Cooperative decision-making and conflict of interest in heterogeneous groups

By | 3 mars 2015

Teamwork has gained increasing importance in organizations for both decision-making and production. Strategic processes within and between organizations – such as M&A’s, joint ventures and other internal organizational restructurings – result in the formation of newly composed teams. In these heterogeneous teams, (at least) two subgroups arise. Team members are confronted with a social dilemma: continue to act in their self-interest or that of their former team or act in everyone’s interest and contribute to the newly composed team? Free-riding always results in more individual profit on the short-term, regardless of other group members’ choices, but all team members and the organization as a whole are better off if all members cooperate. This research identifies antecedents of cooperative decision-making in such heterogeneous teams.

Aim is to also investigate how the findings on cooperation in faultline-based heterogeneous groups can be implicated on representative negotiations. Inter-group negotiations frequently involve social dilemmas for the representatives: when the constituency consists of subgroups separated by faultlines (coalitions), the representatives need to simultaneously take personal, subgroup, and constituency interests into account, when negotiating with the counterpart.

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