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Robust goodness from random promotions

There’s new, corroborating research that organizations become more efficient when they promote people randomly. The University of Catania team that won the 2010 Ig Nobel Prize in management for the original, mathematical work, has published a new study:

Efficient Promotion Strategies in Hierarchical Organizations,” Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, Cesare Garofalo, arXiv:1102.2837v2.

“the efficiency of an organization increases significantly if one adopts a random strategy of promotion with respect to a simple meritocratic promotion of the best members. This fact, already shown in our previous [Ig Nobel Prize-winning] paper for a very simple pyramidal model and under a minimum number of assumptions, has proven to be very robust and persistent even in a new hierarchical tree model and under many different kinds of realistic improvements….

“[Our] new results corroborate the fact that one does not need a full random strategy to obtain an increase of efficiency: in many cases a choice of only 50% of agents selected in a random way for promotion results to be enough to obtain a consistent increment in the efficiency. Furthermore, in all cases discussed the random strategy improves consistently the efficiency of the system revealing a very persistent robustness.”

BONUS: The team’s study about the efficiency resulting when politicians are selected randomly.

BONUS: International Science Grid This Week (ISGTW) discusses the team’s work, in an article called “The Good, the Bad, and the Random

Improbable Research