Old wine in a new bottle: Impact of membership change on group creativity

Hoon Seok Choi, Leigh Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

209 Scopus citations


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 "oldtimers" (i.e., people who remained in one group across tasks). Implications for the role of membership change in groups are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-132
Number of pages12
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Group creativity
  • Membership change
  • Newcomers
  • Teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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