Publication Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



A common explanation as to why individuals choose to work with one another when they can otherwise work alone rests on the efficiency created as a result of the different, specialized skills possessed by individuals working on a project. This paper explores a complementary explanation in situations where the individuals involved have significant latitude on the intended objectives as well as their collaborators on these projects. Through repeated, voluntary collaborations with their favorite partners, individuals can create a product that appeals to a wider audience than if they were to work alone or collaborate with different individuals. This performance improvement, however, is specific to the repeated collaborators, and cannot be transferred to other collaborator groups via a common individual, or to a collaborating individual. As such, this performance improvement can be a source of competitive advantage specific to the individuals involved. We draw on data from user-written Facebook applications for empirical support.


Voluntary collaborations, teams, learning, creativity, performance


Nonprofit Administration and Management | Strategic Management Policy

Research Areas

Strategy and Organisation


Atlantic Competitive Advantage Conference 2011, May 17-19

City or Country

Atlanta, GA