We conducted a longitudinal field experiment to examine whether sociometric and ability‐based assignment methods have different effects on multiple outcomes. We assigned subjects (N = 258) to sociometric or ability‐based conditions, and assembled them into three‐person workgroups. Subjects in the sociometric condition chose their own workgroup members; we assigned subjects in the ability‐based condition to groups on the basis of ability. The results show that sociometric workgroups report higher levels of communication, coordination, peer ratings, group cohesion, and job satisfaction than workgroups in the ability‐based condition. In addition, the results indicate that organizational forces tended to equalize the influence of ability on performance.