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Cooperation and Competition

Group members are generally expected to cooperate with one another. In fact, groups exist precisely because their members cooperate to achieve shared goals. If this cooperation mutates into competition, groups often fall apart or suffer a schism. In contrast, groups as a whole are often expected to compete with one another. This competition can take the form of friendly rivalry (e.g., two baseball teams trying to win a game), but all too often it is hostile and destructive (e.g., two nations trying to obtain scarce resources). Clearly, then, cooperation and competition are fundamental aspects of the social psychology of groups.

Defining Cooperation and Competition

Based on early research by the social psychologists Morton Deutsch and Muzafer Sherif, cooperation can be characterized as overt or verbal behavior that ...

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