Exploring trust and cooperation development with agent-based simulation in a pseudo scale-free network
Globally distributed collaboration requires cooperation and trust among team members. Current research suggests that informal, non-work related communication plays a positive role in developing cooperation and trust. However, the way in which teams connect, i.e. via a social network, greatly influences cooperation and trust development. The study described in this paper employs agent-based modeling and simulation to investigate the cooperation and trust development with the presence of informal, non-workrelated communication in networked teams. Leveraging game theory, we present a model of how an individual makes strategic decisions when interacting with her social network neighbors. The results of simulation on a pseudo scale-free network reveal the conditions under which informal communication has an impact, how different network degree distributions affect efficient trust and cooperation development, and how it is possible to "seed" trust and cooperation development amongst individuals in specific network positions. This study is the first to use agent-based modeling and simulation to examine the relationships between scale-free networks' topological features (degree distribution), cooperation and trust development, and informal communication.