The Pain is Worth the Gain: The Advantages and Liabilities of Agreeing with Socially Distinct Newcomers
12 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2003
The impact of newcomer's social similarity and opinion agreement with old timers is examined. Much of the research about newcomers has ignored the role of social similarity, generally conflating newcomer status with out-group status. The current investigation addresses this confound by manipulating the social similarity of the newcomer to oldtimers, as well as the level of opinion agreement among the two. We find that there is a divergence between how socially validated old timers feel and their performance. In groups with in-group newcomers those that ally with the newcomer feel socially validated, yet perform worse than those who do not ally with the newcomer, whereas allies of out-group newcomers feel less socially validated, but actually perform quite well. We argue that allying with an out-group newcomer can represent a threat to one's social relationships with fellow in-group members (Phillips, 2003), which leads to an increased task focus that results in superior performance for oldtimers in the group. Implications for understanding the impact of newcomers on groups will be discussed.
Keywords: newcomers, social similarity, opinion ally
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