Can interpersonal competition be constructive within organizations?

Dean William TJOSVOLD, David W. JOHNSON, Roger T. JOHNSON, Haifa SUN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


An empirical analysis was conducted on the conditions under which competition can be constructive. The participants were 64 managers and 28 employees from organizations in mainland China. They were asked to describe specific incidents of competition between them and their fellow employees and rate on a 7-point Likert-type scale the conditions that they perceived affected the outcomes. The incidents could involve either a physical activity or an intellectual task or both. Results showed that the variables related to constructive competition included the fairness of the rules, the motivation to win, having an advantage that enhanced one's chances of winning, a strong positive relationship among competitors, and a history of confirming each other's competence. By controlling these factors, the constructiveness of competition may be enhanced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-84
Number of pages22
JournalThe Journal of Psychology : Interdisciplinary and Applied
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • Competition
  • Constructive competition
  • Cooperation
  • Social interdependence


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