Who Would You Like to Work With?: Understanding How People Use Systems to Form Teams


Who Would You Like to Work With?: Understanding How People Use Systems to Form Teams

Diego Gómez-Zará, Ph.D. candidate, Technology and Social Behavior, Northwestern University

3:55 p.m.–4:55 p.m., February 11, 2021   |   Zoom

Contact Ginny Watterson for Zoom link

People and organizations are increasingly using online platforms to assemble groups. In response, HCI practitioners and researchers have theorized frameworks and created systems to support team assembly by tailoring users’ interactions, incorporating recommender systems, and augmenting users’ actions. However, little is known about how users behave when searching for and choosing teammates on these platforms. How members interact with these systems has direct consequences for their groups’ formation and composition.

Diego Gómez-Zará
Diego Gómez-Zará

As modern work is transitioning from offline to online environments, Diego Gómez-Zará’s dissertation sheds light on how systems can influence users’ decisions to assemble groups. In this presentation, he will characterize users’ decisions when forming groups online. By analyzing digital trace and survey data, he describes how users’ traits, social networks, and network signatures influence their teammate searches, teammate choices, and team composition. Gómez-Zará uses Exponential Random Graph Models (ERGMs) to explain the motivations behind who they invite and whose invites they were likely to accept or reject.

He will also present an experiment in which a system displayed users’ diversity information when forming groups. By manipulating the presence or absence of a “diversity score” feature within a teammate recommender, he found that, when present, users avoid collaborators who would increase team diversity in favor of those who lower team diversity. Gómez-Zará will discuss theoretical and practical implications of how systems’ architecture and the use of augmented intelligence can increase the likelihood of forming more diverse and effective teams.

Diego Gómez-Zará is a Ph.D. candidate in Technology and Social Behavior at Northwestern University. He graduated with an M.S. in Computer Science at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He is currently working at the SONIC Lab with Professor Noshir Contractor. His research interests are computational behavior modeling, social networks, groups, and systems. Grounded in human-computer interaction and network science, Gómez-Zará studies how people assemble groups using online systems. His work has been published in multiple venues, including the ACM CHI and CSCW conferences. His dissertation research has received funding from Microsoft Research and the National Science Foundation. In 2018, he became a Ph.D. fellow of the Northwestern Segal Institute’s Design Cluster. He is currently serving as a member of the ACM CSCW steering committee. In the past, he has taught courses on web technologies and social networks. Recently, Gómez-Zará was an intern at the Snap Inc. Research Team.

Contact Ginny Watterson for the Zoom link.