CDZ Do competitive activities teach cooperation better than cooperative activities?

Discussion in 'Clean Debate Zone' started by RandomPoster, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. SassyIrishLass
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    SassyIrishLass Diamond Member

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    Agreed, but once you've reached top tier and have experienced the thrill of winning gold second seems like a let down.

    Ours have gym club jackets and they receive mini medals for placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd to pin on their jackets. They only pin the first place medals, nearly all the top tier gymnasts follow that.
     
  2. MarathonMike
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    MarathonMike Platinum Member

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    You learn a lot more than the value of winning in competitive sports. It takes a lot of discipline to get into condition to compete and you have to be dependable getting to practice and the bus on time. You have to play your role on the team you may be the star you may be a sub but you play your role to help the team win.
     
  3. RandomPoster
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    RandomPoster Active Member

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    To me the values that are important are doing your absolute best, working your hardest, and trying absolutely everything you can to win while still retaining your competitive integrity. I believe that last attribute is sometimes overlooked and can be lost in the best of us too often in life. Even worse, is the assumption that finishing on top implies by its very nature that a competitive malfeasance that must be remedied must have occurred. That is, in my opinion, far too prevalent in our current society.

    As far as finishing first or second, of course you should strive for first, except in my opinion, a kid with average talent who joined a sport, started out losing and eventually winning more and more, finally finishing second in a high level tournament is an excellent example of competitive spirit and success. The work ethic, teamwork, and ability to give a highly competitive effort in the face of having to follow the rules and remaining emotionally composed while doing so are attributes that will serve him in any activity he pursues in life. Whether we finished first, second, third, etc. in a tournament is not likely to be the most important factor for most of us twenty years down the line.
     
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  4. Xelor
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    Xelor Gold Member

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    While we all can speculate an answer to the title question, is there any rigorous research that seeks to answer the question?

    Well, in fact there is. The term for the area of social science that pertains to the comparative value of competition versus cooperation is call "social interdependence theory." Obviously, the principles from that discipline can be applied to a wide assortment of undertakings. Two are discussed below.


    Academia:
    Johnson, Johnson and Holubec identified five essential elements of cooperative learning:
    1. Positive interdependence: The success of one learner is dependent on the success of the other learners.
    2. Promotive interaction : Individual can achieve promotive interaction by helping each other, exchanging resources, challenging each other’s conclusions, providing feedback, encouraging and striving for mutual benefits.
    3. Individual accountability: Teachers should assess the amount of effort that each member is contributing. These can be done by giving an individual test to each student and randomly calling students to present their group’s work.
    4. Interpersonal and small-group skills : Teachers must provide opportunities for group members to know each other, accept and support each other, communicate accurately and resolve differences constructively.
    5. Group processing: Teachers must also provide opportunities for the class to assess group progress. Group processing enables group to focus on good working relationship, facilitates the learning of cooperative skills and ensures that members receive feedback.
    Looking at subsequent research into the discipline, one finds "there is considerable evidence that students will learn more, use higher level reasoning strategies more frequently, build more complete and complex conceptual structures, and retain information learned more accurately when they learn within cooperative groups than when they study competitively or individualistically."​

    Business:
    In "Cutthroat Cooperation: Asymmetrical Adaptation to Changes in Team Reward Structures," show that teams that switched from a cooperative operating model to a competitive one experienced lower team decision accuracy and greater speed.

    For example, imagine a team that had been cooperatively rewarded because management desired to emphasize quality in the development of a product. On their next project, management wishes to deemphasize product quality and instead emphasize the speed of getting the next product to market. If the theoretical conclusions we offer here generalize to that setting, shifting the team to a competitive reward structure should accomplish just that. If, however, a team was competitively rewarded in a first project to emphasize speed to market, and in the next project management wishes to emphasize quality and deemphasize speed, shifting the team to a cooperative reward structure is not likely to accomplish the desired change in emphasis. Instead, the team is likely to engage in behaviors that are more consistent with their previous reward structure, and the result will be team performance that is relatively fast but not accurate.​

    The lesson being that, as with so many things, there is no "always right," or universally "best" or more effective approach. The best approach is the one that most aptly achieves one's goals. Thus, as every successful person will state about damn near everything, one must start at, duh, the beginning and define goals before "putting the cart ahead of the horse" and settling on a tactical approach to/plan for achieving them.

    I can attest to the importance of that axiom. For every pursuit I commenced -- be it professional or personal -- whereby I developed sound, clear and apt goals, I ended up with results that exceeded my (thus my superior's/client's) expectations. When the goal setting was haphazard, the results were a mix ranging from "okay" to "just barely okay." I guess that's not surprising; it is, after all, a key concept of Mgmt 101, so to speak.
     
  5. RandomPoster
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    RandomPoster Active Member

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    Your answer, along with most of the answers on this thread is focusing more on what produces the best results, since that is more in line with what most people's unltimate concern is. Technically, the question is slightly different in that it is about whether competitive activities are better at instilling cooperative values than purely cooperative ones, not which produces better results.

