Cooperation Theory and Organizations


*Corresponding author for this work

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

141 Citations (Scopus)


Organizational researchers have largely ignored cooperation theory in their analyses of social interaction in organizations. Considerable experimental and field research by social and educational psychologists indicates the dynamics of cooperatively (positively), competitively (negatively), and individualistically (independently) linked goals and suggests their consequences on relationships and productivity. Results overall indicate that cooperation facilitates social interaction and productivity. However, studies done in organizational contexts with representative tasks are needed to generalize confidently to organizational practice. Organizational researchers can extend cooperation theory to understand the dynamics between superiors and subordinates and the relationships among departments. To make cooperation theory useful, knowledge is needed to identify conditions that affect how organizational members perceive their goal interdependence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-767
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1984
Externally publishedYes


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