Misanthropic QA Staff Good For Teams

That’s what I take away from the summary of this study, anyway:

Nobody wants to share a cubicle with a new hire like Dwight Schrute. The beet-farming volunteer sheriff’s deputy/paper salesman creates many awkward moments because of his differences with co-workers on NBC’s “The Office.”

But according to new research co-authored by a Brigham Young University business professor, better decisions come from teams that include a “socially distinct newcomer.” That’s psychology-speak for someone who is different enough to bump other team members out of their comfort zones.

Researchers noticed this effect after conducting a traditional group problem-solving experiment. The twist was that a newcomer was added to each group about five minutes into their deliberations. And when the newcomer was a social outsider, teams were more likely to solve the problem successfully.

The research is published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

“One of the most-cited benefits of diversity is the infusion of new ideas and perspectives,” said study co-author Katie Liljenquist, assistant professor of organizational leadership at BYU’s Marriott School of Management. “And while that very often is true, we found the mere presence of a newcomer who is socially distinct can really shake up the group dynamic. That leads to discomfort, but also to a better process that ultimately yields superior outcomes.”

But I guess you find the patterns you’re seeking.

(Link seen on Dustbury.com.)

No Responses to “Misanthropic QA Staff Good For Teams”

  1. Ruthie Says:

    This is interesting to me. I would add that the positive outcome experienced is dependent upon the egos of the individuals on the established homogenous team. I say this because in my experience as a newcomer if someone felt threatened all ideas generated by the newcomer, esp. the constuctive ones, are shut down and not implemented. [Management by fear – hard to believe it’s still around but it is.]

  2. strazzerj Says:

    I’d rather share with Creed Bratton.

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