Status Inertia and Member Replacement in Role-Differentiated Teams

TitleStatus Inertia and Member Replacement in Role-Differentiated Teams
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsBunderson J.S, Van der Vegt G.S, Sparrowe R.T
JournalOrganization Science
Date PublishedJan-Feb
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1047-7039
Accession NumberWOS:000329979200003
Keywordsbias, dominance, GENDER, group dynamics, knowledge transfer, membership change, newcomer adjustment, organizational-behavior, performance expectations, social-interaction, stability, status, status beliefs, turnover, work groups

The arrival of a new member can provide the impetus for learning and performance improvement in groups, but only if the newcomer is accorded status within the new group. We examine newcomer status in cases of member replacement, i.e., when a newcomer assumes an existing role within an established group. Drawing from status characteristics and status construction theories, we suggest that status in role-differentiated groups is inertial-nominal roles acquire status value, and these role-related status attributions carry forward to affect the status of a replacement newcomer. We also suggest that these inertial status dynamics can be affected by the relative performance of the host versus donor group and that they will have consequences for group performance. These hypotheses were supported in a controlled setting using teams engaged in several rounds of a management simulation exercise. The theory and results of this study have important implications for research on intragroup status, membership change in groups, and the transfer of knowledge through member rotation.