Why do humans cooperate

Without perceived fairness cooperation breaks down

Andrew Brown, writing in The Guardian, on Saturday October 29, 2005, Basic instincts - Humans are inclined to love their neighbours, so long as they play fair points out firstly that co-operative and altruistic behavior between humans must make sense or else evolution would have rendered it extinct:

"If human nature is generous, trusting and sympathetic, that didn't happen despite biology. We have these instincts because those of our ancestors who were generous, trusting, and sympathetic, within reasonable limits, had more surviving children than those who were treacherous, grasping and callous towards everyone."

He then goes on to point out that this co-operation is in fact very fragile and constantly depends on how other people in society behave:

"Nothing, then, threatens political support for the welfare state more than the perception of unfairness - the sense that someone is breaking the rules and getting away with it."

So if you want your team or group co-operate well first make sure you have a 'transparency system' so that anybody can see how everyone else is playing the game.

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The Organizational Zoo

The Organizational Zoo

I was introduced to an interesting book and web site, The Organizational Zoo, by Arthur Shelley which offers humorous observations of the characteristics and behaviours of the other creatures in your "organizational Zoo".

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