The team causes and consequences of team membership change: A temporal perspective

Jia Li, Daan van Knippenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
338 Downloads (Pure)


Membership change—adding, replacing, and losing members—is a common phenomenon in work teams and charts a different theoretical space from prior team research that has assumed stable team membership and shared team properties. Based on a comprehensive review of 133 empirical studies on team membership change since 1948, we propose a temporal framework pertaining to the causes and consequences of membership change. Three key theoretical insights emerge from our evidence-based integration: (a) Membership change first disrupts team cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal processes and states (e.g., transactive memory systems, coordination) but can benefit team performance after teams adapt to form new processes and states; (b) whether and to what extent team performance benefits from membership change is contingent on the magnitude of membership change, requirements of team communication, member adaptation-related attributes, change in team knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs), and team knowledge work; and (c) poor team experiences motivate member departure and may make it challenging for newcomers to join and teams to adapt to membership change. Our review moves team research into new avenues that do not presume stable team membership and shared team properties in understanding team functioning and performance, and outlines key directions to advance integrative theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-606
Number of pages30
JournalAcademy of Management Annals
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2021

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Academy of Management Annals.


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