Capturing the Impact of Membership Turnover in Small Groups via Latent Class Growth Analysis: Modeling the Rise of the New York Knicks of the 1960s and 1970s

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In several areas of research, most notably in industrial/organizational psychology and in addictions treatment research, there have been calls for advances in modeling the impact of turnover in membership within dynamic small N groups. The present study examines the utility of latent class growth analysis (LGCA; in combination with other approaches) in modeling turnover in group membership within a dynamic work group from popular culture: the National Basketball Association's (NBA) New York Knickerbockers (Knicks) of the 1960s and 1970s. Changes over time in the proportions of 5 longitudinal player efficiency classes accounted for variability in regular season wins, number of NBA All-Star Game appearances and the proportion of (eventual) basketball Hall-of-Fame members across a 20-year span. Using LCGA, there was a clear match between the empirical model and the “historical reality” with respect to identifying the players that were responsible for the success of the Knicks, particularly in the early 1970s. This study provides a practical example of how LCGA may be used to capture the impact of turnover in group membership on group-level outcomes across multiple areas in which groups with dynamic membership are studied.

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