Waiting for the beet truck

No one believes this from me, so maybe they’ll believe it from the Oklahoman’s Don Mecoy:

You know that person that everyone in the office thinks is a little odd — just a smidge off-center? The Dwight Schrute of the workplace? (If you can’t identify this person, it may be you).

I’m pretty sure it is.

Turns out, that guy or gal is helping you get work done, according to a recent study.

Let’s see what that’s about:

[A]ccording to new research co-authored by a Brigham Young University business professor, better decisions come from teams that include a “socially distinct newcomer.” That’s psychology-speak for someone who is different enough to bump other team members out of their comfort zones.

Researchers noticed this effect after conducting a traditional group problem-solving experiment. The twist was that a newcomer was added to each group about five minutes into their deliberations. And when the newcomer was a social outsider, teams were more likely to solve the problem successfully.

The research is published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Although Mecoy sees another possible explanation:

Perhaps those folks just make us want to get out of the room more quickly, cutting down on the cross-chatter and lame jokes that can bog down [a] meeting.

I try my hardest to contribute in my own inimitable fashion to corporate meetings, generally by not attending if I can possibly avoid it.



  1. Jeff Shaw »

    1 April 2009 · 5:04 pm

    I’ve suspected it. But only up until I’m the only one asked to leave the meeting.

  2. Don Mecoy »

    1 April 2009 · 5:12 pm

    Damn. A typo.

  3. QA Hates You » Blog Archive » Misanthropic QA Staff Good For Teams »

    2 April 2009 · 2:14 pm

    […] (Link seen on Dustbury.com.) […]

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