January 2015

IZA DP No. 8761: Cooperation in Diverse Teams: The Role of Temporary Group Membership

considerably shortened version published as "Public Good Provision in Blended Groups of Partners and Strangers" in: Economics Letters 134 (2015), 41-44

In organizations, some team members are assigned to a team for a predefined short period of time, e.g., as they have a temporary contract, while others are permanent members of the same team. In a laboratory experiment we analyze the cooperation levels resulting from diverse teams, where some team members remain with a team and others are switching teams. Our results reveal that teams consisting partly of members with temporary membership display a lower productivity compared to teams of permanent team members only. First, temporary team members cooperate less than permanent team members. Second, individual effort decisions increase with the number of team mates who are of the same type. This second effect holds for both temps and permanents. We argue that social identity is affected by team composition and the individuals' role in a team.