Role Effects in Coordination: Collaborators and Competitors Vary in Focal Point Choice and Outcomes Obtained in Coordination
42 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2012 Last revised: 23 Jul 2012
Date Written: June 18, 2012
Coordination problems can arise from previously established dyadic roles. In four studies, we examine the impact on the extent and outcomes of coordination (for problems with multiple Nash equilibria) from previously established competitor versus teammate relationships. Individuals randomly assigned to dyads played a game where earnings were either determined jointly (teammates) or the winner took all (competitors). Study 1 found that the role or teammate or competitor influences choice of focal points and expectations of the partner’s behavior: teammates are task-focused, while competitors are focused on the hierarchical difference. Study 2 extended these findings to situations where the payoffs present strategic focal points: teammates choose collective maximization while competitors continue to be focused on the inherent hierarchy in the relationship. In Study 3, communication raises coordination rates close to 100% but does not attenuate competitor focus on the relational hierarchy. Finally, in Study 4, the presence of an external threat and thus a super-ordinate goal motivates competitors to make more task-based choices, similar to teammates.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation