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Why People Cooperate

Why People Cooperate: The Role of Social Motivations

Tom R. Tyler
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Why People Cooperate
    Book Description:

    Any organization's success depends upon the voluntary cooperation of its members. But what motivates people to cooperate? InWhy People Cooperate, Tom Tyler challenges the decades-old notion that individuals within groups are primarily motivated by their self-interest. Instead, he demonstrates that human behaviors are influenced by shared attitudes, values, and identities that reflect social connections rather than material interests.

    Tyler examines employee cooperation in work organizations, resident cooperation with legal authorities responsible for social order in neighborhoods, and citizen cooperation with governmental authorities in political communities. He demonstrates that the main factors for achieving cooperation are socially driven, rather than instrumentally based on incentives or sanctions. Because of this, social motivations are critical when authorities attempt to secure voluntary cooperation from group members. Tyler also explains that two related aspects of group practices--the use of fair procedures when exercising authority and the belief by group members that authorities are benevolent and sincere--are crucial to the development of the attitudes, values, and identities that underlie cooperation.

    With widespread implications for the management of organizations, community regulation, and governance,Why People Cooperateillustrates the vital role that voluntary cooperation plays in the long-standing viability of groups.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3666-6
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Overview
    (pp. 1-8)

    What connects people to groups, organizations, and societies? Why do people under some conditions throw their lot in with others and act on behalf of collectivities rather than pursuing their personal self-interest, while in other situations it is difficult or even impossible to motivate such cooperative efforts and people intently pursue their personal self-interest? In other words, what are the reasons that people have for cooperating with others when they are in a group, organization, community, or society? Answering this question is central to all of the social sciences.

    A natural tendency, widely found in social psychology as well as...

  6. Section One: Introduction

    • CHAPTER ONE Why Do People Cooperate?
      (pp. 11-26)

      Across the social sciences there has been a widespread recognition that it is important to understand how to motivate cooperation on the part of people within group settings. This is the case irrespective of whether those settings are small groups, organizations, communities, or societies.¹ Studies in management show that work organizations benefit when their members actively work for company success. Law research shows that crime and problems of community disorder are difficult to solve without the active involvement of community residents. Political scientists recognize the importance of public involvement in building both viable communities and strong societies. And those in...

    • CHAPTER TWO Motivational Models
      (pp. 27-48)

      Within social psychological theory two broad perspectives—instrumental and social—explore the connection between the person and the group.

      The first model is the instrumental model, which argues that people engage in interactions to exchange material resources. That is, people’s behavior is motivated by the availability of incentives for desired behavior, the threat of sanctions for undesired behavior, or both. There are a variety of such models. One model is a rational choice approach in which people are viewed as motivated by incentives and sanctions. Second, a more complex version of this approach is based upon resources invested in attaining...

  7. Section Two: Empirical Findings

    • CHAPTER THREE Cooperation with Managerial Authorities in Work Settings
      (pp. 51-65)

      This volume is based upon surveys conducted in three settings. The first is a panel study of a sample of American employees. Each employee completed a web-based questionnaire about their attitudes, values, and behaviors in the workplace.¹ The employees were drawn from a panel study of a representative sample of American employees. In the first wave of the study 4,430 employees completed a questionnaire concerning their workplace attitudes, values, and behaviors. In the second wave of the study 2,680 of these employees were reinterviewed about the same topics one year later.²

      In addition, for some employees interviews were also conducted...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Cooperation with Legal Authorities in Local Communities
      (pp. 66-80)

      In chapter 3, I examined the factors that motivate employees to cooperate with the organizations for which they work. That analysis distinguishes between two forms of cooperation—rule-following and performance. In this chapter I will extend that analysis to a second arena, that of cooperation with legal authorities—that is, the police, the courts, and the law.

      My purpose in testing my ideas in this new arena is to examine the breadth of the influence of social motivations in social settings. To do so I am choosing an arena that is quite distinct from work organizations. Here I focus on...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Cooperation with Political Authorities
      (pp. 81-90)

      The prior discussion of public interactions with the police is an example of the general category of governmental concerns when dealing with local communities and individuals within them. That study was directed at people’s connections to their local communities and to the actions of the police within those communities.

      A broader concern is with political authorities. It involves the question of how public views and public satisfaction/dissatisfaction should be studied. I would argue that any government program or policy should be viewed through the framework of how it influences or shapes the relationship that members of the public have with...

  8. Section Three: Implications

    • CHAPTER SIX The Psychology of Cooperation
      (pp. 93-107)

      The key concern addressed in this volume is how to most effectively motivate cooperative behavior in groups. The analyses in the prior chapters suggest that social motivations are generally important in any effort to motivate cooperation within groups, organizations, communities, or societies. And this is especially the case when voluntary cooperation is at stake. While the prior chapters address this point directly, they do not consider a subsequent question arising from the importance of social motivations. That question is how to best understand the interrelation among social motivations. This issue is addressed by Tom Tyler and Steven Blader (2000, 2003)...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Implications
      (pp. 108-145)

      The underlying theme of this volume is that there are similarities across groups irrespective of whether they are groups involved in management, regulation, or governance. At the same time it is equally important to consider the particular concerns associated with each arena and explore the issues those distinct concerns raise for the general model.

      The central implication of these findings is that policies and practices shaping procedural justice and trust are the key to voluntary cooperation. This is true of both the motivation to follow rules, which shapes corporate regulation, and the motivation to work on behalf of one’s company,...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Self-regulation as a General Model
      (pp. 146-166)

      What type of group-based design is needed? The specifics will vary depending upon the particular context. However, some general arguments can be made. First, consider the many people who are members of groups, organizations, and communities. What could be done to improve their experience with their group?

      It is first important to provide people with information acknowledging their rights and giving them an authority to whom they can express concerns and/or complain if they feel mistreated. Respect for people’s status is enhanced if this person has reasonably high status within the organization or if the organization has created someone to...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 167-168)

    This volume began by pointing to the widespread recognition throughout the social sciences, as well as in law, management, and public policy of the importance of being able to secure reliable public cooperation with groups, organizations, and societies. Such cooperation aids authorities and institutions and increases the effectiveness and viability of groups.

    The question raised is why such cooperation occurs. To address this question two broad categories of motivation were outlined and contrasted. The first was instrumental—the impact upon behavior of the material gains and losses associated with undertaking different types of behavior. The second type of motivation was...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 169-186)
  11. References
    (pp. 187-208)
  12. Index
    (pp. 209-215)