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Is Introducing New Members to a Group of Older Members a Bad Move?

Update Date: Jan 31, 2013 05:19 AM EST

Introducing a new member into an already functional group of older members is never a good idea, as it creates misunderstandings and distrust between the members, hampering the group activities. However, a recent study finds that the distrust is mainly aimed at the older members and not toward the new member added. This is particularly true if the group that the new member has been made a part of wasn't performing well previously

The research was undertaken by Matthew McCarter and Roman Sheremeta from Chapman University in the U.S. and was published in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

It had been observed previously that any change in the member structure of an existing group hampers the group's performance, though the reason for it was not clear. To investigate the reason, researchers asked volunteers of a group to play a four-person coordination game, after which the researchers removed two members of the group and introduced two new members. This newly formed group was then asked to play the same game again.

The researchers observed that adding new members created distrust in the group, which affected the group's performance negatively. The effects lessened if the new and the older members were known to each other and were aware of each other's history.

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