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Old wine in a new bottle : Impact of membership change on group creativity, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes


The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of membership change on group creativity. Based on the literature suggesting stimulating effects of membership change in groups, we hypothesized that membership change would enhance the creativity of groups. Membership change involved randomly rotating a subset of group members among groups during a series of creative tasks. Using an idea generation paradigm, we compared the creativity of open groups (i.e., groups that experienced a change in their membership across tasks) with that of closed groups (i.e., groups whose membership was invariant across tasks) in two experiments. In both experiments, we found that open groups generated more ideas and more different kinds of ideas than did closed groups. Moreover, Experiment 2 revealed that it was the productivity of newcomers (measured in terms of their creative idea generation in a previous task) that exerted a positive impact on groups. We also found that the entry of more productive newcomers increased the creativity of old timers (i.e., people who remained in one group across tasks). Implications for the role of membership change in groups are discussed.




Hoon-Seok Choi, Leigh Thompson

Date Published



Choi, Hoon-Seok, and Leigh Thompson. 2005. Old wine in a new bottle : Impact of membership change on group creativity. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.(2): 121-132.


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