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

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Roman M. Sheremeta & Matthew W. McCarter, 2013. "You Can’t Put Old Wine in New Bottles: The Effect of Newcomers on Coordination in Groups," Working Papers 13-02, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:chu:wpaper:13-02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Grund, Christian & Harbring, Christine & Thommes, Kirsten, 2018. "Group (Re-) formation in public good games: The tale of the bad apple?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 306-319.
    2. 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.
    3. repec:bla:jecsur:v:32:y:2018:i:3:p:683-704 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Sheremeta, Roman, 2015. "Behavior in Group Contests: A Review of Experimental Research," MPRA Paper 67515, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Matthew McCarter & Anya Samek & Roman Sheremeta, 2014. "Divided Loyalists or Conditional Cooperators? Creating Consensus About Cooperation in Multiple Simultaneous Social Dilemmas," Artefactual Field Experiments 00441, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Sheremeta, Roman & Smith, Vernon, 2017. "The Impact of the Reformation on the Economic Development of Western Europe," MPRA Paper 87220, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Fehr, Dietmar, 2017. "Costly communication and learning from failure in organizational coordination," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 106-122.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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