Stability of membership and persistence in teams: Impacts on performance

Iftekhar Ahmed, Marshall Scott Poole, Andrew Pilny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


There is evidence that the more experience team members have working together, the greater the capacity of the team to perform effectively. On the other hand, studies also show that variability in team membership may make a team more effective due to new ideas and routines team members are exposed to. This study investigates the impact of membership stability on performance in teams that engage in multiple tasks over time. It contrasts closed teams in which membership is constant over time with open teams in which membership changes over time. Both closed and open teams also vary in terms of persistence, the number of tasks the team performs over its course of work. This study investigated the impacts of membership stability and persistence on performance in action teams using a sample of 4,871 teams from a Massive Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG). Overall, closed teams were more successful than open teams in performance of in-game tasks. Persistence, the number of times a team played, had a quadratic relationship with performance for closed teams and a linear relationship with performance for open teams. Results also suggested that variability in membership had positive effects in that open teams were able to sustain their effectiveness for a longer time than closed teams.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-169
Number of pages14
JournalGroup Dynamics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Psychological Association.


  • Action teams
  • Group performance
  • Massive multiplayer online games
  • Membership stability
  • Multiple team membership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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