What Do Groups Learn from Their Worldliest Members? Direct and Indirect Influence in Dynamic Teams
This study investigated the consequences of temporary membership changes for itinerant members (who leave their group of origin temporarily to visit a foreign work group) and indigenous members of those origin and foreign groups. We tested the hypothesis that itinerant members' unique knowledge and experience can be transferred from the group where it originated to another group engaged in the same activities. Results showed that all members produced more unique ideas after itinerant members returned to their group of origin than before they left or while they were away; however, the ideas of itinerant members were significantly less likely to be utilized by the group in an essay on group work. After their return, itinerant members were perceived as highly involved in group activity, but also more argumentative, and although they produced more unique ideas than indigenous members, their essay contributions were perceived as less valuable. As a result, itinerant group members had less direct influence after changing groups than they did prior to the membership change.