a team is, is much stronger when communication occurs in-person.

The team also provides more information on applying these tools and processes in corporate settings.