    However, the business example regarding "teams that switched from a cooperative operating model to a competitive one" seems to be based on employees competing against each other for performance based bonuses, promotions, etc. In my opinion both the cooperative and the competitive business models described in the article, are in fact compettive models. Other businesses will always be your competitiors, regardless of what type of internal business model you are using. The only difference between the two that I see is to what extent the employees of the business internally cooperate with each other or compete against each other. An example of an extremely internally competitive business model would be an owner of a proffessional basketball team paying his players solely based how many points they scored, how many rebounds they got, etc. This runs counter to everything that competitive team based sports teach us growing up. We instinctively want to behave selfishly and hog the ball. Competitive based team sports teach us not to behave selfishly like that. Imagine a basketball player treating his teammates as opponents and being more concerned with outscoring them than helping his team outscore the other team. That would be a recipe for disaster. He would be fighting with his teammates for rebounds, refusing to pass the ball, blocking his teammate's shots so that they can't score more points than him and all other forms of madness. His coach would force him to cooperate with his teammates or sit him on the bench. A cooperative business model, on the other hand, is still a competitive business model. There's no getting around that. It's simply focusing on treating other businesses as competitiors and trying to reduce infighting within your own company. This is because political infighting often leads to sabotage based competition, which is not optimal.
     
  6. Xelor
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    Xelor Gold Member

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    Okay. Fair enough.

    I don't know between competitive or collaborative activities, as contrasted with competitive and collaborative reward structures/policies, which is more effective at inculcating cooperative values. Though I have extensive exposure to the subtle ways businesses use psychology's findings to inspire attitudes, typically positive attitudes toward a firm, product line or product, what you are asking about seems more akin thematically to the next level, if you will, of those concepts. That is, it seems you're asking which type of activity is more conducive to establishing in one's core value system, which is not mere influencing, but rather mind control.

    OT:
    That is a huge difference! It's the difference between competitive strategy and human resource management strategy. At the topmost level of an enterprise, of course, the two strategies must be aligned complementarity.

    The principals in my firm, for example, compete with the principals in other firms to win engagements; however, I and my fellow principals don't compete internally. On the contrary, we bend over backwards to assist each other at every available opportunity. Indeed we have weekly national level conference calls in which every principal having them announces their various new engagement pursuits/leads (and, if necessary, challenges they may be facing on extant engagements). The purpose of that part of the call/meeting is so that anyone having something they can contribute to the effort -- a relationship/network contact, information, unique insights, time, project staffing recommendations, etc. -- will know that their input may be useful.

    Many are the times I shared that I was working on a pursuit and shortly after (sometimes even during) the call, I got an email from another partner indicating that s/he knew a specific decision maker in the potential client's organization and shared insights on how best to appeal to that person if they indeed were among the decision makers for the engagement I was pursuing. That's just one example of the types of things we partners share. Of course, one doesn't always have something to offer, but when one does, one offers. Only rarely is the offer not accepted.

    There's also a weekly email for each geography in which the firm does business. That email identifies every potential and ongoing engagement and select details about it. Every partner takes ten or fifteen minutes each week to review that list of "international" potential engagements to see whether they may have something to contribute. (The info is also in a database, but we found that people would look at the email, but they were less diligent about regularly checking in the database. The main reason for that is that folks can review the email while on a plane.)

    Why are we so eager to assist in any way possible? Because as owners in a partnership, our compensation depends not only on our domestic "division's" earnings, but also on global earnings.


    FWIW, occasionally, competing firms in my industry collaborate on engagements when one or each firm lacks resources that another has at the time and place the client needs them. Partnering of that sort is what enabled me to sell the firm I started to a much larger competitor. No, I didn't compete with "them" overall, but for engagements in my practice niche, I competed quite effectively against them and other huge firms that offered that set of services as "also ran" services. That said, a "big firm-small firm" partnering is far more common that is partnering between two or more large firms, though even that happens on rare occasions.

     
  7. RandomPoster
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    RandomPoster Active Member

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    That's a good point about rival businesses collaborating on a project. In terms of that project, I see them as cooperating together to compete against other rival businesses.
     
  8. frigidweirdo
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    frigidweirdo Gold Member

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    What often teaches cooperation better is getting people to understand other people's differences.
     
  9. baileyn45
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    baileyn45 Platinum Member

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    I grew up in the 60s and early 70s when sports weren't so organized. We played football in the street, baseball in the street and basketball at the local playground. I was a good baseball player, an ok football player and I sucked at basketball. You learn a lot that way.

    Learning the cooperative aspect was learned by pickup teams. An afternoon of baseball consisted of being on 6 different teams consisting of different people each time. Who should pitch, who should play center field? These were figured out by consensus, without adults. I fear such learning experiences are lost now.
     

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