Dealing With New Members: Team Members’ Reactions to Newcomer’s Attractiveness and Sex

Sung Won Min, Stephen E. Humphrey, Federico Aime, Oleg V. Petrenko, Matthew J. Quade, Sherry Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We examine how team members respond to the inclusion of new members’ physical attractiveness and sex. Drawing on Social Exchange Theory, we argue and show that incumbent team members engage in three behaviors (mimicry, ingratiation, and challenging) in response to the inclusion of more or less attractive male or female members in their team. Using a multilevel experimental design, we show that existing team members mimic newcomers who are higher on physical attractiveness and that the effect is more pronounced when there is a sex match (i.e., existing males mimic new males more). Furthermore, they ingratiate toward the physically attractive newcomers who are also committed to the task. In addition, we find that existing team members challenge physically attractive females who are committed to the task. Our findings suggest that the basic combinations of primary cues of newcomers’ characteristics affect intrateam behaviors and produce different outcomes across sexes for attractiveness. By shifting the attention to the effect that newcomers have on team behaviors, the study provides novel insights for scholars that help move the discussion of team membership changes beyond the traditional accounts of new member socialization and team effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1115-1129
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2022


  • Physical attractiveness
  • Sex
  • Team dynamics
  • Teams


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