Summary by James R. Martin, Ph.D., CMA
Professor Emeritus, University of South Florida
These authors reviewed 122 studies on the relative effects of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic efforts on achievement and productivity. They defined four goal structures as follows:
2. Cooperation with intergroup competition,
3. Interpersonal competition, and
4. Individualistic efforts.
The purpose of the article is to review the 122 research studies using meta-analysis to resolve the controversy over which goal structure is more effective.
Meta-analysis involves combining and integrating the results of independent experiments and includes three methods, the voting method, the effect-size method and the z-score method. These methods are described on page 49.
1. Cooperation and cooperation with intergroup competition appeared to be equally effective in promoting achievement.
2. Cooperation promotes higher achievement than competition. The voting method favored cooperation by 65 to 8 (with 36 no differences). The effect-size of .78 showed that "the average person in the cooperation condition performed .75 SD above the average person in competition" (p. 51).
3. Cooperation with intergroup competition was somewhat superior to interpersonal competition in promoting achievement.
4. Cooperation promotes higher achievement than individualistic efforts by 108 to 6 using the voting method (with 42 no differences). The effect-size of .78 favored cooperation indicating that the average person in the cooperative condition performed approximately .75 SD above the average person working individualistically.
5. Cooperation with intergroup competition promotes higher achievement than individualistic efforts. The voting method favored cooperation with intergroup competition by 20 to 1 (with 10 no differences). The effect-size of .50 favored cooperation with intergroup competition indicating that the average person in this condition performed .50 SD above the average person working individualistically.
6. There were no significant differences between the conditions of competition and individualistic effort in promoting achievement.
Deming, W. E. 1993. The New Economics For Industry, Government & Education. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Advanced Engineering Study. In the preface Deming states that the present style of management is a modern invention and represents "a prison created by the way in which people interact." The present system includes competition between people, teams, departments, divisions, students, schools and universities. Although economists have taught that competition will solve our problems, we now know that competition is destructive. A better approach is for everyone to work together as a system. The solution to problems comes from cooperation, not competition. (Summary).
Elliott, R. K. 1992. The third wave breaks on the shores of accounting. Accounting Horizons 6 (June): 61-85. (Summary).
Hammer, M. 1990. Reengineering work: Don't automate, obliterate. Harvard Business Review (July-August): 104-112. (Summary).
Hammer, M. 2001. The superefficient company. Harvard Business Review (September): 82-91. (Summary).
Hammer, M. 2007. The process audit. Harvard Business Review (April): 111-123. (Note).
Herzberg, F. 2003. One more time: How do you motivate employees? Harvard Business Review (January): 87-96. (Summary).
Kaplan, R. S. and D. P. Norton. 2004. Measuring the strategic readiness of intangible assets. Harvard Business Review (February): 52-63. (Summary).
Katzenbach, J. R. and J. A. Santamaria. 1999. Firing up the front line. Harvard Business Review (May-June): 107-117. (Summary).
Kohn, A. 1993. Why incentive plans cannot work. Harvard Business Review (September-October): 54-63. (Summary).
Martin, J. R. Not dated. Lean concepts and terms. Management And Accounting Web. Lean requires cultural change. Extreme individualism must be replaced by more collectivist or cooperative behavior. Lean behavior is required from everyone in the organization as everyone understands his or her role. Workers in lean environments know who their customers are, both internal and external, and place emphasis on customer satisfaction, a clean, safe, and orderly environment with everything in its place, as well as teamwork, cooperation in problem solving, and employee empowerment. http://maaw.info/LeanConceptsandTermsSummary.htm
Martin, J. R., W. K. Schelb, R. C. Snyder, and J. C. Sparling. 1992. Comparing the practices of U.S. and Japanese companies: The implications for management accounting. Journal of Cost Management (Spring): 6-14. (Summary).
McNair, C. J. and L. P. Carr. 1994. Responsibility redefined. Advances in Management Accounting (3): 85-117. (Summary).
Scott, T. W. and P. Tiessen. 1999. Performance measurement and managerial teams. Accounting, Organizations and Society 24(3): 263-285. (Summary).
Spear, S. J. 2004. Learning to lead at Toyota. Harvard Business Review (May): 78-86. (Summary).
Spear, S. and H. K. Bowen. 1999. Decoding the DNA of the Toyota production system. Harvard Business Review (September-October): 97-106. (Summary).
Staats, B. R. and D. M. Upton. 2011. Lean knowledge work: The "Toyota" principles can also be effective in operations involving judgment and expertise. Harvard Business Review (October): 100-110. (Summary).
Towry, K. L. 2003. Control in a teamwork environment: The impact of social ties on the effectiveness of mutual monitoring contracts. The Accounting Review (October): 1069-1095. (Towry discusses Social Identity Theory and how it can be applied to vertical and horizontal incentive systems). (Summary) and (JSTOR link).
Wisner, P. S. and H. A. Feist. 2001. Does teaming pay off? Strategic Finance (February): 58-64. (Summary).