Research Article Summary
A research article on The Effects of Cooperation and Competition on Intrinsic Motivation (Tauer & Harackiewicz, 2004) examined the effects of cooperation and competition on participants in a sports setting and performed multiple studies to evaluate the relationship between the two. They found that both cooperation and competition had a positive influence on intrinsic motivation and performance through four experiments that tested the effects of pure cooperation, pure competition, and intergroup competition on intrinsic motivation and performance (Tauer & Harackiewicz, 2004).
Tauer & Harackiewicz (2004) defined pure cooperation as “a group of individuals working together to attain a common goal” (p. 849). They also define pure competition as “one person attempting to outperform another.” Intrinsic motivation is defined as “the desire to take part in an activity for its own sake” ((Tauer & Harackiewicz, 2004, p. 850). It is leads to the person enjoying the task and “developing long-lasting interest in the activity” (Tauer & Harackiewicz, 2004, p. 850). Theorist believe that if individuals hold interdependent goals, then cooperation should enhance performance (Tauer & Harackiewicz, 2004). In a meta-analysis of 64 studies, they found that cooperation facilitated performance more than individual competition ((Tauer & Harackiewicz, 2004). On the other hand, according to Tauer & Harackiewicz (2004), “the effect of competition relative to cooperation depended on two factors: the means interdependence of a task and the way in which competition is structured” (p. 849). Competition that involves a group effort tends to accomplish tasks more efficiently than competition performed independently. The authors states that this highly depends on the structure of the task, when focusing on competition alone; otherwise, competition and cooperation have similar effects on performance ((Tauer & Harackiewicz, 2004). There are very few studies on intergroup competition. This type of group interaction is more realistic because it “involves both cooperative and competitive elements” ((Tauer & Harackiewicz, 2004, p. 850). The research that has been performed have been on intergroup competition in purely cooperative and competitive conditions (control groups) to show the effects on the psychomotor task. These studies have shown a strong positive correlation between intergroup competition and performance in the work place, group productivity, and academic performance ((Tauer & Harackiewicz, 2004). Cooperation can also have a negative effect on motivation if the size of the group is too large, a person can feel like they lost their autonomy or if they fail to meet their goal (Tauer & Harackiewicz, 2004). Conversely, cooperation can also provide camaraderie and positive feedback as the team works towards a common goal (Tauer & Harackiewicz, 2004).
Tauer & Harackiewicz (2004) provided two hypotheses: first, that “intergroup competition...