Cooperation vs. Self-interest: Which Reigns Supreme?

This entry is part 1 of 8 in the series Cooperation vs. Self-interest

Recently, Harvard Business Review focused its July-August 2011 issue on collaboration. It connected so well and deeply with my own experiences that I decided to write a series of posts dedicated to Cooperation versus Self-interest. I wrote previously about this on the business-to-business level, but the focus here will be on individuals. I was further…

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Cooperation vs. Self-interest (Pt 2): Context – The Great Influencer

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Cooperation vs. Self-interest

As we saw with pigeonholing and tasting food, context influences us greatly. This extends to people’s inclinations to collaborate. In support of this, the July-August 2011 issue of the Harvard Business Review has Yochai Benkler’s citing in his article “The Unselfish Gene” the work of Lee Ross from Stanford University. He found people being more…

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Cooperation vs. Self-interest (Pt 3): Empathy

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Cooperation vs. Self-interest

For many of us, we feel good when we help others. What we are even learning is that many of us, especially women, will tend to feel what others feel. Thus, we not only feel good about helping others, but we feel their happiness from our help. In the July-August 2011 issue of the Harvard…

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Cooperation vs. Self-interest (Pt 4): Intrinsic Rewards

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Cooperation vs. Self-interest

Intrinsic rewards are important aspects of creating a cooperative work culture. However, such rewards are difficult to understand and teach. Moreover, many, many people just don’t believe they are that powerful. Yochai Benkler in his article “The Unselfish Gene” of the July-August 2011 issue of the Harvard Business Review endorses the importance of intrinsic rewards…

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Cooperation vs. Self-interest (Pt 5): Humans vs. Apes

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Cooperation vs. Self-interest

In a previous post, I briefly mentioned the work of Michael Tomasello of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology as reported by Elizabeth Kolbert in her article, “Sleeping With The Enemy,” which appeared in the August 15/22, 2011 issue of the The New Yorker. At the time, I cited Tomasello’s work to emphasize the…

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Cooperation vs. Self-interest (Pt 6): Incentives & Rats

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Cooperation vs. Self-interest

In Part 4 of this series, I discussed the positivity of intrinsic rewards in the workplace. Let’s now address the negative impact of monetary motivations which are the primary extrinsic reward in today’s business world. As Yochai Benkler in his article “The Unselfish Gene” of the July-August 2011 issue of the Harvard Business Review writes…

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How Altruism in Groups Plays Out Against Self-interest

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Cooperation vs. Self-interest

In genetics altruism creates a dilemma. Darwin even considered it a challenge to his theory of natural selection where self-interest seems to prevail. Yet, altruism exists and not just in humans. It’s here that looking at how altruism in groups plays out against self-interest provides answers. Altruism in Groups of Animals The article, “Kin and…

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What’s In It For Me abbreviation

What’s In It For Me Under Attack By Nobel Prize Winner

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Cooperation vs. Self-interest

What’s In It For Me is a trite, popular slogan for the average professional driving change. It assumes that people will only change if there is some direct benefit to them to do so. This thinking follows what economists have espoused for decades. Self-interest drives people. They’re rational. Rational Self-Interest Under Attack Richard Thaler’s, the…

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