Seeking the comparative advantage: The dynamics of individual cooperation in single vs. multiple team environments
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, vol.
July (3rd Quarter/Summer)
Social dilemma studies predict that people will withhold cooperation from their teammates. Small group studies show that competition
between teams increases cooperation among teammates. In this study, the two theories are integrated to show how performance
comparisons with members of another team increase or decrease cooperation in an intra-team social dilemma. 111 MBA and
undergraduate students participated in a laboratory experiment that Wnds that comparison of performance across competitive teams
generates cooperation when the comparison is favorable. A computer simulation identiWes decisions processes, Wnding partial support
for comparative information across teams acting to reinforce cooperation. It also indicates that personal consistency accounts
for parts of the decision process. These processes operate in the form of a rule called Win-Stay/Lose-Revert.