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You Can’t Put Old Wine in New Bottles: The Effect of Newcomers on Coordination in Groups

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  • Roman M. Sheremeta

    (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University)

  • Matthew W. McCarter

    ()
    (Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University)

Abstract

A common finding in social sciences is that member change hinders group functioning and performance. However, questions remain as to why member change negatively affects group performance and what are some ways to alleviate the negative effects of member change on performance? To answer these questions we conduct an experiment in which we investigate the effect of newcomers on a group’s ability to coordinate efficiently. Participants play a coordination game in a four-person group for the first part of the experiment, and then two members of the group are replaced with new participants, and the newly formed group plays the game for the second part of the experiment. Our results show that the arrival of newcomers decreases trust among group members and this decrease in trust negatively affects group performance. Knowing the performance history of the arriving newcomers mitigates the negative effect of their arrival, but only when newcomers also know the oldtimers performance history. Surprisingly, in groups that performed poorly prior to the newcomers’ arrival, the distrust generated by newcomers is mainly between oldtimers about each other rather than about the newcomers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Chapman University, Economic Science Institute in its series Working Papers with number 13-02.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:13-02

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Keywords: coordination; group performance; oldtimers; newcomers; trust; experiments;

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References

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  1. J. B. Van Huyck & R. C. Battalio & R. O. Beil, 2010. "Tacit coordination games, strategic uncertainty, and coordination failure," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000393, David K. Levine.
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  5. Cason, Timothy & Sheremeta, Roman & Zhang, Jingjing, 2012. "Communication and Efficiency in Competitive Coordination Games," MPRA Paper 52107, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Mary E. Zellmer-Bruhn, 2003. "Interruptive Events and Team Knowledge Acquisition," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 514-528, April.
  7. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
  8. Cason, Timothy & Savikhin, Anya & Sheremeta, Roman, 2011. "Behavioral Spillovers in Coordination Games," MPRA Paper 52106, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Roberto A. Weber, 2006. "Managing Growth to Achieve Efficient Coordination in Large Groups," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 114-126, March.
  10. Schniter, Eric & Sheremeta, Roman & Sznycer, Daniel, 2013. "Building and Rebuilding Trust with Promises and Apologies," MPRA Paper 53596, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Kane, Aimee A. & Argote, Linda & Levine, John M., 2005. "Knowledge transfer between groups via personnel rotation: Effects of social identity and knowledge quality," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 56-71, January.
  12. Teck-Hua Ho & Keith Weigelt, 2005. "Trust Building Among Strangers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(4), pages 519-530, April.
  13. Bottom, William P., 1998. "Negotiator Risk: Sources of Uncertainty and the Impact of Reference Points on Negotiated Agreements," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 89-112, November.
  14. Knez, Marc & Camerer, Colin, 2000. "Increasing Cooperation in Prisoner's Dilemmas by Establishing a Precedent of Efficiency in Coordination Games," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 194-216, July.
  15. McCarter, Matthew W. & Rockmann, Kevin W. & Northcraft, Gregory B., 2010. "Is it even worth it? The effect of loss prospects in the outcome distribution of a public goods dilemma," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 1-12, January.
  16. Sniezek, Janet A. & May, Douglas R. & Sawyer, John E., 1990. "Social uncertainty and interdependence: A study of resource allocation decisions in groups," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 155-180, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Matthew W. McCarter & Anya C. Samak & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2013. "Divided Loyalties or Conditional Cooperation? An experimental study of contributions to multiple public goods," Working Papers 13-08, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

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