Mood can influence cooperation levels

The mood of a person greatly influences the level of cooperation they will give to others, new research has suggested.

Investigators from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universidad de Zaragoza discovered individuals decide on whether to work with others based on their own emotional state and the number of people they have cooperated with before.

These findings appear to go against previous beliefs that adults act in such situations by thinking of their own reward.

It was demonstrated the organisation of individuals into one social structure or another is of little relevance in a situation where cooperation is a beneficial approach.

The authors wrote: "Understanding why we do one thing or another can help in designing incentives that induce people to cooperate."

It was also found that people are less likely to cooperate more just because they have been organised in a certain manner, suggesting greater emphasis should be placed on encouraging individuals to work together, rather than focussing on structure.

Kisane Prutton, a Chartered Psychologist, said: "This study will come as no surprise to work psychologists whose research has long demonstrated that rational-economic models do not predict human behaviour and that emotions are a strong mediator of behaviour even in the workplace.

"In their conclusion the researchers infer that organisational design is less important than individual motivation. It could be argued that this lab-based experiment under-estimates the complexity of psycho-social factors at work.

"Managers who inspire their employees with a sense of purpose, belonging and value and who cultivate the conditions which promote fairness and respect are more likely encourage collaboration than extrinsic rewards alone."

You can learn more about Kisane Prutton's work on her website.