Emergent Power Hierarchies and Group Performance
In newly formed groups, informal hierarchies emerge automatically and readily. In this study, we argue that emergent group hierarchies enhance group performance (Hypothesis 1) and we assume that the more the power hierarchy within a group corresponds to the task-competence differences of the individual group members, the better the group performs (Hypothesis 2). Twelve three-person groups and 28 four-person groups were investigated while solving the Winter Survival Task. Results show that emerging power hierarchies positively impact group performance but the alignment between task-competence and power hierarchy did not affect group performance. Thus, emergent power hierarchies are beneficial for group performance and although they were on average created around individual group members’ competence, this correspondence was not a prerequisite for better group performance.