Motivations for self-assembling into project teams

Mengxiao Zhu*, Yun Huang, Noshir S. Contractor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


This study investigates the self-assembly mechanisms of ad hoc project teams using a bipartite network perspective. Individuals and projects are modeled as two types of nodes and team membership as relations between them. This approach enables us to investigate factors that impact voluntary team assembly at the individual, dyadic, and team levels simultaneously. Using Exponential Random Graph Models (ERGM/. p*), we study players' combat teams in a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) as a case of self-assembled project teams. Empirical results show that individuals are motivated to join ad hoc teams to complete difficult projects but not projects with long durations. We also found that individuals tend to collaborate with specific teammates who have complementary skills, those who have similar age or skill level, and those who are affiliated with the same organizational entity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-264
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Networks
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Bipartite network
  • Exponential random graph models / ERGM
  • Online game
  • Project teams
  • Self-assembly mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Motivations for self-assembling into project teams'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this