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Weiss, Matthias; Högl, Martin (2015): The History of Teamwork’s Societal Diffusion. A Multi-Method Review. , Vol. 46, No. 6: pp. 589-622


In the literature, the notion of the ever-growing prevalence of teamwork is dominating. First, has there indeed been a steadily increasing trajectory of the societal diffusion of and academic research on teamwork? If so, what have the main drivers of this trajectory been? In this review, we apply a multi-method approach to examine these questions. Specifically, we combine the established bibliometric method of scholarly article counts with the innovative approach of culturomics that allows the content analysis of a literature corpus spanning millions of books, both popular and scholarly. The results show that although academic research on teamwork has grown constantly and has shown a sharp increase over the past 40 years, the societal diffusion of teamwork, as indicated through the culturomics approach, actually followed a volatile trend in the past century. Certain large-scale events and developments, such as war, may serve as an explanation for these changing trends.