But when the top Facebook managers realised they had crossed the 150 threshold they became uneasy. The reason lay with the concept known as “Dunbar’s number” — the theory developed by British evolutionary psychologist-cum-anthropologist Robin Dunbar. In the 1990s, Dunbar conducted research on primates and concluded that the size of a functioning social group was closely related to the size of a human, monkey or ape brain. If a brain was small, the size of a monkey’s or ape’s, say, the creature could only cope with a limited number of meaningful social relations (a few dozen). But if a brain was bigger, as for a human, a wider circle of relationships could be formed. Humans did this, Dunbar argued, via “social grooming”, conventions that enabled people to be closely bonded. Just as primates created ties by physically grooming each other’s fur by picking out nits, humans bonded with laughter, music, gossip, dance and all other ritualistic day-to-day interactions that develop when people work or live together.
Companies that are getting bigger and have more than 150 employees, please take note. You need to put in a process to keep all the employees involved and connected.