chapter  11
What Newcomers See and What Oldtimers Say: Discontinuities in Knowledge Exchange
WithDeborah H. Gruenfeld, Elliott T. Fan
Pages 22

Many important aspects of knowledge about work are implicit in the cultures of workgroups. Tacit knowledge can be made explicit when an unexpected challenge or obstacle to routine behavior stimulates active thinking about cultural practices. Organizations have begun to experiment with various means of increasing group members' consciousness and communication of tacit knowledge, to facilitate intergroup learning. In contrast, several new variations on cross-functional task design utilize temporary changes in group composition to make intergroup collaborations more efficient. Integrative complexity is a characteristic of cognitive style that reflects the breadth and depth of decision-makers' thoughts. The successful transfer of the type of knowledge will depend on two factors: communication of that knowledge by the newcomer and acceptance of that knowledge by oldtimers. When members change groups, newcomers assimilate, adopting the beliefs and norms of oldtimers, and oldtimers accommodate, adjusting their beliefs and norms in response to newcomers.