Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2021

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Business Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Teams in diverse settings experience membership change. Although researchers have examined what happens in a team after membership change, we know little about what happens in a team after members are informed about the upcoming change and before the change actually happens. I develop and test a conceptual model of how teams respond to the news of upcoming membership change. Drawing on social identity theory, I propose that decreased team identification of members who will soon leave a team would necessitate members who will stay in a team to modify their coordination mechanisms which result in flux in coordination. Because it takes time for teams to modify established mechanisms and adapt to the modified system, I expect flux in coordination during the pre-change period to undermine a team’s short-term performance. Regarding the long-term effects of pre-change period flux in coordination, two theories suggest different predictions. Whereas a resource-based perspective suggests that early challenges in coordination can deplete resources in a team (i.e., members’ time and energy) and thus undermine a team’s long-term performance, a change theory that emphasizes the difficulty of overcoming resistance to change suggests that experience of modifying coordination mechanisms can enhance team adaptability and thus improve a team’s long-term performance. I reconcile two opposing views by proposing an inverted U-shaped relationship between pre-change period flux in coordination and a team’s long-term performance. I test my hypotheses with an online study of 52 three-person teams. While working on a video-recording task, three-person teams were informed that one of them would leave and a new member will join. After 10 minutes from the announcement, membership change was implemented. I found that after learning about impending change, teams shifted the way they coordinate work. Contrary to the prediction, however, I found that departing members’ team identification increased during the pre-change period and flux in coordination during the pre-change period was positively related to subsequent team performance. I discuss alternative explanations of the unexpected and null findings. This dissertation contributes to the literature on team membership change, social identity, and coordination by revealing the presence of pre-change period, challenging the de-identification process of departing members, and testing the relationship between flux in coordination and team performance.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Andrew P. Knight

Committee Members

Hillary Anger Elfenbein, Stuart Bunderson, William P. Bottom, Floor Rink,