Competitive Members in Cooperative Groups
23 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2005
Date Written: June 1, 2005
The present study was designed to bridge previous research on cooperative decision making and on mixed-motive interactions. The structure of the group tasks studied in the mixed-motive literature is such that all group members simultaneously experience motives to compete and to cooperate and that all members accurately recognize that the mixed-motive reward structure is the same for everyone. In contrast, the present study considers that members' motives can also vary on a task that on the surface appears purely cooperative. We conducted a laboratory experiment using a cooperative group decision-making task and we varied the number of members who were also given competitive incentives (0, 1, 2, or all 3 members). We found that the preferences of competitive members were often adopted by the group. Competitive members reported engaging in more strategic information sharing and presenting their preferred alternative in a more favorable way; they also trusted other group members less than did cooperative members. The results of this study are consistent with studies of mixed-motive interaction that showed that in the absence of information about members' motives, group members often assume that other members have similar motives and engage in similar behaviors.
Keywords: Group decision making, competition, cooperation, computer-mediated
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