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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Competition or Cooperation

Today's workplace is filled with a diversified workforce. Not only diversified in race, religion, sex, etc. but even more so in personality traits which create office environments. There can be benefits to this diversity, but there can also be drawbacks. It largely depends on the individuals you bring into your environment.

Many workplaces today have become competitive. Teams compete against teams. Team members push other team members on to achieve more, faster and better by creating a competitive synergy. The theory that “competition brings out the best in us” is active here.

Other workplaces are non competitive. They focus on cooperative goals and working together. They theory that “superior performance not only does not require competition; it usually seems to require its absence”

Whether or not you buy into either of these theories the fact is that according to this research by Adrian Ibbetson and Sue Newell a competitive environment isn't any different than a cooperative environment.

I suppose it comes down to are you competitive by nature or not. Me, personally, I'm competitive, but with the ability to turn it off when appropriate. I don't have to beat my 4 year old son at Candy Land. However, when I'm running from 1st to 2nd on an overthrow and I sense the ball coming in over my shoulder to the second baseman the competitiveness in my takes over and I slide, leaving a beautiful beef jerky scab on my leg.

The upside to cooperativeness is that you grow close and more intimate with your teammates. The upside to competitiveness is you get a gnarly looking gash on your leg and chicks dig scars.

The downside to competitiveness is that as the scab tightens and you go for your morning run, the scab splits open and blood gushes out.

The really bad side is that when it oozes, it gooes up your nice dress pants at your office.