Not Just Like Starting Over: Leadership and Revivification of Cooperation in Groups

Posted: 22 Dec 2013 Last revised: 4 Dec 2017

See all articles by Jordi Brandts

Jordi Brandts

Instituto de Analisis Economico (CSIC) Barcelona

Christina Rott

VU University Amsterdam

Carles Solà

Autonomous University of Barcelona - Department of Business Administration ; CUNY College of Staten Island

Date Written: July 9, 2015

Abstract

We conduct a laboratory experiment to study how, after a history of decay, cooperation in a repeated voluntary contribution game can be revived in an enduring way. Simply starting the repeated game over - a simple fresh start - leads to an initial increase of cooperation, but to a subsequent new decay. Motivated by cooperation decay in organizations we study the potential of three interventions of triggering higher and sustained cooperation, which take place at the same time as a restart. Surprisingly, we find that the detailed explanation of the causes of the decay in cooperation of Fischbacher and Gaechter (2010) combined with an advice on how to prevent decay do not have an effect beyond that of just starting over. In contrast, a one-way free form communication message sent by the leader to the followers strongly revives cooperation. We find evidence that repeated free form communication by the leader further strengthens the reviving effect on cooperation. Combining the two previous interventions does not outperform the pure effect of communication. Our content analysis reveals that leader communication is more people oriented than the expert advice.

Keywords: leadership, cooperation, communication

JEL Classification: C71, C73, C92, D83, J63, L20

Suggested Citation

Brandts, Jordi and Rott, Christina and Solà, Carles and Solà, Carles, Not Just Like Starting Over: Leadership and Revivification of Cooperation in Groups (July 9, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2370320 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2370320

Jordi Brandts (Contact Author)

Instituto de Analisis Economico (CSIC) Barcelona ( email )

UAB Campus
E-08193 Bellaterra
Spain

Christina Rott

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

Netherlands

Carles Solà

Autonomous University of Barcelona - Department of Business Administration ( email )

Campus Bellaterra, Edifici B.
Bellaterra (Barcelona), 08193
Spain
935814291 (Phone)
935812525 (Fax)

CUNY College of Staten Island ( email )

NY
United States
7189822927 (Phone)

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