Controls and Cooperation in Interactive and Non-Interactive Settings
44 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2014 Last revised: 14 Jun 2018
Date Written: May 5, 2018
Prior research finds that controls that induce cooperation among collaborators on a project increase trust, and that this increased trust increases subsequent cooperation among collaborators. We extend this work by investigating how controls influence cooperative behavior in two settings. The first is an interactive setting where people work together and can benefit from each other’s work. The second is a non-interactive setting where people do not work together directly, but where behavior can be observed. We propose that because controls are likely to engender greater trust and reciprocity in interactive settings than in non-interactive settings, the effect of controls on future cooperative behavior will be greater for controls in interactive settings than for controls in non-interactive settings. We find that controls in both settings increase future cooperative behavior, but the effect is significantly greater in interactive settings (where reciprocity and trust are more likely to develop). Furthermore, this increased cooperation is observed in an uncontrolled task, suggesting that the control fosters trust in others, rather than trust in the control. These findings suggest that the benefits of controls are more substantial in work environments characterized by extensive teamwork and where employees benefit from each other’s work.
Keywords: trust, control system, reciprocity, Attribution Theory
JEL Classification: C91, M41, M52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation