Francesc S. Beltran
Why People Cooperate: The Role of Social Motivationsby Tom R. Tyler
Any organization's success depends upon the voluntary cooperation of its members. But what motivates people to cooperate? In Why 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,/i>
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Any organization's success depends upon the voluntary cooperation of its members. But what motivates people to cooperate? In Why 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 practicesthe use of fair procedures when exercising authority and the belief by group members that authorities are benevolent and sincereare 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 Cooperate illustrates the vital role that voluntary cooperation plays in the long-standing viability of groups.
Francesc S. Beltran
Timothy R. Wojan
Dana S. Dunn
"I am a fan of Tyler's approach. . . . [H]e supports his theoretical approach by clear and rigorous research rather than the polemic that all too often substitutes for thought in criminology. . . . [H]e demonstrates the paucity of the view that human action is pushed and pulled by the lures of rewards and threats of penalties. . . . [H]e focuses not on the supposed outcomes of policing (such as crime rates), but upon how policing is conducted."P.A.J. Waddington, Policing
"One of the clear strengths of Why People Cooperate is its applicability to a variety of disciplines. Certainly, social psychologists and some political scientists with an empirical bent will want to read this book because it offers new ways to explore interactions and exchanges within groups. Industrial/organizational psychologists and researchers in management science, too, will readily see the applicability of Tyler's persuasive evidence. . . . Researchers interested in social policies. . . are also likely to find grist for their respective mills in this brief but rich book."Dana S. Dunn, PsycCRITIQUES: Contemporary Psychology: APA Review Of Books
"[T]he book is well written, the ideas are presented clearly and the arguments are empirically grounded. Professor Tyler not only captures the reader's attention, but also manages to change his/her mind about the topic. The book is highly recommended to researchers, academics, professionals and even laypeople interested in the topic."Francesc S. Beltran, Journal of Artificial Societies Social Simulation
"With innovative analyses throughout Why People Cooperate: The Role of Social Motivations, Tom Tyler offers the foundation for participation based in social relationships. Numerous recent studies are cited that build his assertions and provide documented results for motivating cooperation within a variety of group settings."Paula Tripp, Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences
"Summing up, Tom Tyler's book provides a very useful framework for defining and describing various types of cooperation, provides a compelling empirical analysis of instrumental and social motivations that underlie cooperative behavior, and draws out the implications of these findings for organizational design."Timothy R. Wojan, Journal of Regional Science
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Why People CooperateTHE ROLE OF SOCIAL MOTIVATIONS
By Tom R. Tyler
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESSCopyright © 2011 Princeton University Press
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhy Do People Cooperate?
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. 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 public policy have identified the value of cooperation in the process of policy making-for example, in stakeholder policy making groups.
Understanding why people are motivated to cooperate when they are within these group settings is a long-term focus of social psychological research. In particular, social psychologists are interested in identifying the motivations that are the antecedents of voluntary cooperation. The goal of this volume is to examine the psychology of cooperation, exploring the motivations that shape the degree to which people cooperate with others. In particular, this analysis focuses on the factors that influence voluntary cooperation. A better understanding of why people cooperate is essential if social psychology is to be helpful in addressing the question of how to motivate cooperation in social settings.
Cooperation in the Real World
The issue of cooperation is central to many of the problems faced by real-world groups, organizations, and societies (De Cremer, Zeelenberg, and Murnighan 2010; Van Lange 2006; VanVugt et al. 2000). As a result, the fields of management, law, and political science all seek to understand how to most effectively design institutions that can best secure cooperation from those within groups. Their efforts to address these issues are mainly informed by the findings of social psychological and economic research on dyads and small groups.
Work organizations encourage positive forms of cooperation, like working hard at one's job and contributing extra-role and creative efforts to one's work performance (Tyler and Blader 2000). They also seek to prevent personally rewarding, but destructive, acts such as sabotage and the stealing of office supplies by encouraging deference to rules and policies. For these reasons a central area of research in organizational behavior involves understanding how to motivate cooperation in work settings (Frey and Osterloh 2002). Management is the study of motivation in work organizations.
Law is concerned with how to effectively shape behavior so as to prevent people from engaging in actions that are personally rewarding but damaging to others and to the group-actions ranging from illegally copying music and movies to robbing banks (Tyler 2006a; Tyler and Huo 2002). In addition, the police and courts need the active cooperation of members of the community to control crime and urban disorder by reporting crimes and cooperating in policing neighborhoods (Tyler and Huo 2002). And, of course, it is important that people generally support the government through actions such as the paying of taxes (Braithwaite 2003; Feld and Frey 2007). Hence, an important aspect of the study of law involves seeking to understand the factors shaping cooperation with law and legal authorities. Regulation explores how the law can shape the behavior of people in different communities.
Those who hold political office want people to cooperate by participating in personally costly acts ranging from paying taxes to fighting in wars (Levi 1988, 1997). Further, it is equally important for people to actively participate in society in ways that are not required, such as by voting, by maintaining their communities through working together to deal with community problems, and by otherwise helping the polity to thrive (Putnam 2000). For these reasons, understanding how to motivate cooperation is central to political scientists, leading to an interest in exploring why people do or do not have trust and confidence in the government (Levi and Stoker 2000). Governance involves the study of how to motivate desired political behaviors.
One aspect of governance involves studies of public policy, which are concerned with developing social policies that can effectively coordinate the actions of people within communities. Such efforts focus on creating a procedure for developing and implementing policies and policy decisions, be they decisions about whether to go to war or where to site a nuclear power plant. The key to success in such efforts is to create policies that all of the people within a community are motivated to accept-that is, to be able to gain widespread rule adherence (Grimes 2006). And, as is true in the other arenas outlined, the value of cooperation in general is widely recognized. In particular, it is important that people not just do what is required. Many aspects of involvement in a community are voluntary, and it is especially important to motivate community residents to engage in voluntary acts such as voting and participating in community problem solving over issues such as environmental use (May 2005).
In a broader arena, regulation and governance involve international relations, questions of compliance with laws, and political relations among states (Simmons 1998). The question of what motivates states to follow international norms, rules, and commitments has been a long-standing concern of international relations (Hurd 1999). It is an issue that is of increasing centrality as the dynamics among states, multinational organizations, and nongovernmental organizations becomes more complex (Reus-Smit 1999). And underlying all of these forms of cooperation is the ability to motivate mass publics whose behavior plays a key role in the stability and viability of societies to both follow laws and accept agreements. Over the past decade, all of these issues have taken on a new urgency as terrorism has made clear the tremendous difficulties that the lack of public cooperation in the form of organized opposition across national borders can pose to institutional actors in the international arena.
The first goal of this volume is to test the range and robustness of one type of motivation-social motivation-in these types of settings. This volume does so by systematically exploring the importance of two aspects of social motivation: organizational policies and practices (procedural justice, motive-based trust) and dispositions (attitudes, values, identity). The importance of these motivations is compared to that of instrumental motivations involving the use of incentives and sanctions.
What perspective is advanced in this volume? The findings herein will show that people are motivated by a broader range of goals than is easily explained via material self-interest-that is, by people's concerns about incentives and sanctions. Across the five areas examined, social motivations are consistently found to explain significant amounts of variance that are not explained by instrumental factors. This suggests that broadening the motivational framework within which cooperation is understood will help to better explain how to motivate cooperation.
In fact, the results of this volume go further than simply arguing that social motivations have value. They suggest that cooperative behavior, especially voluntary cooperation, is better explained by such social motivations than it is by the traditionally studied impact of instrumental variables such as incentives and sanctions. When the magnitude of the influence of instrumental and social motivations is directly compared, social motivations are found to explain more of the variance in cooperation than can be explained by instrumental motivations. As a consequence, those seeking to best understand how to motivate cooperation should focus their attention upon social, as opposed to instrumental, motivations for behavior.
The results suggest that the influence of social motivations on voluntary cooperation is especially strong. Because organizations focus heavily upon motivating such voluntary behavior, social motivations become even more important to the study of how to obtain desired behaviors in groups, organizations, and communities.
A second purpose of this volume is to test the range within which social motivations are important. While it is not possible to test the model in all group settings, three distinct settings are examined. The first setting involves work organizations (management); employees are interviewed about their workplaces and their views are linked to their workplace cooperation. The second setting is community-based and looks at people's rule related behaviors (regulation); residents of a large metropolitan community are interviewed about their views concerning law enforcement, and their willingness to cooperate with the police is measured. The third setting is also community-based, but examines political participation using several studies of participation in governance within communities in Africa (governance). By comparing these three diverse settings an assessment can be made of the breadth of the influence of social motivation.
Finally, the third purpose of the volume is to test a psychological model of cooperation. That model argues that organizational policies and practices (procedural justice, motive-based trust) influence dispositions (attitudes, values, identity) and through them shape cooperation. This model provides an organizing framework for understanding how the different social motivations are dynamically connected to one another. This psychological model provides guidelines concerning how to exercise authority in groups, organizations, and communities. It suggests that authorities should focus on acting in ways that encourage judgments that they are using just procedures when exercising their authority and that their intentions and character are trustworthy. Procedural justice and motive-based trust lead to favorable dispositions and, through them, motivate voluntary cooperation on behalf of groups.
Beyond Material Self-interest
Psychologists distinguish between motivations, which are the goals that energize and direct behavior, and people's judgments about the nature of the world used to make plans and choose when to take action and how to behave-that is, which choices to make. This book is about the nature of desired goals.
The issue of cognition or judgment and decision making involves choices that people must make about how to most effectively achieve desired goals. It explores how, once they have a goal, people make decisions about how and when to act so as to most likely achieve that goal. Motivation explores the issue of what goals people desire to achieve. Unless we know what goal people are pursuing, we cannot understand the intention of their actions. Of course, people may make errors that lead them to fail to achieve their desired goals. Nonetheless, their actions are guided by their purposes.
A simple example of the distinction between cognition and motivation is found in the instrumental analyses of action. The goal that energizes people within instrumental models is the desire to maximize their rewards and minimize their costs-for example, the punishments that they experience. To do so, people make estimates of the likely gains and losses associated with different types of actions. These judgments about the nature of the world shape the degree to which people engage in different behaviors in the pursuit of their goal of maximizing rewards and minimizing punishments.
Within the arenas of law, management, political science, and public policy, most discussions of human motivation are drawn from the fields of psychology and economics. The assumption that people are seeking to maximize their personal utilities-defined in material terms-underlies much of the recent theory and research in both psychology and economics. The argument is that people are motivated by this desire, but simplify their calculations when seeking to maximize their personal utilities by "satisficing" and using heuristics. Further, while motivated to maximize their utilities, people also have limits as information processors, making errors and acting on biases. In other words, people may be trying to calculate their self-interest in optimal ways, but lack the ability to do so well; so they are acting out of the desire to maximize their own material self-interest, but they do it imperfectly due to limits in their time, information, and cognitive abilities.
The Interface of Psychology and Economics
In the past several decades there have been tremendous advances in the connection between economics and psychology. Economists have drawn upon the research and insights of psychologists and have also conducted their own empirical research as part of the burgeoning field of behavioral economics. The goal of this volume is to further the connection between psychology and economics by showing the value of considering the range of motivations that are important in social settings.
A major area of psychology upon which economists have drawn in the last several decades is that of judgment and decision making. This area, characterized by the work of psychologists such as Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman (1974, 1981; see also Kahneman, Slovic, and Tversky 1982; Kahneman and Tversky 2000), focuses upon the cognitive errors and biases that shape the individual judgments of people seeking to pursue their material self-interest during decision making (Brocas and Carrillo 2003; Dawes 1988; Hastie and Dawes 2001; Hogarth 1980; Nisbett and Ross 1980; Plous 1993; Thaler 1991).
The literature on judgment and decision making is not primarily focused on issues of motivation but on cognition. It seeks to understand how people use their subjective knowledge of the world to make decisions, and assumes that a key motivation for such actions is the desire to maximize material gains and minimize material losses. However, an important message from social psychology is that both cognition and motivation are important. They act in tandem to shape behaviors such as cooperation (see Higgins and Kruglanski 2001). As a consequence, this analysis of decision making can profit from being combined with an expanded analysis of the motivations for action.
In terms of motivations, economists have generally operated on the assumption that people are motivated to maximize their own personal self-interest, a self-interest defined in terms of material gains and losses. No doubt, most psychologists and economists would acknowledge that people can be motivated by a broader range of motivations than material gains and losses, but these other motivations have not been the primary focus of this research. Similarly, the models of human motivation dominating law, management, political science, and public policy have not generally been broader in their focus than to consider the role of incentives and sanctions (Green and Shapiro 1994; Pfeffer 1994).
While incentives and sanctions have dominated the study of motivation (Goodin 1996), there have been suggestions of the need for a broader focus (Zak 2008). In articulating such a broader vision of human motivation this work connects to the recent work of behavioral economists working in this area (see, among others, Falk and Kosfeld 2004; Fehr and Falk 2002; Fehr and Gächter 2002; Fehr and Rockenbach 2003; Frey 1997; Frey and Stutzer 2002; Stutzer and Lalive 2001). It does so by arguing for the potential benefits-of those involved in studying law, management, political science, and public policy-of considering a broader range of the motivations that can shape behavior in institutional settings.
While the experimental economics literature increasingly acknowledges social motivations, the use of experimental methodologies makes it difficult to compare their degree of influence to that of instrumental motivations. In contrast, the survey approach outlined here makes more explicit comparisons of relative influence in nature settings by providing an estimate of the amount of the variance in cooperation that is explained by a particular group of variables in a real-world setting. Such comparisons highlight the importance of social motivations.
Excerpted from Why People Cooperate by Tom R. Tyler Copyright © 2011 by Princeton University Press. Excerpted by permission.
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Tom R. Tyler is the Macklin Fleming Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale Law School.
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