Choosing Work Group Members: Balancing Similarity, Competence, and Familiarity

Pamela J. Hinds, Kathleen M. Carley, David Krackhardt, Doug Wholey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

287 Scopus citations


This study explores one of the contributors to group composition - the basis on which people choose others with whom they want to work. We use a combined model to explore individual attributes, relational attributes, and previous structural ties as determinants of work partner choice. Four years of data from participants in 33 small project groups were collected, some of which reflects individual participant characteristics and some of which is social network data measuring the previous relationship between two participants. Our results suggest that when selecting future group members people are biased toward others of the same race, others who have a reputation for being competent and hard working, and others with whom they have developed strong working relationships in the past. These results suggest that people strive for predictability when choosing future work group members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-251
Number of pages26
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation, IRI-9216760. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Pamela J. Hinds, Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-4024. E-mail:


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